guide to spring cleaning Time to break out the mop and bucket, it’s that time of year again! While getting your home and office clean and organized may appear daunting, tackling this job will have you feeling invigorated and inspired to get more work done in the long run. We say ditch those toxic chemicals and opt for products that are friendly to the earth and life on it. If you’re feeling extra-ambitious, you can even try your hand at creating your own earth-friendly cleaning concoctions, a few recipes can be found on page two of this guide. Don’t forget to recycle or donate everything you can during and after your “greencleaning” spree. Dispose of e-waste, batteries, old furniture, and other “junk” laying around responsibly; taking the time to use recycling and recovery services in your community is invalu- able. Organizations like Vancouver’s Happy Stan’s can pick up a variety of materials from homes, businesses and industrial sites. Thinking of our everyday “junk” in a cradle-to-grave context rather than as instantly disposable is an important step in minimizing consumption and raising awareness about the myriad products we choose to buy and their sometimes unforeseen consequences. Keep in mind: Traditional chemical cleaners are major contributors to indoor air pollution and can contain hormone disrupting agents and toxic VOCs. Vegetable-based formulas are a gentler, safer option. Skip commercial “air fresheners”. Look out for greenwashing tactics in full effect; don’t go by pictures of fruits or flowers on a label, read the ingredients and be sure to do your research. We like to support companies that back their chat and strive to be ethical all around; see our guide of Canadian retailers. Avoid disposable cleaning products at all costs – they are major landfill cloggers and often exist solely to boost a corporation’s profits. Buyer beware! This is convenience at a hefty price. Yes, this means paper towels are guilty too. Greencleaning: DIY Scouring different websites for home greencleaning solutions, one thing becomes very clear: formulating your own cleaning supplies is almost ridiculously easy and usually involves just a few common ingredients and some elbow grease. The main items you need for your own cleaning solutions are vinegar, salt, baking soda, cornstarch, olive oil, lemon juice and some essential oils if you want to make things smell pretty in a non-toxic way. Borax, a bleach alternative that kills mold and bacteria, may also come in handy along with castile and vegetable oil-based soaps. Here are a few simple recipes care of Hugg.ca, but you can find many more with a quick Internet search. There are also some great books on the subject such as Green Clean or Clean & Green. Toilet Bowl Cleaner - 1/4 cup baking soda - 1/4 cup white vinegar Sprinkle baking soda into the toilet bowl and add vinegar. Let sit for a couple of minutes before cleaning with a toilet brush. Drain Cleaner - 125 ml baking soda - 1 cup white vinegar - Boiling water Pour baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. Cover the drain. A few minutes later, pour boiling water down the drain to clear. Glass Cleaner - 75 ml white vinegar - 1 tsp cornstarch - 1L warm water Combine all ingredients and clean glass with a sponge. Wipe dry. Wood Furniture Polish - 1/4 cup white vinegar - 1/4 cup olive oil - 2 tsp lemon juice Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, spray on furniture and wipe dry. Though these products are all-natural, label them properly and keep them out of child’s reach! Greencleaning Resources Canada You can also find all your Canadian greencleaning resources online at ethicalconsumer.ca! To view all products certified under EcoLogo, visit the website; usually bigger companies are registered here and are bulk suppliers to the janitorial industry, hospitals, schools, restaurants, etc. Simply Clean (Guelph, ON) Effective, safe and biodegradable cleaning products. No phosphates, NTA, EDTA, APEP, NPE, halogenated or volatile organic solvents Nature Clean Living (Markham, ON) Non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning products created from naturally derived ingredients, manufactured and packaged in Canada. Blue Wonder (Vancouver, BC) The original Blue Wonder microfiber cloth was created to help you eliminate the need for most toxic household cleaning chemicals. Available since 1997, produced in Canada. Benefect Botanical Disinfectant (Hamilton, ON) The first and only botanical disinfectant in North America; kills over 99.99% of bacteria, mold and fungal spores. Bio-Vert (Laval, QC) Consumers’ ecological choice since 1984. Citrasolve (Waterloo, ON) Multipurpose degreaser made with a natural citrus extract. Safe to use and is completely biodegradable. Dandelion Mud Pie (Toronto, ON) Retail store that offers a selection of biodegradable household products. Eco-Max (Oakville, ON) Consumer and professional ranges of cleaning solutions with 100% Botanical Actives. Enviro-Solutions Ltd. (Peterborough, ON) Environmentally and health & safety superior cleaning products that compete with conventional cleaning products on both performance and price, are safer for both the user and the workplace environment, and will clean our world without harm- ing Nature’s balance. Ha-Ra Products Canada (Langley, BC) First chemical free fibre-based cleaning system which was developed in Germany and designed to outlast and out-perform all other cleaning products. Ha-Ra is safe and easy to use and minimizes your exposure to toxic agents. Oil Lift (Richmond, BC) Organic-based cleaner and degreasing agent that breaks up oil stains. Eco-Logo certified, meets the highest environmental standards. Heaven Fresh (Toronto, ON) Air and water purifiers. The Natural Cleaners (Vancouver, BC) Offer customers a thorough cleaning system using the best technology available and our own natural, non-toxic cleaning products. Nellie’s All-Natural (North Vancouver, BC) Line of non-toxic, hypoallergenic and environmentally friendly cleaning products that reduce consumption and allow you to use only what is needed. NokOut (Midhurst, ON) Highly effective odor eliminator for anything from pet smells to skunk odors and more! NokOut is completely safe and non- toxic to people, pets and our planet. Pink Solution (North Vancouver, BC) Natural enzyme cleaner emulsifies dirt, grease and grime when mixed with water, restores finishes to their natural state. Contains no chemicals and can be inhaled, eaten and used without any gloves, with no ill effects. Sapadilla (Vancouver, BC) Nice little eco-cleaners are plant-based and biodegradable, made with naturally effective ingredients from sugar, coconut and palm oil. Rich in pure essential oils which provide natural cleansing properties and wonderful, fresh aromas. Static Eliminator (Guelph, ON) Re-Usable Dryer Sheets - Chemical Free, Hypoallergenic, Long Lasting, and Safe For The Whole Family! Winning Brands Corporation (Barrie, ON) It is the goal of Winning Brands Corporation to give you positive new choices in cleaning products that are effective and eco-responsible.