Go With Chemical-Free Cleaning in 2010!

February 2010
There are many easy (requiring no work), unexpected and ground breaking, as well as new yet routine ways to go with chemical-free cleaning in 2010. What do I mean by chemical-free? Easy, smart ways to get the job done without chemical products –even natural ones-- and how.

 No-Work Techniques

·         An easy time-saver and cleaning reducer is to simply put a solid shoe scraper matt at the entry points to your home. By reducing dust and dirt from your shoes, you need less cleaning of floors and carpets.

·         Remove toxic products from your home.  Almost everyone in the world has a cupboard full of poisons under their kitchen sink. Wasp spray, oven cleaner, waxes and polishes—the place is full of chemicals that display the words poison, danger, warning, or caution. Small amounts of the poisons drift from, and leak out of bottles and spray bottles, which then waft around the kitchen.

·         Clean indoor air with plants. Horticulture experts at University of Georgia have now tested a number of ornamental indoor plants for their ability to remove harmful volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) including formaldehyde from indoor air. They have found that some indoor plants have the ability to effectively remove VOCs from the air and not only improve physical health, but also one’s well-being.

Of the 28 species of common indoor ornamental plants tested for their ability to remove five volatile indoor pollutants, they found five that did a stellar job. These are purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata), english ivy (Hedera helix), waxy leaved plant (Hoya carnosa), asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus) and the purple heart plant (Tradescantia pallida).

Unexpected & Ground Breaking

Cleaning professionals are getting very sophisticated about smart ways to remove dirt, allergenic materials such as dust mites, mold, and infectious agents, with deep cleaning technologies that use no chemicals at all. Out in front is Maid Brigade’s VapurClean Advantage™ system, available at select locations. This new technology is truly the evolution of green cleaning and disinfection. By converting water into a super-heated, low-moisture vapor they can penetrate microscopic pores in every surface where dirt and germs hide and multiply. The chemical-free, low-moisture heat is safe for all surfaces in your home and safe for your family but lethal to mold, mildew and germs.

It is reassuring to know that there is a system that works so well against infectious diseases such as salmonella, staph, avian and swine flus and more, and without chemicals. Commercial disinfectants are as a rule causing environmental havoc by introducing long-lasting endocrine disrupting chemicals into the home and causing super bug overgrowth, just like with antibiotics. The VapurClean™ system creates a dry steam vapor which penetrates microscopic pores in surfaces where dirt and germs hide and multiply, killing dust mites on contact, removing allergens, killing bacteria and removing mold and mildew. It is recognized by the EPA as a successful disinfection device.
New Routines

Switch to microfiber for dusting:  When you use microfiber cloths you can skip cleaning products and paper towels altogether. Made froma blend of microscopic polyester and polyamide (nylon), the fibers in the cloth are split during manufacturing to create microscopic “hooks” which grab onto and hold dust, dirt and grime. The cloths can hold six times their weight in water! Best of all, the fibers have a positive charge. They attract dust, which has a negative charge, and hold dust particles in their network of fibers.

With some caveats—the fibers are not natural, and not all microfiber cloths are created equal—I think that microfiber cloths are great. And the color coding is fun, helps prevent cross-contamination and brings some sense to one’s cleaning closet!

While microfiber cloths are not made of natural materials, they are eco-friendly because they reduce water usage (both while cleaning and in avoided laundry loads), reduce the use of cleaning products and paper towels or other disposables, and they thoroughly remove dust, allergens and bacteria.

Buy a high-quality microfiber. The microfibers I use are durable (2,000 wear cycles), have a high “scrub” factor (#36 abrasiveness), can last for 1,000 wash cycles, and have a 14,000 ml/m absorbency.  You will save a lot of resources with cloth that can handle a thousand wash cycles!

The microfiber color code system is very useful... Using different colors prevents cross contamination, and quickly identifies use for different surface areas. There are usually four colors: Green, blue, yellow and pink. You decide which color to use where. Blue for the bathroom, green for the living room, yellow for the kitchen, pink for the kids’ rooms?

While I am a huge fan of the old folk formulas for cleaning, it is thrilling to get to know “smart cleaning” techniques that integrate sophisticated new technology with care for the environment. By adding these new concepts with some old safe, tried and true ones, we can enter 2010 fully present with the best that our current time has to offer to protect our health and the environment.

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