Demand For "Greener" Cleaning Products Sparks Industry Changes

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February 12, 2008 | 68,373 views

Growing consumer demand for environmentally-friendly cleaning products has moved "green" cleaning supplies from a fringe industry to an economic powerhouse that has attracted the attention of big corporations.

Suppliers are increasingly providing cleaning products that contain natural or naturally-derived ingredients, while avoiding the use of environmentally-harmful chemicals. Clorox is the latest to offer a line of these products, which will be marketed under the name Green Works.

Chemical manufacturers are working to come up with new ingredients that are both environmentally-friendly and high-performance.

Many of your most common household products contain potentially toxic chemicals. Although you may not have reflected on this; you can easily absorb most of these chemicals through your skin, and you can also breathe them into your lungs.

Over time, these toxins can build up in your system (and in the environment) and cause any number of unpredictable effects. For example:

It's always best to avoid using chemicals to clean, sanitize or deodorize your home. But until the self-cleaning kitchen becomes a reality, you are left with the practical challenge of selecting effective yet safe cleaning agents that won't poison you or your family.

As this article points out, it’s becoming easier to seek out more natural laundry detergents and cleaning products as more companies are following public demand. Your local health food store is a good place to start.

But there’s an even easier way to keep your household sparkling clean, without cleaning out your wallet; make them from scratch! Because you don’t need a chemical degree to make many, if not all, of your cleaners from common household items.

How to Clean and Sanitize Without Harmful Chemicals

Items, such as vinegar, baking soda, salt, and lemon juice can get the job done just as well -- sometimes even better -- than their toxic counterparts.

For example, vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer.

Cleaning mirrors and windows is as easy as adding a quarter-cup of white vinegar per quart of water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the mixture if windows or mirrors are really dirty, but be very careful not to use any that contain harmful antibacterial substances.

If you're still using air fresheners because you like a scented environment, consider safer alternatives like therapeutic essential oils. Many of them also have the added bonus of being antibacterial agents. Just bear in mind that essential oils are NOT the same thing as fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are artificially created and often contain synthetic chemicals -- so make sure the essential oil you use is of the highest quality and 100 percent pure.

Most people know that baking soda is an ideal means to absorb odors in your refrigerator, but did you know it’s also a real powerhouse when it comes to cleaning? 

Here’s half a dozen examples of how plain and simple baking soda can replace dangerous commercial cleaning products in your home:






I also recommend you modify the way you use your existing towels, sponges, rags and other conventional tools you use to clean your home with, as

1) they are some of the top sources for illness-causing germs in your home; and

2) they do a very poor job of cleaning the biological and toxic aspects of dirt in your home

Last year I posted an interesting study that documented the only real value of a microwave, and that is to use it to sterilize these items.

A University of Florida team found that putting your wet sponge in the microwave for two minutes at full power could kill 99 percent of a wide range of bacteria, viruses and parasites (including B. cereus spores after four minutes, which are normally able to survive extreme heat and radiation).

Keep in mind, however, that you MUST SOAK THE SPONGE BEFORE MICROWAVING IT, or else it will likely catch fire and possibly ruin the microwave, if not your house. Additionally, the way this works is by causing the water in the sponge to turn to hot steam, which is what kills the bacteria. Also make sure the sponges do not contain any metallic components.

Zapping your sponges in the microwave every other day will decontaminate them better than simply putting them in the dishwasher, which is the strategy I had been using previously.

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