Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ten Tips for a Cleaner, Greener Home

Twittermoms and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products have teamed together to sponsor a fun blogging contest that is right up my alley! They have asked moi to share ten tips for a cleaner, greener home. Don’t know what all this talk about “green” is? It is simply using products that are plant based and safe for the environment. According to Wikapedia, “Green cleaning techniques and products avoid the use of chemically-reactive and toxic cleaning products which contain various toxic chemicals, some of which emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) causing respiratory and dermatological problems among other adverse effects. Green cleaning can also describe the way residential and industrial cleaning products are manufactured, packaged and distributed. If the manufacturing process is environmentally-friendly and the products are biodegradable, then the term "green" or "eco-friendly" may apply.”

I love green cleaning. It is healthier for you and healthier for the environment. I guess, for me, the awareness for the need to use “green” products in cleaning came about when I noticed I had problems around certain chemicals when cleaning. My eyes would burn and sting, my nasal passages would burn and I would have trouble breathing. My body told me these were bad long before I heard of “green cleaning and I learned other methods of cleaning. Some people think green cleaning is a hassle, but here are some of my tips to make things easier:
  1. Keep things clean as you go so you don’t have build-up that requires stronger cleaning techniques.  Wipe down sinks, countertops, stove tops after using them.  Spills wipe up quickly if you don't give them time to set and get hard.
  2. In the shower, purchase a squeegee (dollar store ones work well) and squeegee down the walls and shower door. This keeps soap scum from building up. I can go weeks without cleaning and then just use a mild cleanser when I do clean.
  3. Use a little elbow grease! Put more muscle into cleaning and less chemicals!  I often enlist the help of my husband on some projects.
  4. A little vinegar and water goes a long way! I love to use this mix for my wood floors (make sure you dry with a towel as you go along) and my tile bathroom floors.  Don't fear vinegar--the scent doesn't hang around.
  5. Clean the air naturally with plants. Plants can absorb many common pollutants and improve air quality. Some common ones are Philodendron, Dracaena, Ficus and my favorite, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (boy, I wish I could kill this one!). I like these plants because they are easy to grow. A quick internet search can help you select the best plants for your house.
  6. Keep your drains clean by cleaning them out every month with a baking soda vinegar mix. Not only will they stay clog-free, they will also smell fresh.
  7. Cook something that smells not-so-pleasant (think fish or Goetta)? Set out a bowl of vinegar. It will absorb odors in no time!
  8. Garbage disposal stink? Toss some lemon in to freshen it up. Throw some ice in, too, to sharpen those blades.
  9. Stinky trash cans? Try lining the bottom with newspaper and sprinkle some baking soda on it.  It should absorb all the odors.
  10. Another favorite of mine is to use baking soda to freshen carpets. Sprinkle some on your carpet and allow to set a bit, then vacuum up for fresh carpets!
If you follow these tips, you should have a cleaner, greener house in no time! Remember, any changes you make can make a difference in your health and your environment! I encourage people to at least try to make some changes because if we all make some little changes, together we make big ones!

If you are more inclined to just purchase “green” products, consider Mrs. Meyers products. About Mrs. Meyer’s as posted on Twittermoms:
 "Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day makes household products for people looking for a better way to clean. Our natural, plant-derived essential oils are powerful against daily dirt and grime, but leave your home smelling like a garden, not harsh chemicals.

Our refreshing scents include cool and crisp Basil, soothing Lavender, invigorating Lemon Verbena and uplifting Geranium. We also make a line of Baby Blossom personal care products specifically formulated and dermatologist-tested for little ones.

All of our cleaning supplies are earth friendly -- biodegradable, phosphate-free, and not tested on animals. Cleaning is something we all have to do. So why not make it just a little more enjoyable?"
For more info on Mrs. Meyers, go to http://www.mrsmeyers.com/

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Mrs. Meyer’s blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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