Cleaning Up The Green Way

By Shaira Lee

There are several ways to keep your home clean, and although we’re aware that most cleaners contain substances that are unhealthy for the environment, but cutting back on COCs is not the only way to go.

Here are two useful cleaning tips that you should know before going on a full-scale detox.

Laundry soap isn’t as clean as it looks
Normally, laundry soap contains biodegradable surfactants that wash off with water. This isn’t what you have to worry about. Alkyl benzene sulfurates give off low level toxicity, which is, relatively speaking, not a very big deal. However, other substance in soap can be harmful to your environment.

Diathonalamines form carcinogens by attaching themselves to natural substances in the air; also, they take forever to break down. Phosphates create problems for water organisms by creating substantial competition for oxygen. In addition, the substances that give fragrance to most laundry soap are petroleum-based, and highly toxic to the environment.

Instead, hand wash your clothes in slightly soapy water and pour in some vinegar. Don’t worry about the smell, as it will disappear as soon as the clothes dry.

Now, we’re not trying to suggest that you totally do away with detergent altogether. There are nature-friendly ways to keep your clothes sweet-smelling and freshly laundered, minus all the nasty side effects.

Your best bet is to use all natural detergent soaps. For instance, castile soap, which is an eco-friendly form of detergent, is vegetable-based, having been derived from olive oil. Soap nuts come from the soapberry tree, and contain saponin. This is best used on delicate pieces of clothing, such as silk.

Battling the dust mites
Dust seems to be everywhere when the days get hotter. Leaving them in places around the house is not a healthy option. Don’t resort to buying expensive chemical sprays that will “magically” rid your house of dust.

Instead, focus on removing as much dust as you can from the different surfaces of your home. Look under chairs, between furniture, or in hard-to-reach corners of the house. Even better, remove potential dust collectors; organize your spaces in such a way that there are less places for dust to collect over time. Clean up first, and then de-clutter your spaces.

The next step to a dust-free home involves preventing dust entry into the house. Seal out holes in the roof, or cracks in the windows.

Don’t underestimate the power of water in cleaning. It is the safest and most environment-friendly substance you can use to get rid of dust. Make sure to use a damp cloth on wooden surfaces, so as not to damage the material.

Another natural wood cleaner is lemon juice solution. You need three basic ingredients for this solution: water, lemon juice and olive oil. Aside the shiny surface you get from the dampness, an added bonus is the lemon fragrance that stays after running a solution-soaked cloth over the dusty surface.

If you have visitors coming over soon and you need a quick dust fix, use a hair dryer to maneuver dust into the most inconspicuous parts of the house, and then clean up later.