Caring for your Home Environment by ldd0229


									                                    C L E A NING COMPANY LTD

            Caring for your Home Environment

                  Telephone: 01237 424 921           Email:
Unit 15 - Habat Enterprise Park – Clovelly Road Industrial Estate – Bideford – Devon – EX39 3HN
             Registered Office: Sully House – 7 Clovelly Road Industrial Estate – Bideford – Devon – EX39 3HN
       Directors: David and Phillipa Ratcliff Company Reg. No. 6404685 England & Wales VAT Reg. No. 800643565
Learning to clean from scratch—making homemade recipes—can truly work if you
take time to understand a bit about the chemistry behind how the materials work.
Here are the five ingredients that I find to be the safest, most effective, and useful
for cleaning.

Baking Soda
A commonly available mineral full of many cleaning attributes, baking soda is made
from soda ash, and is slightly alkaline (it’s pH is around 8.1; 7 is neutral). It
neutralizes acid-based odors in water, and adsorbs odors from the air. Sprinkled
on a damp sponge or cloth, baking soda can be used as a gentle non-abrasive
cleanser for kitchen counter tops, sinks, bathtubs, ovens, and fiberglass. It will
eliminate perspiration odors and even neutralize the smell of many chemicals if you
add up to a cup per load to the laundry. It is a useful air freshener, and a fine
carpet deodorizer.

Was hing Soda
A chemical neighbor of baking soda, washing soda (sodium carbonate) is much more
strongly alkaline, with a pH around 11. It releases no harmful fumes and is far
safer than a commercial solvent formula, but you should wear gloves when using it
because it is caustic. Washing soda cuts grease, cleans petroleum oil, removes wax
or lipstick, and neutralizes odors in the same way that baking soda does. Don’t use
it on fiberglass, aluminum or waxed floors—unless you intend to remove the wax.

White V inegar and Lemon J uice
White vinegar and lemon juice are acidic—they neutralize alkaline substances such
as scale from hard water. Acids dissolve gummy buildup, eat away tarnish, and
remove dirt from wood surfaces.

Liquid Soaps and D etergent Liquid
Soaps and detergents are necessary for cutting grease, and they are not the
same thing. Soap is made from fats and lye. Detergents are synthetic materials
discovered and synthesized early in this century. Unlike soap, detergents are
designed specifically so that they don’t react with hard water minerals and
cause soap scum. If you have hard water, buy a biodegradable detergent without
perfumes; if you have soft water you can use liquid soap (both are available in
health food stores).

Mold K illers and D is infectants
For a substance to be registered by the EPA as a disinfectant it must go
through extensive and expensive tests. EPA recommends simple soap to use as a
disinfectant There are many essential oils, such as lavender, clove, and tea tree
oil (an excellent natural fungicide), that are very antiseptic, as is grapefruit seed
extract, even though they aren’t registered as such. Use one teaspoon of essential
oil to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle (make sure to avoid eyes). A grapefruit seed
extract spray can be made by adding 20 drops of extract to a quart of water.

Make sure to keep all homemade formulas well-labeled, and out of the reach of

                        The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company                 page 2
Choosing environmentally friendly cleaning products -- and removing toxic ones --
goes a long way towards ensuring a home with fresh, clean air. Clean air renews
and rejuvenates; it doesn’t pollute our lives or the environment. Living in a less
toxic home, removed from neurotoxic chemicals, improves sleep and concentration,
makes babies less fussy, and gives a sense of well-being. Your household’s toxic
burden on the environment will be significantly reduced by following these steps,
and this too can bring peace of mind.

Look under your K itchen Sink
Remove toxic products
WHY: 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. Household poisonings are one of the highest threats
to the health of children.
HOW: Place products with signal words in a locked cupboard in storage for your
community’s next Household Hazardous Pickup Day (see next tip); replace all
hazardous products with safer versions in the future.
HIGHLIGHTS: No chemicals wafting into your household; safer environment for kids.

About H ous ehold H az ardous Was te D is pos al
Take toxic products to recycling centres
WHY: Hazardous materials shouldn’t be poured down the drain or thrown away in
the trash as they can cause serious pollution problems in the waste stream.
HOW: Call your local recycling center, town or city hall. Most communities have at
least one Household Hazardous Waste Pickup Day a year.
HIGHLIGHTS: There will be fewer toxic materials leaching out of landfills, burning in
incinerators, and being washed into the waste water stream.

Replace Tox ic Products
Choose non-toxic, biodegradable substitutes
WHY: Help reduce the toxic burden of manufacturing, your home, and the waste
HOW: Read “Signal Words” on labels. The signal words poison, danger,warning, or
caution, found on the label of products such as pesticides and cleaning products,
are placed there by order of the federal government and are primarily for your
production. In some cases these signal words are on the label because of the
potential impact the product can have on the environment. Poison/danger denotes a
product of most concern, one that is highly toxic, and ingesting small amounts—in
some cases a few drops—can be fatal. Warning means moderately toxic, as little as
a teaspoonful can be fatal; and caution denotes a product that is less toxic, one
in which it would be necessary to ingest between two tablespoons and two cups to
be fatal. Corrosive products can damage skin and mucous membranes, and a strong
sensitizer is a chemical that can increase allergies.
HIGHLIGHTS: Labels provide information by which you can protect yourself, your
family, and the environment.

                        The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company               page 3
Learn N on-Tox ic Cleaning Bas ics
How to use kitchen cupboard ingredients
WHY: Save money, protect your health, reduce your use of valuable resources of the
earth, avoid petroleum products and other non-renewable resources.
HOW: Learning to clean from scratch—making homemade recipes—can truly work if
you take time to understand a bit about the chemistry behind how the materials
work. Here are the five ingredients that Annie (the author of Clean & Green among
other books, and Care2’s Healthy Living channel producer) finds to be the safest,
most effective, and useful for cleaning. The Five Basics for Non-Toxic Cleaning
Make sure to keep all homemade formulas well-labeled, and out of the reach of
Note how to safely reduce four airborne allergens in the home with these simple
HIGHLIGHTS: Establish a safe, cheap and simple lifestyle.

U s e of Mops, Sponges, Rags and other Acces s ories
Use natural, reusable materials
WHY: Reduce your use of non-renewable resources; avoid products with potentially
harmful ingredients such as sponges with antibacterial ingredients; reuse old shirts
as rags and more. Use cloth rags instead of paper towels to save trees. Save
HOW: Look at your purchase of mops, paper towels, sponges, buckets, vacuums,
and more with an eye towards their durability, health and environmental impact. If
you must use paper towels buy recycled, unbleached paper.
HIGHLIGHTS: Reusable mops, rags instead of paper, safe sponges, HEPA vacuums
all work towards providing your home and environment with fresh, clean air, and
reduce your consumption of nonrenewable resources.

Learn about your Water
Is it hard or soft?
WHY: With hard water you will most likely need to clean with a detergent instead
of a soap to avoid soap scum.
HOW: Read here about when and why to choose a detergent or a soap
HIGHLIGHTS: Choosing the right product for the right job reduces time and

D is infectants ? Chlorine Bleach?
Look for alternatives
WHY: Just as antibiotics are causing drug resistance, so too are disinfectants.
Chlorine bleach can cause cancer causing chemicals to form in the waste water
stream. Here is more information about chlorine and the home.
HOW: Make a safer antibacterial spray by using these suggestions. Read here
about toxic sponges.Visit your natural food store and ask for their recommended
chlorine beach alternative. Seventh Generation and other brands offer alternatives
that work.
HIGHLIGHTS: A healthier home and healthier environment.

                        The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company               page 4
Cons erve Water
WHY: Clean water is one of our most precious and diminishing resources and we
don’t want to waste it.
HOW: Don’t run the water unless you are using it or catching it in a bucket for use;
sweep instead of wet mop when possible; put a tracking matt at the door to collect
mud and dust so you will need to wash the floor less; etc. Use common sense.
HIGHLIGHTS: Do your part to preserve the earth’s precious resources.

Clean I ndoor Air with Plants
WHY: Plants have been found to reduce indoor air pollution!
HOW: Here are the top 10 plants that clear indoor air.
HIGHLIGHTS: Plants clean the air and provide more oxygen too!

U s e your Sens es
Smell, feel, hear
WHY: If you use your nose you will know when food is rotten, when dog beds need
to be cleaned, when toxic chemicals may be leaking from old product bottles, and
more. If you use your sense of touch you will know when doorknobs are sticky, the
floor needs washing, etc. If you allow your senses to be your guide you will stay on
top of cleaning jobs that need to be attended to.
HOW: Listen to what your senses are telling you.
HIGHLIGHTS: Cleaner indoor air, alert to potential toxic exposures.

                        The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company               page 5

1: Open windows to fres hen your home
There are more toxic gases inside our homes than outside. MDF (Medium Density
Fibreboard), wallpaper and even nail varnish emit harmful gas. Make careful DIY
choices and open windows for fresh air.

2: Think about energy s av ing
Balance good insulation with good ventilation. But don’t open windows when the
heating is on.

3: Think quality pieces that will las t
Find second-hand furniture at antique sales, junk shops, car-boot sales and house
clearances. You can also borrow from a friend or relative. When you don’t want
something, pass it on. Don’t just chuck it out.

4: Banis h aeros ols
Air fresheners fill your home with a toxic soup. Avoid wasting money and open a
window instead.

5: F loor s how
Fitted carpets store up toxic chemicals in your home. So get vacuuming. As carpets
wear out replace them with smooth surface such as wood, laminate flooring or
natural linoleum.

6: Avoid all PV C products
It may be easy to wipe down, but PVC is environmentally dirty to make and can’t
be recycled.

7: As k ques tions
Sofas, carpets, computers and TVs are coated with fire-protective materials. These
brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are hormone disruptors. Ikea does not stock
items treated with BFRs.

8: Keep s tuff
Buy white goods for the kitchen (eg fridges) which have the highest energy rating
and the longest guarantees. This cuts down on the amount being sent to landfill
or incinerators.

9: Cleaning up
Clean with natural products, such as salt, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and lemon
juice. This will mean a smaller shopping bill, fewer chemicals and less packaging.

10: Avoid dry cleaning
Cancer-causing residues from dry-cleaning can be absorbed into the body. Choose
easy-care clothes with less harmful dyes. Avoid using fabric softener by drying
outside or hanging clothes near the window.

                        The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company               page 6
Remov ing Mold and Mildew
A proliferation of mold and mildew can be the hallmark of hot and humid summers.
I have a friend who has green mold growing on the shoes in her closet! A humidifier
might be the best help for her, but there are also three natural materials that can
be used as a spray to kill mold and mildew. They are all an excellent substitute for
less environmentally safe bleach.

Learn these three tricks for killing mold and mildew. One of these you most likely
already have in your kitchen cupboard.

Over the years I have found three natural ingredients that kill mold:

1. Tea tree oil (an essential oil found in most health food stores)
2. Grapefruit seed extract
3. Vinegar.

There are pros and cons of each, but all three work. Vinegar is by far the cheapest.
Tea tree oil is expensive, but it is a broad spectrum fungicide and seems to kill
all the mold families it contacts. The problem is that it has a very strong smell,
but that dissipates in a few days. Grapefruit seed extract is also expensive, but
has no smell.
Mold can be dangerous to your health, even if you aren’t allergic. Many people react
to mold by getting tired and even depressed. Try to stay on top of moisture and
mold as soon as either arises. Dry out anything that is damp, such as basements
(use a dehumidifier) and carpets. Fix leaks in plumbing and roofs. Wipe up spills.
Make sure water doesn’t escape from shower curtains. Vigilance will pay off!

Tea Tree Treasure
Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it
successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty
rug and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very
long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate
in a few days.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not
rinse. Makes about 2 cups, lasts indefinitely.

Grapefruit Seed Extract
The advantage of using grapefruit seed extract instead of tea tree oil for killing
mold is that it is odorless.

20 drops grapefruit seed extract
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not
rinse. Makes about 2 cups, lasts indefinitely.

Vinegar Spray
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled
vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without
rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

                        The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company                 page 7
Green cleaning is a term that has been coined to describe a trend away
from chemically-reactive and toxic cleaning products which contain various
toxic chemicals some of which emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) causing
respiratory and dermatological problems among other adverse effects. Green
cleaning can also describe the way residential and industrial cleaning products
are manufactured, packaged and distributed. If the manufacturing process is
environmentally-friendly and the products are biodegradable, then the term ‘green’
or eco-friendly may apply.

Standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit
human and environmental exposure to toxic chemicals but do not entirely eliminate
them in general. Reading the small print on labels is the only way to verify the
components of a product but manufacturing, packaging and distribution may all
contribute to environmental degradation.

Green cleaning companies are held to higher standards in general than federal or
state-mandated ‘green’ cleaning rules. The purpose of ‘going green’ is to address
human illnesses that arise from exposure as well as damage to the environment
(water, soil, air) from disposal of these products. The role chemical exposure has
in creating allergic sensitivities, reducing immunity, and contributing to cancer and
other diseases, is a long-respected field of research in medicine. For example,
research on human and animal exposure to formaldehyde (formalin), benzene and
other solvents has resulted in legislation to limit exposure but has not completely
banned these products.

Chemicals used
Harmful chemicals are prevalent not only in cleaning products but also in
foods, cosmetics, home construction, clothing and many industries. Among the
more common toxic ingredients are phosphates, chlorine bleach, napthas and
mineral spirits, phthalates found in furniture polish, ether-type solvents, methylene
chloride, butyl cellosolve and petroleum distillates found in oven cleaner, sulfuric
acid and sodium hydroxide in drain cleaners, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) found
in detergents and disinfectants are suspected hormone disruptors, ammonia which
is poisonous when swallowed is extremely irritating to respiratory passages when
inhaled and can burn the skin on contact, indiscriminate use of antibacterial
cleansers containing triclosan may be contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant
germs, butyl cellosolve ethylene glycol monobutyl ether is poisonous when
swallowed and a lung-tissue irritant, chlorine bleach sodium hypochlorite can
irritate the lungs and eyes and in waterways can become toxic organochlorines,
diethanolamine DEA can combine with nitrosomes to produce carcinogenic
nitrosamines that penetrate skin, fragrances may contain phthalates, chemicals
linked to reproductive abnormalities and liver cancer in lab animals and to asthma
in children, phosphates, water softeners for detergents, contribute to algae blooms
which can kill off fish populations, sodium hydroxide, found in drain, metal and
oven cleaners, extremely irritating to eyes, nose and throat and can burn tissues
on contact, sodium lauryl sulfate, a common sudsing agent, can penetrate the skin
and cause contact dermatitis.

Green cleaning, in a commercial/industrial setting, can mean a holistic approach
to facility cleaning and maintenance that can provide health benefits, improved
productivity, reduced liability, cost savings and improved community relations.
Typically, green cleaning means products and processes that are not only as
effective at cleaning as traditional products, but that are also more cost effective
when evaluated over the length of the maintenance cycle. Recent advancements in

                        The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company                 page 8
chemical technology have made it possible to develop cleaning products that are as
effective as traditional products, but that do not contain harsh ingredients.

Some of the benefits of a well-designed green cleaning program can include:
• Improved productivity and morale of building occupants
• Improved health of the cleaning staff and building occupants, helping to reducing
sick days
• Recognition in the community for reducing resource usage and pollution
• Reduce liability from worker safety issues
• Earn points towards LEED certification from US Green Building Council
• Satisfaction from helping to make the facility and community a better place

A proper green cleaning program should consist of procedures that maximize
cleaning results while protecting cleaning workers and facility occupants. Proper
training of cleaning staff is also critical to a successful program. Finally, products
that have a more environmentally-friendly profile compared to traditional products
are necessary. Green products are now available in a number of product areas.

Cleaning chemicals
These products should be greatly concentrated to reduce the packaging used.
Products that work with a commercial “dilution control system” help reduce waste
and reduce chemical contact for improved worker safety. The formulation of the
products can be certified by several different independent organizations such as
Green Seal, the EcoLogo program or the US EPA’s Designed for the Environment

Paper Towels and Bath Tissue
Paper products should be made with a significant portion of recycled content and
produced in a way that meets strict environmental standards. Products should be
processed without chlorine and not contain any added pigments, inks, dyes or
fragrances. Green Seal and others have established guidelines for paper products.

Hand soaps
Hand soaps should use environmentally responsible packaging and formulas with
biodegradable ingredients. Green Seal also has guidelines for soap products.

Entranceway matting
Proper matting is a critical component of a successful green program. Entryway
mats are designed to remove dirt and moisture from shoes – keeping it out of the
building in the first place. Mats should be a minimum of 3 to 4 stride lengths,
approximately 12 to 15 feet, for maximum effectiveness at capturing soil before it
enters the building.

Microfiber mops and cloths
Compared to traditional mops, microfiber has a number of green cleaning
advantages; microfiber material uses less cleaning chemicals and water, microfiber
pads can be changed frequently to reduce cross-contamination and, when used dry,
they do a better job of capturing dust that otherwise can affect the health of
building occupants.

To maximize the effectiveness of a green cleaning program, equipment should meet
the following criteria:

Burnishers with active vacuum attachments to capture dust
Extraction equipment that maximizes moisture removal and allows carpet to dry in

                        The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company                  page 9
24 hours or less
Scrubbers that reduce water consumption
Vacuums that meet the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label indoor air quality
program requirements for soil extraction and dust containment.

Automatic faucets, flush values and soap dispensers
Touch-free faucets significantly reduce water consumption as well as eliminating
a major source of cross-contamination. Automatic flush values improve restroom
hygiene and appearance, and touch-free soap dispensers help control usage.

                       The Bright and Friendly Cleaning Company              page 10

To top