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Green cleaning

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Green cleaning minimizes indoor air pollution and helps protect the wider environment from chemicals.

Basic tips[edit]

Remember it's not just the cleaning agent that cleans - it's the physical work you put in. You can for example get a surface relatively clean just with a sponge, brush or scouring pad, with water and/or vinegar. Occasionally the surface needs to be cleaner than you can achieve with a cleaning pad, physical effort and lemon or vinegar - e.g. because it had possibly infected substances on it such as blood or human waste, or because it's a food preparation area in need of a thorough clean. One approach is to do a quick clean or wipe without cleaning agents, then use a stronger cleaning agent. Less of the cleaning agent will be needed this way. Remember that time is your friend - allow the cleaning agent time to sit and soak in before wiping it up. Use your muscles and scrub a little harder - consider it a mini-workout. Clean regularly. In areas where grime builds up (e.g. stoves, showers) it helps to clean even more often (even an imperfect clean is much better than nothing), rather than leaving it for weeks or months. If you have solar hot water, using hot water is a very green way to reduce the need for detergent (with any type of cleaning, but especially for dishwashing and clothes washing). Avoid very hot water with clothes, though, as it will shorten their life and may increase fading. Instead of using perfumed washing liquids, use Air fresheners and suitable ventilation instead to create a good smell. Fresh flowers or herbs (cut or in pots) work well. Essential oils are another option.

Natural cleaning agents may not "cut through grease" but they're also kinder to your body (when you contact them with your hands, and inhale them). To make them more effective at cleaning, just let them soak in a little, and rub a little harder, and you can get a good result.

Cleaning the house[edit]

  • Soap and water is effective for more tasks.
  • Disinfectants are not necessary or even desirable in most cases of household cleaning. The key thing is to simply be clean.
  • Vinegar can be used to clean floors and other surfaces. Dilute in water. It's not as effective as harsh chemical cleaners, so a bit more effort is needed - or just accept that your floor doesn't need to be sterile.
  • A cut orange or lemon rubbed over a surface helps to kill pathogens - a natural disinfectant. This is handy for food preparation areas when camping.
  • Washing up liquid - Put small slivers of leftover hand soap in a warmed jam jar, cover with boiling water and let them dissolve. Use the mixture for washing up. One can add a tablespoon of washing soda. Vinegar or lemon juice help clean off grease.
  • After squeezing a lemon or lime, place the rind with its remaining flesh in with the washing up liquid, squeeze it and leave it there. This is a common Indonesian practice.
  • Mirrors and tiles: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water.

Washing clothes[edit]

  • Washing clothes - washing soda is sometimes recommended as a sustainable way to wash clothes more effectively.please expand[verification needed] A few tablespoons of washing soda also makes commercial biodegradable washing powders work better.
  • Homemade laundry powder can be made by mixing 2 parts soap flakes with 1 part soda crystals. Another recipe is to use 2 parts soap flakes, 1 part soda crystals and 1 part borax.[1][2][3][4][5] The last recipe probably works better, but borax is a less of a "green cleaning ingredient". So only use the latter recipe if you drain the water to the sewer, rather than say your backyard (sewer water is treated anyhow trough connected water treatment plants).
  • Fabric softeners: mix one part bicarbonate of soda, one part white vinegar and two parts water, and use like an ordinary fabric softener.

Benefits of green cleaning[edit]

  • Health - preventing build-up of dust, other allergens, and pathogens.
  • Better indoor air quality than using harsh synthetic cleaners.
  • A natural smelling living environment

See also[edit]

References[edit]