People we Love: The Green Cleaning Coach
We love Leslie Reichert and her green cleaning ways. After countless years of running her own cleaning business—and seeing the health effects caused by the chemicals present in conventional cleaning products—she found a new passion for spreading the word about green cleaning. Today, she speaks nationally on green cleaning and green housekeeping, hosts her own radio show, Clean Green Talk, and runs The Green-Clean University, which offers programs and products for green lifestyle management.
She is also the author of the book The Joy of Green Cleaning, she writes regularly for The Daily Green, and has appeared on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Better TV, and ABC News. She has been published in Real Simple, This Old House, Fit Magazine, Shape Magazine, Woman’s Day, Woman’s World, Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, USA Today, and The Huffington Post.
Here, we check in with this green cleaning guru to learn more about why she cleans green—and get her favorite green cleaning tips and recipes.
GreenCleaningMagazine.com: How did you become passionate about green cleaning?
Leslie Reichert: I call myself a guinea pig—I owned a huge cleaning service and we cleaned 150-plus homes a week. I was the bathroom “guru.” I could clean a bathroom in 10 minutes or less. To clean the shower, I would use a very toxic fiberglass boat cleaner that worked really well to remove soap scum. In the cleaning business time is money so it didn’t matter how toxic it was. It just had to work. I would clean 10 to 12 bathrooms a day and over time I broke down my immune system. That’s when I realized that toxic chemicals weren’t worth using and I started looking for alternatives.
GCM: Why do you believe that people (and the planet) benefit from cleaning green?
Leslie: My focus is always on the individual first. I don’t want anyone to deal with things like asthma, allergies or, worse, cancer. Children should not be exposed to things like formaldehyde or chlorine in their homes, especially when simpler cleaners work just as well. And there’s no need to pollute our water system with harsh toxic chemicals. Our local water departments are not capable of filtering out all of those chemicals out of our of our drinking water.
GCM: What does your radio show cover and how did it get started?
Leslie: My radio show, Clean Green Talk, is more that just green cleaning. We talk about Clean Green Living. We talk to celebrities in the field of cleaning, like Matt Paxton from the Hoarders or Jeffrey Phillips from The Katie Show, as well as experts in their fields like Bonnie Combs from Whole Foods that just talked about Bees & Seeds on our latest show. Chemicals are affecting every aspect of our lives and our job is to let people know they can live chemical free.
GCM: What is your most-used green cleaning recipe at home?
Leslie: I love my green cleaning scrub. It takes the place of a powdered cleanser and is made from three simple ingredients—baking soda, salt, and oxygen bleach. It works great in sinks, bath tubs, and even the toilet. No more nasty acid going into our water system with this scrub!
GCM: Can you give us 3 of your favorite green cleaning tips and/or tricks?
Leslie: 1. I LOVE microfiber and I find it amazing that people still don’t realize how wonderful it is. I especially like the “blue cloth” that takes the place of glass cleaner. And it doesn’t leave streaks, smears, or lint. All with just water.
2. Bucket-less mopping. Instead of filling up a bucket with five gallons of water and dumping your cleaning product into it, I recommend my alternative called “bucket-less mopping.” You use a spray bottle instead of a bucket and spray the cleaner on the floor and use a microfiber mop to do the rest. You only use a very small amount of cleaner and only 16 ounces of water. How green it that? Here is a video that demonstrates it.
3. I also believe a great place to green your cleaning is in the laundry room. By making a simple laundry soap you can really make a difference to your family’s health. Our children are dealing with skin allergies, asthma, and fragrance issues. Try making your own laundry soap and see if you don’t see a difference. Here is a YouTube video with my great grandma’s laundry soap recipe. Making your own laundry soap is easy and frugal.