David Suzuki's Greener Cleaner

Monday, April 07, 2008

I just got this in an email from the David Suzuki Foundation -- check it out and think twice about what cleaners you use around your house for spring cleaning! I use vinegar and water for pretty much everything and really you don't need much else but for other alternatives read more below:

It’s spring and Canadians’ thoughts turn to cleaning (we know you can’t wait!). Did you know that Jeffrey Hollender, head of Seventh Generation Seventh Generation was inspired to create his line of non-toxic products when his young son’s severe asthma was directly linked to environmental toxins? You’ve been telling us you too want safe solutions for a healthier life, so in this issue, we’ll show you how to make your own green cleaning products, get rid of stuff you don’t want, and avoid toxic exposure when the object to be cleaned is you.

Greener cleaner

There are tons of eco-cleaning products on store shelves these days, but you can make your own from ordinary stuff around the house. Here's the first in a series of kitchen-tested recipes (on everyone's favorite cleaning topic - laundry!) from DSF staffer Lindsay Coulter. For the visual learners out there, here’s the movie version . To receive the rest of Lindsay's recipes for safe, inexpensive household cleaning ideas sign up here.

People who wash, bathe and drink in the same waterway know whatever they do ends up downstream. It’s really the same for all of us. Why use toxic chemicals when a few basic ingredients whipped up right in your own home will make enough stuff to safely clean practically anything? It’s healthier for you and the planet AND it’s way less expensive than store bought. Ready to give it a try? Here’s a shopping list (note: don’t be surprised if this reminds you of your grandmother... she knew):

-soap flakes/granules (molecules that are water soluble on one end and attract dirt and grease on the other)
-castile soap (also called ‘seafarer’s’; made exclusively from vegetable oils, with no animal fats)
-baking soda (deodorizes, softens water, scours; like the commercial says – put a box in your fridge to absorb orders, add to litter boxes for the same reason)
washing soda (cousin to baking soda, cuts through grease, softens water, disinfects)
-Borax (disinfects, cleans and deodorizes)
-white vinegar (a grease-cutting acid that you can eat)
-lemon juice (another edible grease-cutting acid with a pleasant scent)

For those of us not inclined to do-it-yourself, make sure you read labels carefully. Manufacturers worth trusting will list what’s inside their products. Beware unsubstantiated green claims. Do your best to avoid these ingredients. Be especially careful with degreasers, drain cleaners, moth balls, oven cleaners, spot removers/cleaning fluids, paint thinners and strippers. Even products that say "bio-degradable" can pose a threat to fish and wildlife.

For more on how to de-tox your home, check out Toxic Smart Solutions, which contains great info translated into Chinese and Punjabi in addition to English.

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