Green Your Clean!
In Utah, we hear a lot about outdoor air quality. But indoor air quality is just as important, perhaps more so as we spend more time indoors.
One of the lesser known contributors to indoor air pollution are household cleaners and air fresheners. Chemicals and artificial fragrances contain VOCs which, among other things, can aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems.
Luckily, there are some excellent alternatives that are safe, cost less and clean just as effectively.
Use Alternative Cleaning Supplies
Most cleaning chores can be accomplished with non-toxic alternative cleaners and a little elbow grease. Here are a few natural cleaning alternatives:
Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) – Cleans and deodorizes. Softens water to increase sudsing and cleaning power of soap. Good scouring powder. Can be used with white vinegar or lemon juice to clean even more effectively.
Borax (Sodium Borate) – Cleans and deodorizes. Excellent disinfectant. Softens water. Available in the laundry section of the grocery store.
Castile Soap (Vegetable oil-based soap) – Biodegrades safely and is completely non-toxic. Bars can be grated to dissolve more easily in hot water. Choose soap without synthetic additives.
Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate) – Cuts grease and removes stains. Disinfects. Softens water. Available in the laundry section of the grocery store.
White Vinegar or Lemon Juice – Cuts grease and freshens. Can be used in combination with baking soda to clean even more effectively.
Use Alternative Cleaning Methods
The Salt Lake County Health Department recommends these alternatives to common cleaning methods:
Air Freshener – Find the source of the odor and eliminate it. Open windows to ventilate. To scent air, use herbal bouquets, pour vanilla on a cotton ball, or simmer cinnamon and cloves.
Brass Polish – Make a paste of equal parts vinegar, salt and flour. Rub well. Rinse completely to prevent corrosion.
Drain Cleaner – Try a plunger first. Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, then ½ cup vinegar. Wait a few minutes, and then follow with two quarts boiling water. Repeat if needed. If this fails, rent or buy a drain snake.
Furniture Polish – Use olive or almond oil.
Garbage Disposal Deodorizer – Use lemon or baking soda.
Mothballs for Clothes – Thoroughly clean any used clothing or furniture before introducing it into your home. Wash woolens before storing and store in tight containers. Thoroughly vacuum rugs and under furniture. Shake out woolens periodically and use cedar chips and lavender flowers instead of mothballs.
Oven Cleaner – As a preventative measure, cover the oven bottom with a sheet of aluminum foil. Clean up spills promptly. To clean, use baking soda, soap, and water with a copper scrubber and elbow grease. Scouring Powder – Try baking soda.
Silver Cleaner – For large objects, rub gently with baking soda and a damp sponge. Toothpaste also works well. Place smaller objects in a pot of boiling water with a loose, small piece of aluminum foil; add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Boil 2-3 minutes then cool and dry.
Window Cleaner – Use ½ cup vinegar and 1 quart warm water. Polish with newspaper.
Do you have your own green cleaning favorite? Share it here!