Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time

Week # 34 – Clean Sweep, or Greenwashed?

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I don’t know why, but I’ve always been a “fall cleaning” kind of girl rather than “spring cleaning’. So the last month or so I have been cleaning out closets, cupboards and reorganizing the basement. (This is part of a larger project – if my husband and I can ever agree on the layout!).

I’ve also decided to get rid of a lot of my cleaning products and switch to just vinegar and water and/or baking soda for most jobs.

I’ve always used furniture polish for dusting wood (and we have a lot of it in our 50+ year old house). This weekend I picked up some microfiber cloths to do my dusting – apparently water is all you need, and they are machine washable. So no more furniture polish for me.

A friend of mine sells Norwex products and she absolutely raves about them, so I might give those a try as well.

I thought I’d be hanging on to a few “green” products for messier jobs, like the oven and bathtub. I’ve been testing PC Green All Purpose Cleaner, which claims to be made from 97% renewable resources and readily biodegradable. I can’t test these claims, but I can confirm that, true to its label, it does not have “harsh chemical fumes”, and it definitely doesn’t have any dye or fragrance.

Every few weeks I find I need to use something stronger to remove buildup on the bathtub, oven and dishwasher, but I wish I had read the label more carefully prior to purchasing. For you see, there actually is no ingredient list, except for one item – C-12-14 polyethylene glycolic ether – with a warning to call poison control if swallowed, which can’t be a good thing.

When I Googled this chemical, I learned that it is commonly used in cleaning products, as well as shampoos and other personal care products. But it can also be toxic if ingested, and can have traces of a carcinogen, as well as reproductive effects. It is also toxic to some aquatic life.

Despite these issues, the EPA considers it one of the safer cleaning chemicals. A cousin to this chemical, polyethylene glycol, is used in laxatives and personal lubricants. Lovely.

Even so, I hate to be putting more stuff down the drain and into our water supply and to do who knows what, in addition to the pharmaceuticals that are already finding their way there.

But what can I use instead? A number of books and articles I read recommend castille soap. Add that to this week’s grocery list.

On the note of cleaning and aquatic life, this past weekend my daughter and I did a trash pick up around a local pond as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. (I’m cheating a little bit adding this to my list, because I do it every year).

It’s not too late to register – just visit Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup!

Further Reading

Green Cleaning Products

Drugs in our Drinking water


Week # 1 – Environmentally Friendly Shower Gel


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