If you have not heard about the latest trend in using, “green products,” or using, "green friendly services" you must be from Mars?? On every corner, on every channel and in every aisle, we hear about the importance of, “Protect the Earth, RECYCLE, RECYCLE, GO GREEN, RECYCLE!” Within the decade, the use of green cleaning products has rapidly increased in popularity among America's households and businesses alike. Heck – there is even a certification available to cleaning organizations who choose to, “Go Green.” Going Green has become the new marketing tool and companies who adopt these initiatives are often preferred over those who do not. If YOU are still hesitant to get on the bandwagon screaming, “Go Green!” here are some little known facts that I have discovered that perhaps will change your mind...
1. Many ingredients contained in our cleaning cupboards labeled, “Industrial Strength” in fact contain dangerous chemicals that are dangerous to our own health, the health of our family and even our beloved pets. Further, a recent study done in California schools found that there were alarming numbers of environmental health concerns contained within products used to keep the classrooms sanitary. Even more alarming, recent studies indicated that these same chemicals are known to increase the risk of asthma within our children, the most chronic condition leading to school absence nationwide. Perhaps those toxic, “the best a man can get” cleaning products bragging of superlative benefits over the competition aren’t so good of a deal after all.
2. We’ve all seen the commercials of the importance of keeping our homes clean and sanitary – especially when our homes contain toddlers and infants. The clean, spotless floor in these same commercials promotes healthier, safe environments for our children. However, did you know that the common method of exposure to these dangerous chemicals are that through skin absorption and through the respiratory tract? Think about it…Children are the population most at risk for exposure to these deadly chemicals. They are frequently left to sit on those sought after, spotless floors covered with toxic residue. And, I challenge you to find one baby who doesn’t put nearly everything or anything in sight in their mouths. Children, with their developing immune system, are twice as likely to develop asthma and respiratory illnesses because of their direct exposure to these chemicals. Other population at risk include: pets, cancer victims, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Food for thought, heh?
3. Research has shown that it is not just the ACTIVE ingredients that wreak havoc on our health, but also the inactive ones as well. As a matter of fact, a recent study in Iowa suggested that there is a strong correlation between slowly building toxic levels of these chemicals and the increased risk of cancers – with the number one risk being bladder cancer. So, why don’t we just dilute those industrial strength chemicals to reduce our health risk, right? WRONG! Many of these chemicals – even diluted ones – are bio-accumulative meaning the chemicals do not purge easily through our bodies AND actually accumulate over time – sometimes even to toxic levels!
4. The three most deadly chemicals found in these cleaning agents are carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and neurotoxins. Carcinogens, often found in cigarettes, are known to double the risk of cancer and/or promote cancerous growth. Endocrine disruptors mimic natural chemicals found within the human body and send confusing, false signals. Repeated exposure to these toxins can lead to premature puberty, infertility, challenged immune systems, delayed growth, emotional and mental health issues, miscarriage, ADHD and other cancers – including Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In short, nothing to be messed with! The third, neurotoxins, cause problems within our brains including frequent headaches and loss of cognitive abilities.
5. So, knowing all this, what are some of the signs to look for in these toxic chemicals without spending twenty minutes looking at each can? Look for these warning labels, which are sure fire signs that, by choosing to use them, you are putting yourself AND loved ones at risk.
a. Toxic if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed by the skin.
b. Caution: One ounce to a pint may be harmful or fatal.
c. Warning: One teaspoon per one pint might be harmful or fatal.
d. Danger: One taste to one teaspoon might be fatal.
BUT GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS ARE SO DARN EXPENSIVE, RIGHT?
Not so, friends. Here are a few common recipes to make at home. Even better, many of the ingredients are things already found within our cupboards!
1. Glass Cleaner – Great for windows and mirrors
• 2 cups water
• ½ cup of white or cider vinegar
• ¼ rubbing alcohol (70% concentration)
• 1 to 2 teaspoons of orange essential oil, which gives the solution a lovely smell. (This is optional, of course)
Combine ingredients and place in a spray bottle. One word of caution…Do not use during days that are hot, as the solution will dry too quickly and is sure to leave streaks.
2. Heavy Duty Scrubber – Great for porcelain or enamel sinks and tubs
• Half of a lemon
• ½ cup of Borax (a laundry booster, usually found in the laundry aisle)
Dip the lemon into the Borax and scrub surface; rinse. Note, this is not safe for marble or granite surfaces.
3. Grease Cleaner – Great for ovens and gas grills
• ½ cup of sudsy ammonia mixed with enough water to fill a one-gallon container. The sudsy ammonia, which has detergent in it, helps reduce tough stuck-on grime.
Dip your sponge or mop in the solution and wipe over the entire surface. Quickly rinse with clean, clear water.
4. All Purpose Cleaner and Deodorizer
• 4 Tablespoons of baking soda
• 1 quart of warm water
Dip your cloth into the solution and wipe with clean water.
5. Last Resort Stain Remover for Clothing
• 1 gallon of hot water
• 1 cup of powered dish detergent
• 1 cup of regular chlorine bleach (not ultra or concentrates)
Mix and pour the ingredients in a stainless steel, plastic or enamel bowl. (Do not use aluminum) Soak garment for 15-20 minutes.
If stain remains, let it soak a bit longer. Launder as usual.
6. White Ring Remover – Great for anywhere you accidently left a water ring (not for wood, lacquer or antiques)
• Mix one part white non-gel toothpaste with one part baking soda
Dampen a cloth with water, add toothpaste mixture, and run the grain to buff over the ring. Then, take a dry cloth and wipe immediately. Use another dry rag to fully polish.
7. Dishwasher Stain Removal – Great for that yucky dishwasher build-up.
• ¼ part powdered lemon or orange drink
To remove rust from the inside walls, pour the power (which contains citrus acid or citrus acid crystals) into the detergent cup and then run a regular cycle. Repeat as necessary.
8. Brass Cleaner – Great for non-laminate cabinet knobs, bathroom knobs and nozzles and more
• White vinegar or lemon juice
• Table Salt
Dampen a sponge with lemon or vinegar juice, then sprinkle modestly with salt. Lightly rub over the surface. Rinse thoroughly with water, then dry immediately with a clean rag.
9. Marble Cleaner – Great for natural stone countertops
• A drop or two of mild dishwashing liquid (not citrus scented)
• 2 cups of warm water
Mix the detergent and water. Sponge over marble and rinse completely to remove any soap residue. Buff with a soft cloth; do not let air dry. Caution: Never use vinegar, lemon, or any other acidic cleaner on marble or granite surfaces; it will literally eat the stone.
So, there you go! Simple AND cost effective ways to keep your home clean without compromising your family’s safety!
'We Mean to Klean" is committed to your health and safety, so feel free to email me with questions regarding any of the above! Or, call us to schedule a free quote for residential or commercial janitorial cleaning, floor work, windows or professional carpet cleaning! WE WORK FOR YOU!
A lil about Lauren:
I love trying to juggle the demands of trying to run a profitable cleaning business. I am also simultaneously blessed to be the mother of three beautiful children, and one on the way! My oldest son, Elijah, is almost twenty one years old and is the artist in the family. Ayden is my second boy and is the studious academic brain in the Williams clan. Rounding off the Williams trio is Mahalia, easily one of the most beautiful girls I ever met and her inner beauty matches her beautiful smile. Taffee is our neurotic Pomeranian and barks annoyingly at everything she THINK she hears. In my spare time (I have none) I enjoy writing, watching Dateline and 48 hours or listening to/dancing/or singing along to 90's hip hop! Wu-Tang is my favorite!