Cleaning Options

In an ideal situation, cleaning makes our homes a healthy place to live, ensuring good hygiene and an attractive house. However, we sometimes go too far in our pursuit of sterile cleanliness. The over use of cleaning products can actually make our homes unhealthy, while adding extra chemicals to waterways, spreading the problem to aquatic life.

Things to consider.

  • Regular cleaning is the most effective way to keep a house clean and green. In many cases, high-powered potentially harmful cleaners are only required because the job has been left too long and too much grime has built up to allow a more benign cleaner to do the job.
  • Many cleaning jobs can be done with simple ingredients, available at low cost from the supermarket. For example, a paste made from bicarb soda and water can effectively clean food stains and spills in the kitchen. Bicarb soda is also effective at absorbing odours (put some in the bottom of your kitchen tidy). Eucalyptus oil is very good at removing the grease on rangehoods and the residue adhesive left behind by sticky labels. See Greeniology for more green cleaning recipes.
  • Always follow the instructions and pay attention to any hazard warnings. Products that recommend that you wear gloves, a mask or protective eye wear or open windows during use do so for a reason. Such recommendations can also serve as a warning that the product contains potentially harmful ingredients, so see if you can find less harmful alternatives.
  • Consider using fibre technology cleaning cloths and mops. These products have fibres with varying textures and lengths, designed for specific cleaning tasks. They can lessen and sometimes eliminate the need for cleaning chemicals.
  • Remember that germs are part of life and some are good for us. We are healthier when our bodies have the right balance of beneficial bacteria. A little exposure to the ‘bad’ ones can also help to strengthen our immune systems. Don’t use anti-bacterial cleaning products and hand washes unless you have a specific medical reason to. These products are part of our overuse of antibacterial agents, which is leading to growth of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Anti-bacterial agents kill the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ germs indiscriminately. Obsessively trying to kill germs in your house can actually make it a less healthy place to live. Good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands after using the toilet, blowing your nose and before eating, are the first line of defence against illness.