Everything from common dish soap used in the kitchen to laundry detergent or floor polish and bathroom milder removers, cause pollution. Not just when we use these products full of toxins in our homes (polluting the air with their toxic chemicals), but also when they are manufactured and transported to the stores.
Cleaning products pollute our water supply when they’re washed down the drain. They end up in our lakes, rives and oceans having a negative effect on our health as well as the health of nearby wildlife.
According to data published by the Western Regional Pollution Prevention Network, six of every 100 janitorial workers injured on the job each year are hurt by the cleaning chemicals they use.
Some of the products we already have in our fridge can be easily and efficiently used as natural cleaners. For ex:
- Baking soda can be used to scrub surfaces in much the same way as commercial abrasive cleansers. Baking soda is also great deodorizer: place a box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors and/or before you vacuum, sprinkle it on your carpet.
- Lemon Juice. The acid in lemon juice neutralizes hard water deposits, dissolves buildup and dirt on wood, and tarnish on silver.
- Grapefruit seed extract and essential oils such as lavender, clove, and tea tree oil have antiseptic properties and operate as natural fungicides.
Sometimes choosing eco-friendly cleaning products are a more expensive option, so here is a better tip for the environment and your pocket: make them yourself. I make my own, and by having five dogs in the house, I want to make sure I get rid of bacteria and odors! These are some recipes that I tried and approved:
All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. Another alternative is microfiber cloths which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. I also mix around 5 drops of lavender (or tea tree) essential oil by the time I’m cleaning in each liter of these mix to leave a nice smell…
Mold Killer: Combine 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake to blend. Spray on mold and don’t rinse.
No-streak glass cleaner for sparkling mirrors and windows: combine 1/4 cup undiluted white vinegar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, and 1 quart warm water. Divide into spray bottles. For a lint-free shine, wipe dry with a sheet of crumpled newspaper or a coffee filter.
Tub and tile cleaner recipe: 1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/2 cup water, a few drops of Tea tree essential oil. Mix soda and soap. Add water, vinegar and oil. Store in a squirt-top bottle and shake before using. Rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving a residue.
Have a GREEN cleaning time!
Use fabric for wrapping gifts! Inexpensive remnants can be bought for any season or occasion. Tie the fabric with colored yarn.
Skip Your Dishwasher's Dry Cycle
Doing this saves tons of energy, and all you have to do is give them a quick dry with a dishtowel as you put them away.
Boost Your Fridge's Efficiency by filling it up!
Keeping your refrigerator full, but not to the point of overstuffing, will allow it to run at max capacity. To help retain cold temperatures when the fridge and freezer are less full, place glass or ceramic pitchers of water in their compartments. Like using ice in a picnic cooler, this will insulate the interior and keep it cold.
Refrigerators and freezers account for about a sixth of all electricity use in a typical American home, and they use more electricity than any other single household appliance.
Over- or under-crowding makes the fridge work harder to maintain its optimal internal temp (37 degrees F).
Have your Own Bags at the car
There’s always something we forgot to buy, or some little grocery shopping. For these days, avoid using plastic bags, and when doing a big supermarket shopping that might not fit in one or two recycled/ reusable bags, ask them for a paper bag!
Each year the United States consumes 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper grocery bags, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That translates to about 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil. And then there's what happens after the bags are used -- they clog landfills, contaminate recycling and composting facilities, and litter the landscape.
Avoid Overnight Shipping
Select ground transportation, instead of rush delivery, for your mailing needs and cut down on fossil fuel use and pollution.
Try to avoid overnight shipping, which burns the most fossil fuels per item. In fact, ground shipping tends to be six times more energy efficient than air.
Also, because airplanes release their greenhouse gases way up in the atmosphere, they tend to do more damage than gases emitted at ground level, at least as far as global warming is concerned.
Avoiding overnight delivery will also save you a bundle of money, since companies add a hefty price for the service.
+ info: www.thedailygreen.com