As I was grocery shopping this past weekend, I noticed that many companies that produce cleaning products are joining the green bandwagon. Many of these companies are extolling the green virtues of their products as a means to increase revenues. The question is how truly green these products are? It is safe to say that there are products in the market place which have been screened to include the safest possible ingredients to help protect the environment and families. Which products you may ask? Well, the products that carry the Design for the Environment label. The DfE is an EPA Partnership Program in which product manufacturers earn the right to display the DfE logo after investing heavily in the research, development and reformulation to ensure that their ingredients and the finish product are really environmentally friendly.
While there is a list of Design for the Environment Partners covering a wide variety of consumer and industrial cleaning products, there are still individuals that prefer greener practices for their household chores. Here are some suggested alternative methods or products that allow you to clean without hazardous ingredients:
Glass Cleaner: Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in 1 quart of water.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Use a toilet brush and baking soda or vinegar. Note: these clean but do not disinfect.
Furniture Polish: Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 pint of vegetable oil.
Rug Deodorizer: Sprinkle liberally with baking soda and vacuum after 15 minutes.
Plant Spray: Wipe leaves with mild soap and water and rinse.
Mothballs: Use cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mint, or white peppercorns.
Household Cleaning Solution: 1 cup of warm water, 3 drops of vegetable-based liquid soap, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
So, use and dispose of these products safely at home for the benefit of your family and the environment. Do you have any green cleaning habits you would like to share? We would love to hear from you.
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.