Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Go Green in 2008 ~ Green Clean

Ohhhh...the toughest green living life change for me to make ~ environmentally friendly cleaning supplies

Thus the mixed basket of green, sorta green, and not green at all cleaning supplies, and all of their even more toxic counterparts waiting in the wings.

My addiction to cleaning and cleaning supplies started at an early age. Mom and I would scour the house from top to bottom every Saturday while Dad meticulously manicured the lawn. As I got older, I grew resentful of this routine, naturally, but I never lost the need to obsessively clean. My college roommate and I would have so many cleaning products going at once, I was afraid one or both of us would end up in the hospital with liquid filled lungs.

My regular cleaning arsenal consists of the following 8 "essential" components - a scrubbing powder for the sinks and bathtub, Soft Scrub for the kitchen sink and the stovetop, multi-purpose cleaner for, well, every surface, glass cleaner for windows and mirrors, the aforementioned Swiffer solution or a floor cleaner if I'm doing it on my hands and knees, furniture polish, tub and tile cleaner, and a toilet bowl cleaner. There are more heavy duty cleaners on hand for deep cleaning sessions.

I do a lot of cleaning at other people's houses, too. Usually watching kids - I provide babysitting plus a bonus.
I told you I'm obsessed. This is horrible to say, knowing my friends and family read this, but I am always a tad alarmed to see how skimpy many other people's chemical supplies are compared to mine. I have been to many homes where the only cleaner on hand appears to be Windex. How do they survive this germ-filled world???!!!

I thought about it more, and decided I am the "odd" one. Many of the cleaners do the same thing, so one time around will do it (my kitchen sink is currently attacked with three different products). Greener options are also easier to find now. I have to give my Mom and I props here for supporting Seventh Generation way back in 1990. Yup - they've been around that long, plus a couple of years. This was the height of my enviro-consciousness, little "Earth Muffin" Jen. I talked to my Mom tonight, and we couldn't really remember why we switched back to lining the pockets of Dow and Clorox, but we suspect it mostly had to do with convenience of finding the cleaners and not their performance. We're back to green, though we both call out the "big baddies" for anything involving meat, or if somebody in the house is sick. She has cut down the number of cleaners she uses considerably, but I am having a harder time letting go of my "collection." Definitely a goal for 2008!

Tomorrow ~ the corresponding "How many paper towels does it take for an OCD girl to clean her house, before and after."

~ How green are your cleaners? See National Geographic's Green Guide
~ Green Seal (note: manufacturers voluntarily certify themselves, so you may not see all your preferred products)
~ EPA's Design for the Environment (certifies that the safest
safest ingredients from each class are used, even if the class as a whole is unsafe. In other words - use this list with caution)
~ The best option, and you receive a handful of green stars for your environmental integrity, is to make your own cleaners! So many websites out there, but I'm going to go with Care 2 Make a Difference, and Junie Moon's beautifully presented cleaners from the month of October (scroll down and look for the decorative red and white labels throughout the month). Leave your favorite potions in the comments!


enviromike said...

Reading your comments regarding "Cleaning Green," I may be able to help with part of the problem. Did you know that your carpet acts as a natural filter, trapping soil, dirt, and even airborne allergens?
We use a Green Seal Approved product to not only clean your carpet, but to improve Indoor Air Quality?
I encourage you to check out our website in addition to, and to assit in your Green-Cleaning. We are a family owned, Glendale based business that cleans carpets and also has concerns about sustainable living and the challenge of improving our "Residential Health" while thinking "Green." I hope that this helped.
Best of luck. Happy New Year.

Junie Moon said...

I'm with you on the cleaning issue and appreciate your link to my little offerings. I'm truly happy with my products; in addition to their healthy and thorough cleaning properties, it has saved me tons of money.

robiewankenobie said...

might i add that you add a steam cleaner to your repertoire? if that isn't fun for an ocd cleaner like yourself, i don't know what is. it disinfects without any chemicals at tal. good stuff.

Carrie said...

Wow. Green cleaners were the first change I made :) All it took was watching my 6 month old gnaw on his high chair tray that I had just cleaned with 409 to figure out that probably was really, really bad. Now all I use is a vinegar/water/soap/tea tree oil solution in a spray bottle and baking soda. Although hubby still insists on the toilet cleaner. A little elbow grease gets the germs the old fashioned way, IMO. Then again, I'm definitely not obsessed with cleaning :)

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, very interesting since I'm in the energy efficiency and renewable energy biz. I really appreciate your honesty about how you're doing in the "going green" movement. It's nice to see that no one is perfect. Love your suggestions. I also love Seventh Generation products. Safeway also makes a store brand all purpose cleaner that is non-toxic and really cleans my kitchen floors nicely when mixed with water (a little goes a long way).