Sunday, April 27, 2008

Greening and cleaning

Tis the season for spring cleaning!

I've noticed a wave of new "green" cleaning products hitting the shelves and TV marketing commercials lately... but did you know that you can easily mix your own on the cheap using simple ingredients from your kitchen?

Here is a list I'm compiling based on my own research, anecdotal and experimental: green cleaning tips. Feel free to contribute any that you've found to be successful too! I'm sure I haven't seen them all yet.

On the topic of mixing your own household chemicals, NEVER mix ammonia and bleach. I don’t know why this isn’t explained in large writing on every product that contains either ingredient, but the combination of ammonia (NH3) and chlorine bleach (OCl) produces toxic chlorine gas that can kill you.

NH3 + OCl(-) ------> NH2Cl + OH(-)
NH2Cl + OCl(-) ------> NHCl2 + OH(-)
NHCl2 + OCl(-) ------> NCl3 + OH(-)

All you budding chemists out there can study the chemical reaction equations at the “Ask A Scientist” webpage. I haven’t balanced a chemical equation since college and see no reason to put myself through that again!

I bought a book called Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan that included some good, simple recipes for earth-friendly cleaning solutions that you can make from common household substances. However, I wouldn’t recommend buying the book because there are so many recipes like this available free on the internet. Check out these websites for starters: Frugal Living page about baking soda. Vinegar has an extensive page too.

Cheapskate Monthly browse tips for cleaning, etc.

While I'm plugging Cheapskate Monthly again, here are some tips from readers that I've been collecting from the email newsletter. Ideas range from creative re-use of household items to thrifty cleaning and pest prevention.

For those of you with extra cash, there are green housecleaning services out there! Green Clean USA is one that serves the Baltimore/Washington DC area. Read an article about them from the Washington Post here.

No comments: