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.


Erinn Morgan


After a 10-year career as an award-winning New York City-based editor launching and redesigning urban, style-driven magazines, Erinn Morgan left downtown Manhattan after September 11th, 2001, in search of a less encumbered, freelance lifestyle. A two-year-long trek around the country eventually landed her in Durango, Colo., which she now calls home.

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Bike, Skiing, Delicious Living, American Cowboy, and on away.com.

Erinn is also the author of the eco-focused book, Picture Yourself Going Green, Step-by-Step Instruction for Living a Budget-Conscious, Earth-Friendly Lifestyle in Eight Weeks or Less.

She was previously the editor-in-chief of 20/20 magazine, a special projects editor at Playboy (overseeing the launch of a new, custom magazine), and the founding editor/editor-in-chief of SoHo Style, a much-lauded, avant-garde magazine that covered the culture and style of downtown New York and its reach around the world.

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