Village Green Corner
by Laura Deacon
This article is based on material that Laura prepared when she was interviewed on Premier Radio in April 2006
We all like a clean home, but we often rely on a cocktail of hazardous substances to make our bathrooms sparkle or our floors shine.
For example .
Dishwashing detergents often contain phosphates that pollute the groundwater
Wood polish generally contains flammable toxins like nitrobenzene
Laundry detergent may contain chlorine based bleach or other corrosives
We lock these products away in cupboards or under the sink to keep them away from our children - but we don't often consider what they may be doing to our own bodies or to the local environment.
Even as they help us to pick up dirt and dust, many modern cleaners irritate our eyes, skin, and lungs. Exacerbate allergies.
The air inside our homes can be 2 - 5 times more polluted than the air just outside - largely because of household cleaners and pesticides.
BUT we CAN keep our homes clean and avoid toxic cleaners.
Several companies now produce green cleaners that are 100% biodegradable and that avoid ingredients that are toxic.
Bio-D is a family firm based in Hull , and was recommended by the Ethical Consumer as the best buy for cleaning materials. They produce a whole range from . washing up liquid, toilet cleaner, polish, washing powder, to disinfectant.
Ecover produce a range of products which use plant and mineral ingredients which are all biodegradable. Available at most supermarkets, natural food stores, on-line or through catalogues.
MAKE YOUR OWN
I was chatting to some colleagues in CEL, and they said that they all made their own cleaning supplies, from materials that they already had in the home. We all recommend .
- Stocking up on simple ingredients that can be used in most cleaning situations. Soap, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax and a coarse scrubbing brush.
- Instead of using standard drain cleaner, which contains hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid, try pouring a quarter cup of baking soda down the clogged drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Close the drain until the fizzing stops, and then flush with boiling water.
- For glass cleaner use a mixture of half white vinegar and half water.
- To clean up mildew and mould, use a mixture of lemon juice or white vinegar and salt.
- A paste of baking soda, salt and hot water makes a great oven cleaner.
- Baking soda is a good carpet deodoriser.
- In the rare instance you do need to use a hazardous product, use as little as possible and dispose of it in a way that will cause minimum harm - for example by taking it to a waste recycling or treatment centre.
We all need to get used to being a bit less fussy about cleaning - after all we are losing the ability to resist bacteria because we kill them all off and don't allow our children to build up a resistance. We then produce more potent bugs because we can only kill 99% of all known bugs.
By keeping it simple and using household products we can avoid being duped into being dependent on a huge industry that is having such a detrimental effect upon our environment.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Get friends together - this could be your church house group - for an Earth-friendly spring cleaning day, and as part of this, replace your conventional cleaning products with items that are biodegradable and safe for children and pets.
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June 2006 or April 2007