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Greening your cleaning

Posted by by Bea James, senior manager of organic, natural and sustainable programs
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You’ve been cooped up with all the doors and windows tightly closed. You need a big, deep breath of clean air. Time to let the fresh air in and clean away traces of winter.

But wait! Don’t grab just any cleaning product to wipe away that grime. You might pollute your house with harmful chemicals. Try greening your cleaning with natural home cleaners. They work great and leave your home looking and smelling naturally clean.

On the surface, (yes, pun intended), traditional household cleaners are great at what they do: repelling dirt, dust, and grime with nothing more than a spritz. Unfortunately, many of these cleaners contain toxic ingredients that, while safe in small amounts, could have undetected long-term side effects like:

  • phthalates: helps products hold onto to those chemical fragrances, but may cause birth defects
  • phosphates: break down dirt, but can also affect algae when they enter the water supply
  • petrochemicals or petroleum based by-products: linked to cancer
  • chlorine bleach: disinfects, but can cause tissue damage to lungs and skin.

Geez…phthalates, phosphates and petrochemicals, oh my!

There are less toxic alternatives for cleaning your house. Below are some of my favorites that you will find in the cleaning section of Lunds and Byerly’s stores. Trust me, you and your elbow grease will be glad you made the switch.

KITCHEN: Seventh Generation Lavender Floral Mint Dish Liquid
Seventh Generation is the nation’s leading brand of natural household cleaners. Water, plant-based enzymes, minerals and essential oils make up this dish soap. The natural based fragrance is so lovely that I often wash my hands with it, much to the chagrin of my husband who tells me to “use hand soap and save Seventh Gen. for its real job.” Oh well, love that smell.

ALL SURFACES: JR Watkins All Purpose Grapefruit Cleaner
Local JR Watkins has been nestled in Winona, Minn. since 1868 - 144 years! Founder J.R. Watkins set out with a mission to create natural, environmentally friendly ingredients from renewable resources, avoiding those unpleasant chemicals like parabens, sulfates and phthalates. Plus, this is one of few lines to be certified by the Natural Products Association. Clean all surfaces of your home with this absolutely yummy grapefruit-scented all-purpose cleaner. You’ll love it.

LAUNDRY: Ecover Ultra Liquid Laundry Wash
How many times have you heard “tackles tough stains and get’s the dirt out” in laundry commercials? Well for Ecover, it’s naturally true, and once again the product leaves a great mild fresh scent. Plant and mineral based ingredients are filled in a 100% PlantPlastic bottle. The bottles are 100% recyclable and made from responsibly harvested sugarcane, so no need for petrochemicals here.


Tags: cleaning

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