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Green Clean

June 24, 2010

By Jennifer Chaky

Recently I hosted a green cleaning workshop in my store, given by Jennifer Mortarulo, founder of New Jersey-based Clean Green Co., a residential and office cleaning service that uses only green cleaning products and procedures. The seed of Jennifer’s company was planted when her beloved hus0ky suffered from a seizure. The veterinarian asked if Jennifer used the air freshener Febreze, and Jennifer said,  “Of course!” It is, after all, advertised to combat odors on dog beds!

Her vet proceeded to tell her about a study in the Veterinarian’s Journal concerning the air freshener. The study showed they found small traces of cyanide in the freshener that, after long-term exposure, could cause a breakdown in an animal’s nervous system. If this was happening to her dogs, what could it be doing to her…and her then unborn child? That’s when Jennifer decided to not trust chemical companies about the saftey of their products, and to question EVERYTHING!

Here are some thinking points about cleaning products, and some pointers on alternatives to use in your home from Jennifer, the professional green cleaning expert:

  • Clean does not have a smell. Chemical-laden scents are not really “clean.”
  • Chemical companies that made deadly warfare agents during WWII needed a market to sell their products when the war was over. That’s when they decided to market their poisons to individuals, creating the new perceived “enemy” of dirt, grime, and germs!
  • A study showed that women who used Pledge actually showed signs of depression after exposure to the chemicals.
  • There are a lot of companies greenwashing their products (saying they are green when in fact, they aren’t at all.) Clorox, SC Johnson Wax, Arm & Hammer, Proctor Gamble and Method are BIG greenwashers. Avoid products from these companies.
  • Seventh Generation is actually one of the good companies and  is working to push the government to make all cleaning product companies adhere to REAL standards. Mrs. Meyers is another good company. Support these companies when you can.
  • Using chemical cleaning products in your home is what adds to poor indoor air quality (not to mention outdoor air and water pollution.)

Alternatives:

  • If you are around 40 years old, do what your grandmother did, NOT what your mother did. (In general, our grandparents were of the pre-chemical generation and our parents post.)
  • White Vinegar kills 99% of germs, 89% of viruses, and 88% of molds and is completely safe. Especially because it is not “overkill.” We have gotten too “clean” in this country and it is leading to antibiotic resistant diseases and allergies!
  • Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle for use on countertops, bathrooms, and windows (1pt. vinegar :1 part water ratio), and floors (1pt. vinegar :3 parts water ratio). Use straight up in laundry room to treat stains.
  • Bon Ami cleanser is a great product made from enzymes from the earth. It is inexpensive, can be found in the regular grocery store, and works great on pots and pans, stovetops, toilets, or anywhere you need to scour.
  • Good old steel wool and elbow grease can be used too for tough jobs without chemicals.
  • Castille soap and vinegar (1part : 1 part) can be used in your dishwasher and to clean your iron.
  • If you choose to buy commercially-made green cleaning products instead of making your own, make sure it is a truly green company. There is tons of great information on companies and ingredients on the website Woman Voices For the Earth
  • And remember, green products go a long way. They use less product to get the job done so get used to thinking “less is more!”
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