The Why & How Of Going Green
I would love nothing better than for someone to tell me that housecleaning is hazardous to my health and I should quit immediately. Actually, in a way, that is what the green cleaning movement is saying about using common household cleaners containing toxic chemicals. Since most of us don't need to live in a clean room environment, there are many chemicals that are possibly harmful to us that are unnecessarily powerful for regular housecleaning. Of course, we don't want viruses and germs running rampant, either. The smart thing seems to be finding a middle ground that works for you when cleaning your home.
The Why Of Going Green
Although it takes some thought and some changes, using fewer and greener cleaners is definitely worth it. This is not a problem that will go away if we ignore it - it will only get worse. Switching to less hazardous cleaning materials might cost a little more, but the return on investment is immediate in health benefits as well as long term in the impact on the earth.
People with asthma or other respiratory problems need to be especially careful. Chemicals in cleaning products have been linked to asthma in children and adults. Children are far more susceptible than adults because they take more breaths per minute, they breathe more deeply, and their bodies are not able to expel toxic substances as well as adults. Plus, they can be more exposed to chemicals in cleaners because they spend more time on the floor touching everything they can reach, and then more time with their hands in their mouths.
Even if you do not have any respiratory conditions, many chemicals are lung irritants. On a personal note, I had to give up cleaning with products containing chlorine bleach because I could not breathe. And the chlorine smell would stay in my nose (or maybe my lungs) for about 24 hours. Everything I ate tasted like chlorine. If chlorine bleach affects you, check out Vital-Oxide, an excellent alternative for mold control and a broad spectrum antimicrobial that is proven to kill germs including E Coli, Norovirus and MRSA. For more details on this amazing product, you'll want to read this brochure.
Striking A Happy, Healthy Balance
Many common household cleaning products contain chemicals that are toxic, caustic, or just plain bad for your health. On the other hand, we all know that dirt and germs are bad for your health, too. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. We need to maintain a clean, healthy environment while exposing ourselves, our children, and the environment to the least toxic chemicals possible.
On one end of the spectrum, there are people who prefer to use no chemicals, and I am sure they are doing us all a favor. Some are environmentalists and refuse chemicals on principle, but others are chemically sensitive and these chemicals that are everywhere make them ill. If you choose to go the really, truly natural route, some old-fashioned cleaners still work pretty well. Here are a few ideas: use salt & vinegar to polish tarnished copper; use equal parts salt, baking soda, and vinegar to unclog drains (pour it in, let it stand, then follow with hot water); use baking soda to remove stains from plastic containers or utensils; shine aluminum with the cut side of a lemon half.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who are not going to give up the cleaners they have used all their lives like bleach and ammonia. And there are places this extreme cleaning is appropriate such as hospitals or flood damaged homes.
In the middle are people who want to do the environmentally responsible thing when it comes to using chemicals and want to preserve the earth for future generations, improve the health of the current population - and still have a clean home. But knowing what cleaning products to use to go green is really hard.
Going Green By Reading Labels
Just because a label says a product is "green" or "natural" or "eco-friendly" does not mean it is non-toxic. It is kind of like food labeling. Just because a food product says it is "lite" or "natural" does not mean it is healthy. Of course, there are times when chemicals are necessary, but using the least amount of the least toxic chemicals possible is a worthy and attainable goal.
Reading labels is a good place to start. Unfortunately this is not foolproof since manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients. However, there are some tricks. You can look for some basics and avoid the worst offenders.
Avoid petroleum-based, and choose plant-based or vegetable-based like the EnviroRite family of products. (EnviroRite Products are 20% Off Through September 8 For Newsletter Subscribers.)
Choose biodegradable products. The FTC says a product can be called biodegradable if it will "break down and decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short amount of time when they are exposed to air, moisture and bacteria or other organisms".
| ||All-Purpose NAS-12 is biodegradable, chlorine-free and contains no phosphates. From removing mold and mildew stains to all sorts of household cleaning jobs, low-chemical formula All-Purpose NAS-12 is a good choice.|
| As the name says, No More Soap Scum is made to remove soap deposits from tubs, showers, shower doors, etc. Just spray it on, allow it to break down the soap for 5 or 10 minutes and wipe the surface free of scum. And this product is biodegradable, contains no phosphates, and is low-chemical.|
|Apply No More Mildew in bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, or wherever mold and mildew are present. Then you won't have to use cleaning chemicals for up to 2 years (apply more frequently in showers & tubs). No More Mildew is biodegradable, contains no phosphates, and is low-chemical. |
Choose pump spray bottles instead of aerosols.
Choose phosphate-free dishwasher detergents like EnviroRite Auto Dishwasher Detergent.
Avoid chlorine and ammonia.
Avoid nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) and phosphates in laundry detergents. Choose laundry products like:
|Anti-Allergen Solution Laundry Detergent is a true green formulation that passes all EU requirements for biodegradability and VOC content. This product contains no phosphates and no NPEs. The high concentration means less trucking and trips to the store. The cold water formula saves energy and makes clothes last longer.|
| EnviroRite Laundry Detergent is a vegetable-based product with no phosphates and no NPE's that is safe and effective for all washables. The concentrated formula means only 1/8 cup is needed for regular loads. |
| ||Allersearch Allergen Wash Laundry Detergent contains no NPE's or phosphates. A gallon of this plant- and petroleum-based combination will wash 150 loads of laundry. Use any water temperature. |
Going Green Sometimes Means Choosing NO Chemicals
Some cleaning products don't even require chemicals. Dusting can be easy and effective with Dust Grabbers electrostatic dust cloths or with microfiber dusting tools like the Ultra Microfiber High Duster and Ultra Microfiber Blinds Duster. Microfiber cloths such as the Microfiber Glass Cloth or Ultra Microfiber Miracle Towels (pictured at right), used wet or dry, are another good way to avoid chemicals. Since the Miracle Towels come in a 3 pack with 3 different colors, you can even use one color in the bathroom, another color in the kitchen, and the third for everything else. (Remember, Newsletter Subscribers Will Receive A Free 3-Pack With Orders Of $130 Or More, A $16.99 Value.)
Going Green Is A Process
If the change to green seems overwhelming, remember that you are going green. You don't have to be green all at once. Every little bit you do is helpful, and then keep adding little bits. Start by finding a safer alternative to one cleaning product you use - it could be the one you use the most, the most hazardous one you use, or the one that is easiest for you to give up. Starting is half the battle, so just start anywhere. Then keep going green.
To order by phone, call us any time - 24/7. For expert care and answers to specific product-related questions, call one of our experienced customer service representatives to guide you through the options for allergy, asthma and sinus relief at 1-800-522-1448 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:30 pm Eastern Time. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor first about your specific condition, treatment options and other health concerns you may have.