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Spring Cleaning Going Green

28 13:26:28
It's time to talk Spring cleaning. The buds are out, the birds are returning, and the days are sunny and warm. And, thanks to someone, I have no idea who, longer sooner as well!

It's that time of year when we shake off the winter blues and stretch back into the sun, rolling up our winter covers and extra clothing and digging out the shorts and tank tops. It's also time to clean all that winter gear, put it away and get the house in order.

For many of us, getting back outdoors means getting healthier right away. When the average home is between 2 and 5 times more polluted than the outdoors, it's time to get outside and reconsider how we are cleaning up inside altogether. And with all the attention and talk centered around global warming and the environment, it's the perfect time to green up our Spring cleaning regimen.

To paraphrase Dierdre Imus in the press release for her new book "Green This!", we've all grown up
associating cleaning with the smells of ammonia, chlorine bleach and other strong and potentially
toxic chemicals. So this Spring, it's time to put the green back in Spring cleaning.

It's simple to start by picking up a gallon of white vinegar, a large container of baking soda and a few bottles of hydrogen peroxide.

Replace chlorine based bleaching and cleaning products with hydrogen peroxide or, in its dry form,
sodium percarbonate. You'll find it as "Oxy Clean" or "OxoBrite" or any of quite a few brand names
for a mixture that is usually 74% sodium percarbonate and 16 percent sal soda, (also called soda ash).

It is also possible to purchase sodium percarbonate online, in convenient 2 lb tubs from

If you're using an automatic dishwasher, most of the commercial products contain bleach and other strong chemicals. Look for the alternatives from 7th Generation, Trader Joe's and others. Or, switch out automatic dishwasher soap for sal soda and sodium percarbonate.

The hydrogen peroxide will work wonders to kill mold and mildew, wash windows and even remove pet urine stains from carpeting and upholstery. Test for colorfastness of the material before cleaning. For most regular cleaning applications a straight 3 percent solution is perfectly sufficient.

While you might not think it's such a big deal to "go green when you clean" remember that many commercially available chemicals persist in the environment without breaking down. Even if you are not chemically sensitive to their use, they are leaving a legacy of polluted ground waters and streams and adding to the chemical soup of municipal waste treatment facilities.

For pennies you can switch from spray bottles of unpronounceable chemical compounds to either white
vinegar or hydrogen peroxide for most surface cleaning jobs. Use them in combination for a 100% bacteria free result in the kitchen or bathroom. (Don't mix them in one bottle of the h2o2 will lose it's effectiveness, instead, use a separate spray bottle for each liquid.)

In the end you'll have a cleaner, fresher and most important healthier home, inside and out.