Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Green" Clean

Lately I've been thinking a lot about getting rid of all the chemicals in my house. I have this book called The Natural Formula Book for Home and Yard (by Dan Wallace) and I've been looking through it to see if I can find something interesting to try, like homemade laundry detergent or whatever. But every homemade home cleaning solution in this book, it seems, includes bleach. So I figured, ok, I guess bleach is "healthier" than I thought. I guess I'll just buy bleach and make my own 409 with fewer chemicals.

So I got one of those little sprayer bottles at the drugstore for like sixty-nine cents, added about an inch of bleach, and filled the rest with water. I sprayed that in my shower and Reader, I have to tell you: it cleaned itself! I didn't even have to scrub the mildew. That's my kind of cleanin'! And someone told me something about bleach breaking down in water so it's pretty low-impact...I'll have to look that up.

So I had just figured all that out when I read an interesting article in the New York Times the other day. It's about how major chemical companies finally realized the market potential for "greener" products. A little late, people. Come on.

Update: Apparently chlorine bleach is the kind of bleach used for cleaning, and its components can create organochlorines, which are suspected carcinogens, et al. I really need to do more research into this. I did find this interesting article about this question, and on this page, the section called "The Chlorine Issue" offers a helpful synopsis.

I figure I'm pretty green, house-wise:
1) I mostly rely on Simple Green to clean and own no commercial cleaning products;
2) I use eco-friendly dish soap;
3) I am very conservative with water;
4) I hardly use any paper towels, and then I put them in my compost heap; and
5) I have the smallest trash can available (20 gallons) and most weeks I don't even fill it halfway.

I guess the only two things I'd really like to change are my laundry detergent (I haven't really figured out which is the most sustainable, so I'm just using the usual), and the fact that I don't know how to get rid of mildew without non-chlorine bleach. I guess I am doing ok.


Katie said...

This is so good to know. As a bit of a germophobe, I <3 bleach, but always worried it was slowly killing my brain cells along with mold and mildew in the shower. Now, I can sleep at night. Thanks Sara! ;-)

sarah said...

I'm not an expert, so I definitely advocate doing your research on this!

But I'm trying to keep things simple in my life, so for me, for now, bleach works--and I think it's better than a bunch of expensive mixed chemicals I know nothing about.

EG said...

Check it out, dude: Soap nuts!

We used soap nuts last year- and reused them and they worked great! Their energy trail is kinda far, what with being from India or Africa or something, but in terms of a natural product- you can't do any better, imo.