Posted by Danielle Downs on Feb.01, 2009
10. Take off your shoes. Ask your guests to remove their shoes as well. We can track in things a lot more dangerous than mud. This is especially important if you have children or pets that play or crawl on your floors.
9. Grow some fresh air. Keep leafy house plants. Plants naturally absorb carbon dioxide and provide fresh oxygen. Growing healthy, organic plants is like growing fresh air.
8. Ditch the dry-cleaner. If you must dry clean, air out dry cleaned clothing before you put it in your home. The chemicals used in the dry clean process are very toxic. If you must have an item dry cleaned, remove the plastic and hang it outside to let the residues dissipate.
7. Avoid ammonia. Commonly found in conventional window cleaners, this chemical can irritate the lungs, eyes, and mucus membranes. Ammonia adds nitrogen to the environment often resulting in disruptions to the ecosystem. Plenty of green alternatives are available now.
6. Eliminate soft surfaces. Soft surfaces such as curtains, carpets, rugs, artificial flowers and throw pillows can hold harmful chemicals or residues in their fibers. A hard surface replacement is easy to clean. Drapes and curtains can hold in or emit dust and toxins. Replace them with blinds that can be wiped down. Replace carpets with sustainable bamboo flooring or a high quality linoleum that does not leach petroleum compounds. This is especially important if you have an asthma or allergy sufferer in your home.
5. Beware of aerosol sprays. Each pump can fill your home with propellants made of volatile hydrocarbons, typically propane, n-butane and isobutane, all flammable petrochemicals. There are plenty of natural alternatives to freshen your home, style your hair or coat your bakeware.
4. Don’t dry dust. Use a damp cloth to lock in the dust. Dust particles can bind to toxins and sit in your home. A cloth sprayed with an enzyme-based cleaner (a type of natural cleaning product) works great to deodorize and decontaminate.
3. Do away with air fresheners. These petroleum based fragrances continuously release chemicals into your home. Open a window or try an enzyme-based deodorizer to safely remove pet, smoke, and kitchen odors.
2. Get rid of toxic chemicals. Pesticides, solvents, chlorine and petrochemicals have dangerous consequences. Chlorine is number one cause of chemical poisonings. Check with your local waste management to dispose of these properly.
1. Use only the highest quality green cleaning products. Read the labels carefully to make sure the product is actually green and safe. Fragrances and dyes are often made from petroleum, so “free and clear” products are best. Some products contain essential oils to add a pleasant scent and power. Since these oils are minimally processed, people with plant or pollen allergies should be careful. Used properly, green cleaners can help rid your home of dangerous residues and everyday soils.
Article By: Danielle Downs
Profile: Danielle is an environmental advocate and health junkie. She has worked on sustainability initiatives in the US and abroad to reduce the use of petrochemicals and increase awareness of unsafe business practices. Eating local is how she keeps her family healthy, her carbon footprint low, and her dinner table ethical.
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