Why Clean Green?

Many of the antibacterial products heavily marketed and expensively packaged. All for consumers and clean no better than soap with water. In addition, some also breed some forms of “super bacteria”. Bacteria that becomes resistant to regular cleaning with soap and water.  A key component of many anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers is triclosan.  However, it seems that studies have increasingly linked triclosan to a range of health and environmental effects. That’s from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, and dioxin contamination. Not to mention destruction of fragile aquatic ecosystems.

In addition, the contents of many chemical cleaners leave residues on surfaces and toxins in the air.  More importantly and then later leach into the environment and ground water.

So here are some common major brand cleaning ingredients and their potent effects on human health:

Ammonia: First of all, expect Eye and lung irritants, dangerous and poisonous when mixed with bleach.

Formaldehyde

Hydrochloric Acid

Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

Paradichlorobenzenes

Butyl Cellosolve

Ethanol

So look, here are the essential products to have in your green home cleaning cupboard. They are so so cheap, natural and easy to buy!

Baking Soda – Natural deodorizer and lightly abrasive.

Lemon Juice – Wonderful de-greaser, deodorizes.

White Distilled Vinegar – all round great cleaner.

Grapefruit Seed Extract – Has amazing antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making it indispensable. PLEASE NOTE: Must be used with caution – it’s powerful!

Salt – Super cleaner and degreaser.

Liquid Soap – Read the label carefully.  The contents should be olive oil, vegetable oil or glycerin based.  Kinder to you and the environment.

Essential oils. For natural air fresheners they are unsurpassable. Lavender and tea tree oil have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Try to use organic if possible. PLEASE NOTE: Essential oils must be used with caution. NEVER ingest essential oils and NEVER apply undiluted to skin.

Some good, all purpose recipes for making your own cleaners:

Baking Soda 

Mix ¼ cup baking soda in a spray bottle of water to use as general cleaner.

The next time you do laundry, try adding 1/2 cup to a cup to your load to deodorize.

Before you vacuum, sprinkle it on your carpet as a deodorizer.

Antifungals/Disinfectants

To keep mold at bay and to disinfect countertops and toilets, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, or 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to 1 quart of water.

No-Streak Glass Cleaner

For sparkling mirrors and windows, combine 1/4 cup undiluted white vinegar and 1 tbsp cornstarch. Then several drops of your favorite essential oil scent and 1 quart warm water.  Finally and for a streak-free shine, wipe dry with a sheet of crumpled newspaper or a coffee filter. (cloth and paper towels will streak)

Tile and Grout Paste

For start, add 1 cup water and 3 cups baking soda. Then mix into a paste that works great for cleaning tile and grout. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste into grout.

All purpose spray

Fill a water spray bottle with half water and half vinegar.

Add 4 or 5 drops of lemon and eucalyptus essential oil.   Lemon and eucalyptus essential oils are naturally antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal. It leaves the walls, benches, floors and surfaces smelling great.  And, vinegar of course is great for zapping germs and bacteria.

Wood Floor Cleaning Solution

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. vegetable glycerin

20 drops lemon essential oil
Water

Combine in a 20 oz. spray bottle. Spray, mop as usual, and quickly buff dry to protect your floors. Your floors will be glossy and clean!

Furniture Polish recipe

Mix together 1/2 cup olive oil to 1/2 cup lemon juice. I like to add a couple of drops of lavender oil to this mix. Why? Because it smells amazing! Rub in a small amount to the wood surface. Finally and then wipe clean with a soft dry cloth. Lovely shine with a hint of lavender!

Lemon Laundry White Brightener

Add 1/2 – 3/4 c. of lemon juice to the rinse cycle in your washing machine when doing a load of whites and see them brighten up – naturally!

Clogged drains

Pour a 1/2 box of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Then chase with a tea kettle full of most importantly boiling water.  Finally, please take care to protect your eyes as the solution will bubble and foam and might spit.

Antique linens

Spray stains with a mixture of 1 tsp of peroxide and 1 cup of water

Silver polishing

Eliminate tarnish by rubbing a dab of toothpaste with a soft cloth on the silver object.

In conclusion, why is it when it comes to food, most people are aware of the harmful pesticides, additives and preservatives to avoid? However less is known about the chemicals to avoid in the products we are using to clean our counters, children’s toys and scrub our showers with.

Most household cleaning products are a cocktail of chemicals that can be dangerous to your health. Common ingredients include:

Quaternary ammonium– used as an antimicrobial and disinfectant – but toxic to aquatic animals and linked to asthma, skin irritation, birth defects and fertility problems in mice

2-butoxyethanol– a solvent linked to sore throats and, at high levels, pulmonary edema, and liver and kidney damage- now listed as a hazardous substance in California

Formaldehyde– a known human carcinogen that masquerades under different names such as formalin, methanol and oxymethyline on product labels

Synthetic coloring– linked to skin irritations and ADHD in children

CleanWell

Well I tested CleanWell’s chemical-free Botanical Disinfectant Sprays (bathroom and all-purpose cleaners). They are just as good if not easier to breathe than some sprays. It’s totally competitive with Method sprays or any other eco company spray. So why have the cleaners come and spray toxic crap when I can use CleanWell?!

I mean here are their ingredients

Thymol 0.05% (as a component of thyme oil)

Water

Citric acid (cornstarch derived water softener)

Citrus fragrance (from natural essential oils)

Copper sulfate pentahydrate (bluestone) (mineral derived water mineralizer)

Sodium citrate (cornstarch derived water softener)

Sodium lauryl sulfate (palm kernel or coconut-derived cleaning agent)

Plus it:

Kills 99.9% of germs botanically

Cleans, disinfects, deodorizes

Effectively controls odors

Entire package is recyclable, including the all-plastic trigger spray

Botanically based formula

No rinsing or wiping required even on food contact surfaces and children’s toys

Again, so thanks CleanWell for a real green cleaning solution!

Most importantly, all I got were products to test. No sponsorships for the post.

Finally, part of this post was contributed by

By Randi Ragan, Contributing Author.