Spring cleaning that’s really clean.

20 04 2008

I admit it: I use the nasty cleaners, the kind with bleach and other things that end up polluting streams around the country. That’s mostly because our household needed cleaning supplies quickly when we started out last year, and we aren’t exactly in the position to be buying fancy earth-friendly cleaners online. More and more, however, eco-cleaning products are appearing in the abundant chain stores; even Wal-Mart is carrying a green(er) cleaning line. Recently, the wonderful folks at Ideal Bite showcased the variety of environmentally and health-friendly cleaners that are also remarkably affordable. You can see the tip here; note that it includes a link to ideas for those old stand-by cleaners made from household ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. Hopefully I will come to the day when I never use bleach voluntarily again. It still scares me to think of my days cleaning floors as a waitress, as I’m rather certain that the two cleaning powders we were ordered to mix together contained ammonia and bleach, respectively.

But what to do with the remainder of my conventional cleaners? Some argue that in the interest of respiratory health (indoor pollution is frequently shown in studies to be at a more dangerous level than outdoor), I should throw them away now. But when one takes into account the overall health of the planet, it seems selfish to dump the noxious stuff down the drain or to throw it into a landfill, where it will most certainly end up in groundwater and soil. For now, I’ll still clean the toilet with the door open and my breathing shallow.




5 responses

20 04 2008

Do you know what happens to the chemicals that the landfill collects on “hazardous houshold waste” day? Do they have some way of neutralizing the toxic chemicals? Oh, and just as a side note, I’m particularly fond of citrus-based cleaners. They work well, smell good, and don’t contain anything related to bleach.

20 04 2008
Eileen Simpson

The best choice is the hazardous waste day. They dispose of it in sealed areas instead of open landfills

20 04 2008

Thanks, ladies. I’ll look into this more. And I agree about citrus-scented cleaning products; often, other green cleaners can have a strong rosemary or tea tree scent that can be objectionable to some people, but citrus seems to please across the board.

21 04 2008
Mister Moone

…Clean only as often and as much as necessary…use up the non-green cleaners you have until they are gone…that’s how I would go about getting rid of those bleach and amonia chemicals…if you leave bleach open, it turns into Hydroxide (I believe that’s correct)… and that is less acidic – maybe that would be healthier to pour down the drain?


21 04 2008

I was pleased to discover yesterday that Target carries the full line of 7th Generation cleaners, which is one of the companies that has been around for a while, I believe. I still try to resist supporting “big box” companies like Target and Walmart, but it’s good to know that even they are trying to make the safe cleaners somewhat more affordable.

Colleen, you were one of the first people who ever made me stop and think about how the cleaning products I used were effecting both me and the environment – many thanks 🙂

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