The cleaning industry is enormous, consuming billions of pounds of cleaning, chemicals and janitorial paper annually. This has a tremendous impact on our air, water, soil, and other resources. Hundreds of millions of pounds of equipment are dumped into landfills every year. That’s why, through our Green Cleaning program, EcoClean of the Carolinas is committed to help preserve our natural resources for future generations.
Our “EcoClean Green” program incorporates certified products and equipment into the cleaning process, but is distinguished by the training and service support you would expect from a leader in green cleaning. We are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality, environmentally responsible service solutions.
Examples of EcoClean's Green Commercial Processes are:
- The greenest, high performance chemicals available are used.
- Office trash is emptied into thick, reusable trash bags.
- Vacuums have HEPA filtration systems to remove contaminants (dust, soil, micro-organisms, and other pollutants) from the environment.
- Aerosols are not used except where no other satisfactory substitute is available.
- Auto-scrubbers use foam technology, lessening the use of chemicals.
- Carpets receive a final clean water rinse after cleaning.
- Re-usable micro-fiber cloths are used for dusting rather than throw away cloths.
- On occasion acids are used to remove tough rust stains, only with the owners’ prior permission.
- The use of entrance door mats is encouraged to limit bringing excess dirt and germs into the facility.
- Vacuums replace dust mops where feasible.
- Light water based products are used with the exception of restroom disinfectants, which are used to kill infectious organisms, harmful bacteria and germs. This assures that no contaminants are introduced into the atmosphere of the customers facility through use of chemicals.
THE BENEFITS OF USING THE "EcoCLEAN GREEN" CLEANING PROCESS
It is our responsibility to pass on to the next generation a planet that is safe and in balance. We must reduce the enormous amount of natural resources we waste. We must do all we can not to harm the environmental balance of the earth. A simple, but significant step begins when we use chemicals and processes that are respectful of our earth.
There are immediate benefits of applying EcoClean’s Green Cleaning Process:
- Environmentally friendly cleaning creates healthier surroundings.
- Green cleaning helps improve indoor air quality and reduce health problems that traditional products and processes may contribute to. Building occupants experience fewer incidences of irritations or sensitivities to the indoor environment and have reported fewer breathing problems.
- Healthier environments increase productivity.
- Healthier employees mean happier employees. Statistics show increased worker satisfaction, improved morale, reduced absenteeism and increased productivity and efficiency can occur when a facility is maintained using green cleaning processes and chemicals.
- Employees and customers appreciate knowing that green practices are used in the building they occupy. A green cleaning program helps you market your business as a socially conscious one.
- Green programs help the earth. Implementing a green program can reduce the negative effect your cleaning operations have on the environment. Using environmentally friendly equipment and products in the right manner helps decrease air pollution, water pollution, ozone depletion and global climate change. Green practices also promote recycling, reducing the use of raw materials and minimize toxic products requiring disposal.
Home Green Cleaning Tips
- Employ green cleaning products
As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market and competing for that coveted place of honor under your sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). But if designer labels aren’t for you, home-mixed cleaners can get the job done and then some. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything. Mix in a little warm water with either of these and you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner.
- Avoid poor indoor air quality
It is not uncommon for the air inside a home or office to be more toxic than the air outside. This is because of the presence of toxic materials and substances and the fact that homes and buildings are better insulated than ever before (which is a good thing from an energy standpoint). Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out. This is especially important when cleaning your home.
- Be careful with antibacterial cleaners
The antibacterial and antimicrobial ‘cleaners’ that many people think are necessary, especially during cold season, don’t clean hands better than soap and water, and also add to the risk of breeding “super germs,” bacteria that survive the chemical onslaught and have resistant offspring. The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should be avoided.
- Help your home smell baking soda-licious
Baking soda not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it’s also a great odor-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little baking soda to soak up some of those odors and then vacuum it up.
- Clean your indoor air naturally
Skip the store-bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or any other herbs you have a fondness for. Fresh chocolate chip cookies also have been known to create a friendly aroma. Also, plants may not make your house smell different but are good for filtering interior air–pretty much any broad green leaf plant will do. Peace Lilies are a favorite choice.
- Toss toxic cleaners carefully
When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics & electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you.
- Avoid Conventional Dry Cleaners
Conventional dry cleaners are the largest users of the industrial solvent called Perchloroethylene, or perc, which is toxic to humans and also creates smog. The two most common green dry cleaning methods are carbon dioxide cleaning and Green Earth. Seek out cleaners that use green methods. If you do take clothes to conventional cleaners, be sure to air them outside before wearing them or putting them in the closet.
- Employ a “green” residential cleaning service
For people who don’t have the time to clean their own homes, a green home cleaning service such as EcoClean of Carolinas can be more valuable than people realize. Much of the population suffers from allergies, eczema, asthma and the like, and may not even realize that these conditions could well be linked with the types of household cleaners and detergents they are exposing themselves to. By using a green cleaning service you will be also be keeping microscopic dust mite at bay, another contribution to poor health conditions.
- Leave the toxins at the door
Imagine what’s on your shoes at the end of the day. Bringing that oil, antifreeze, animal waste, particulate pollution, pollen, and who knows what else into the house is not good news, especially for kids and other critters that spend time on floor level. Keep the sidewalk out of your home with a good doormat or a shoeless house policy. Many green buildings now include entryway track-off systems as a means of maintaining a healthy interior environment. Less dirt also means less sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming, which means less work, water, energy, and fewer chemicals.
- Design with clean in mind
Designing houses and other building with cleanability in mind can create spaces that are cleaner, healthier, and require fewer substances to maintain. In larger buildings, good cleanability can also be a big money-saver as cleaning costs can often add up to as much as half of a building’s total energy costs.
- Share with Those Less Fortunate
Cleaning your home can also lead to a massive decluttering of your house. Often after a big cleaning binge, you may find that you’ve accumulated a small mountain of items that you don’t need anymore. You might look into turning outdated items over to charitable programs such as the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Goodwill, or the Salvation Army. There are also organizations that will take your old electronics (such as computers and cell phones), your printer cartridges, your eyeglasses, and even your sneakers and distribute them to others who need them. A simple Internet search will offer many options to help you get rid of some of these items in your home.
- Reduce Your Space
It may sound overly simplistic, but one way to save time and energy on cleaning — not to mention energy resources — is to live in a smaller home. If you’re in the market for a new home, carefully consider how much space you require. Too many of us are occupying more space than we really need.
KEEPING YOUR HOME TOXIN FREE
Keeping your living space presentable and sanitary can sometimes feel like a daunting task — it seems as if there are always more cleaning projects than time in the day. ¬But don’t despair! The Fantastic Four cleaners — vinegar, salt, lemon juice, and baking soda — can make your household tasks less complicated and easier on you and the environment. ¬ Here are a few tips to clean your home the all-natural way.
Glass and Mirrors
The windows in your home can be effectively cleaned with 4 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with a half gallon of water. Other effective cleaners for glass and mirrors are rubbing alcohol and witch hazel.
Another tip that old-fashioned household hint books often mention is that you can wipe windows clean with newspapers. While this may sound like a totally green idea — after all, you’d be reusing newspapers and saving on paper towels — the reality is that doing so is a messy and generally a waste of time. Try using a clean, lint-free cloth instead, perhaps an old cotton T-shirt or cloth diaper.
Dipping a cloth in straight lemon juice and rubbing it onto the stained area can remove stains on vinyl items such as recliners or tile flooring.
Furniture polish remains high on our list of the Terrible Ten (including drain cleaners, over cleaners, toilet cleaners, spot removers, silver and other metal polishes, powered cleaners, window cleaners, bleach, liquid cleaners) because polish is usually made of petroleum distillates and solvents, both which are hazardous and poisonous.
Mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice and apply it to your furniture using a soft cloth. The combination gives your wood furniture a nice smell and a sparkling shine.
When a hot serving dish or glass of water has marred the surface of a wood table, you can quickly get rid of the mark by making a thin paste of salad oil or lemon oil and salt. Wipe the paste on, then lightly buff the area as you wipe it off with a soft cloth.
Whenever you have an indoor painting project, you can help control the smell of the paint by keeping small dishes of vinegar scattered about in the room. The vinegar will absorb the paint odor while you work. Leave the dishes out for a few days after finishing the project to keep the paint smell at bay. Remember to change the vinegar each day.
Metal polishes, such as those for brass, copper, stainless steel, and chrome, are also on our Terrible Ten list — and for good reason. Most metal polishes contain ammonia and usually at least one type of acid, among other undisclosed ingredients. This is another area where it’s a good idea to try greener methods first before plunging into the use of harsh commercial products.
Do you have tarnished copper or brass antiques? Give them loads of shine without doing any damage by bringing in salt and vinegar and adding one more ingredient from your kitchen cupboard: flour. Make a paste using equal parts of the three ingredients; rub the paste onto the brass or copper item with a soft cloth. Cover the entire surface and let the whole thing dry out (this will take about an hour). Wipe off the dried paste with a clean, soft cloth.
Lemon can also be used for lightly tarnished brass or copper pieces. Slice one lemon and dip it in salt, then rub the item with the salted lemon. Afterward, rinse and dry thoroughly.
Another tip for lightly tarnished copper is to use a spray bottle filled with undiluted vinegar. Just spray the copper piece and sprinkle the tarnished area with salt. Wipe thoroughly with a sponge or cotton cloth; be sure to remove all the salt, or the item will turn green. Repeat if necessary.
Because it is a soft metal and can be easily damaged, pewter must be given special care. To give your pewter items a refreshed glow, try this homemade, all-green cleaner:
Mix 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup vinegar. Add enough flour to the mixture to make a paste. Apply the paste using a soft cloth and allow it to dry for half an hour. Rinse the piece thoroughly with warm water and polish with another soft cloth. Make sure all the paste is removed from any grooves or hidden areas.
If your wood-burning fireplace has gathered soot and smoke smudges around its exterior, you can spruce it up by applying a paste of cream of tartar and water. Rub the paste into the stains, let it dry, then scrub it off.
If it’s the inside of your fireplace and chimney you’re worried about, you can help loosen soot buildup by tossing an occasional handful of salt into the fire the next time you’re enjoying your fireplace. The burning salt will help loosen the soot a little, buying you some time between major cleanings.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Your basic vinegar and water solution is really the perfect choice for cleaning most types of bare floors in your home. Mix 1 cup vinegar with 1 gallon warm water (be sure it’s warm!) and mop it onto a ceramic tile, linoleum, vinyl, or wood floor. There is no need to rinse afterward — saving both time and water. If your vinyl or linoleum floor looks a little dull after cleaning, you can give it a shine by mopping it over again with straight club soda. Try not to saturate wood floors with the vinegar and water solution. Use a light touch; the mixture will make your floor shiny and remove any greasy buildup.
Green Up your HVAC System
The EPA recommends that a professional heating and cooling contractor inspect your home’s air ducts and heating and cooling systems annually. If the contractor sees signs of mold, dust, dirt, and other contaminants, or if he notices a musty odor in the ductwork, having your ducts and systems professionally cleaned will be recommended.
Notes provided by Treehugger and the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.