4 Green Cleaning Secrets
Linda Mason Hunter has a few tricks up her sleeve. The author of Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home, Hunter is also a green consultant speaker, co-founder of GreenHome.com, and the daily host of “The Green Zone” radio program on Des Moines’ award-winning, low-power KFMG 99.1 FM. Her newest book is an eco-focused children’s tome, Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale.
A pioneering green advocate, Hunter is an expert in cleaning green. Here, she shares her four favorite—and lesser-known—green cleaning tips and tricks.
Tip #1: By far, the most important thing is to learn how to read a label. You learn a lot about the difference between synthetic commercial cleaners and plant-based products by learning the ingredients and what they do to human health. How can you know a product had green cred? Look for labels that say the following: “Botanically based,” “Hypoallergenic,” “Free of Petroleum,” “Non-flammable,” “Formulated Without Dye or Chemical Fragrance,” “Free of Phosphates, Nitrates, Chlorine, Ammonia, Acids, or Solvents.”
Tip #2: My favorite cleaning recipe—for soft scrub: To ½ cup baking soda add enough vegetable-based soap (like Castile) to make a creamy mixture. Use a sponge to apply and clean. Rinse the surface well. Use and discard. Will not redden hands as commercial soft scrubs do.
Tip #3: Before buying cleaning products, check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaning. U.S. law allows manufacturers of cleaning products to use almost any ingredient they wish, including known carcinogens and substances that can harm fetal and infant development. And the government doesn’t review the safety of products before they’re sold. To fill those gaps, EWG’s staff scientists have reviewed what’s in products and created EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, which provides you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings for a wide range of cleaners and ingredients.
Tip #4: My second-favorite recipe—for hardwood floor cleaner: This is how I clean the hardwood floors in my house and it leaves the floors clean and sparkling. Add ¼ cup distilled white vinegar to one gallon of warm water. Mix in a pail and mop. Rinse with water. Don’t leave large pools to water to dry. I never wax my floors.