What Is Green Cleaning

Green cleaning is the process of cleaning an establishment, such as a business or household using green cleaning products and supplies.

From carpet cleaning services to basement or stove cleaning there are specialized services that use green products, although sometimes they are harder to find.

Generally, products are being labeled as green are products that have one or more of the following features:

  • Manufactured using certified green and/or sustainable methods
  • Contain ingredients that are non-toxic and a big percentage of those ingredients are naturally derived
  • They have very little to no chemical ingredients
  • Safe to use indoors and outdoors (e.g. playsets and playground equipment) and generally do not affect human health
  • Residue is non-toxic, and, in most cases, bio-degradable
  • Do not affect the environment in a negative way, such as contaminating the groundwater
  • Packaging is recycled, recyclable and maybe even biodegradable.

Green cleaning products might require more time and effort to work when compared to traditional products (especially the ones that contain chlorine or acids meant to melt fat).

Green Cleaning Tips

Make Your Own Green Cleaning Products

If you are a DIY aficionado, the perspective of making your own, environment friendly cleaning products might sound very exciting to you. There are quite a few guides on how to make your own cleaning and deodorizing products, and some of them work as good as the regular cleaning products available in stores.  You’ll be doing basic chemistry at home, so please make sure that you green cleaningresearch the products a little bit further, read all the warnings and learn what not to mix. Also, do not forget to label every homemade cleaning product with the ingredients and ratios that you used in making them.

Some common ingredients for homemade green cleaning products are:

  • vinegar – good for cleaning, disinfecting and even as a fabric softener. Leaves windows sparkling clean and removes odors. It is usually mixed with other ingredients, such as water, rubbing alcohol and baking soda to name a few. Cons: distinct, persistent smell, not safe for all surfaces (such as marble, natural stone, wood, unsealed grout. Never mix with hydrogen peroxide, it creates a powerful and potentially harmful acid. 
  • baking soda – good for cleaning, deodorizing and even cleaning silver. Keeps grills clean all summer long,  brighten your laundry and use it for washing your produce. It is usually mixed with water or just by itself. Cons: very few. Combining vinegar and baking soda like a lot of people seem to advise, produces a foaming, slightly explosive reaction that renders the resulting solution(water plus a small amount of sodium acetate – a salt) ineffective.
  • lemon juice – god for cleaning, removing stains, deodorizing and removing rust. Clean the microwave, polish copper and remove coffee rings. Very effective when cleaning chrome and copper. Usually mixed with other or used by itself. Cons: makes your mouth water.
  • rubbing alcohol – good for disinfecting, cleaning windows, mirrors and chrome fixtures. Clean dry-erase boards and use it to disinfect your mouse and  keyboard. Cons: contains Isopropyl alcohol which is poisonous when ingested or inhaled on purpose. Keep away from children. 
  • used coffee grounds – cleaning, deodorizer. Use coffee grinds as an abrasive(but much less harmful) material. Deodorize your fridge or use it as a air freshener. Come spring, they also have a lot of uses in the garden. Cons: mmm, none, can I have some more coffee now, please?

Green cleaning homemade products are non-toxic, cheap, environment friendly and usually very easy to make. For more ideas, take a look at these green cleaning recipes.

Use Green Cleaning Labels

You might want to choose products that display the following green cleaning labels:green cleaning label

Keep in mind that there are plenty of green products and green service providers that do not display a certification due to the time and expense necessary for applying to one of these standards.

Clean Indoor Air

Improve the air quality in your home or office by following these tips:

  • open your windows as often as possible to remove stale air. Do this every time you are cleaning so the dust and all the other things you disturb can removed easier.
  • use baking soda as an air freshener
  • use vinegar as an air freshener
  • keep plants in your house or office. You will live the new look, breathe drastically improved air and even feel more relaxed (the presence of plants is known to reduce stress). If you are not sure what kind of plants to choose to improve your indoor air quality, talk to a professional landscaper.

Maintain Cleanliness

Last, but not least, do not forget that cleanliness is something that needs to be maintained on a regular basis. It is a lot easier to do some light cleaning around the house once a week than to work for half a day or more to remove dust and clutter accumulated over a few months. You can search online and print a weekly cleaning schedule to help you keep track of what needs to be done. There are even apps for that and they will certainly help you do a good cleaning job, faster.

Hire A Green Cleaning Company

Once in a while, to save some time and allow yourself to focus on other things, you might want to hire a green cleaning company. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when you do that:

  • make your preferences known from the very beginning. Are there certain products you want them to use? Are you going to supply those products or do you want them to bring their own? Are there products you do not want them to use? Are they allowed to use a combination of green and regular cleaning products for very tough spots?
  • ask if the cost is different than that of a cleaning with regular products. Make sure you tell them if you have preferences on what cleaning products should be used. If those products are costly, it is likely that the final quote will reflect their price.
  • stick with the same cleaning company. Once you find a cleaning lady that you like and is within your price range, try to stick with her. She knows the ins and outs of your home or office, your personal preferences and probably has a cleaning checklist of her own customized for your establishment.

(Photo by go_greener_oz )

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