How Green Is Your Clean?

May 4, 2009

Let's talk about personal hygiene a little here.  Are you cleaning your house at the expense of the environment?  You know you can actually introduce more toxins in while you're trying to rid your house of dirt and germs, but there doesn't have to be a trade off.   You can have a clean house and greenify at the same time.

These days, there are a myriad of products advertising their green cleaning abilities.  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.  In fact, distilled white vinegar or baking soda (not necessarily used together) can clean almost anything.  The stringent, grease-cutting of the vinegar or the neutral (but abrasive) power of the baking soda work to fight most household messes.  Mix a little warm water with either (or use that vinegar by itself for the toughest greasiest problems) and you'll have a good all-purpose cleaning agent.

These types of cleaners are especially important in cleaning your fridge.  You want to clean the plastic insulation seals on your refrigerator doors on a fairly regular basis in order to prolong their life and to make sure that they function optimally.  Cleaning them with vinegar insures that any oily food residue is thoroughly removed.  And using plain white vinegar insures that you're not introducing any toxins into the refrigerator where your food is being kept.  Wiping down the rest of the refrigerator's interior with a baking soda solution helps remove any stuck on bits of food and at the same time has a deodorizing effect on the fridge. 

Other non-toxic ingredients you can use to clean your home include glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, vegetable-oil-based soap sometimes referred to as castile soap (Castile soap is found in most health food stores. Dr. Bronner's is a popular brand.) and small amounts of Borax.  

There are a myriad of recipes and ways to use these ingredients found online.  The key thing needed is a commitment that you want to clean your home in a way that is safe for you and the environment. 


Eat Your Vegetables - After You Grow Them!

May 1, 2009

Can we talk about vegetables today?  Many of us are putting in gardens this year.  We may or may not have grown our own vegetables and fruits in the past, but this year, by golly, is the year that Mrs. Obama said the President will be out with his basket and spade, and so we are determined to green up our back and side yards, add some herbs on a window ledge, or maybe even just do some jars of sprouts for salads. 
 
But what happens when you go out to check those little sprouts and see dark little crawly things hanging all over the tender leaves that you worked so hard to bring out of the ground?  You're going to eat these things, so you don't want to use something chemical-y, right?  But how green are those pesticides they sell for home garden use?
 
Most insecticides, both synthetic and natural, interfere with insects' nerve transmissions. DDT, lindane and Ortho cause insect neurons to fire randomly, causing spasms and death.  Sounds tasty, doesn't it?  Well, not really.

They're less harmful to mammals, but in the environment they break down into toxic chemicals that can last for decades, move into ground water, and poison all sorts of animals.

But having never grown chives that did not suffer the ravages of bugs that sucked the lifeblood out of them, leaving them yellow and dead, I personally am neither sympathetic to insects nor desirous of consuming nerve poisons, even in minute amounts.

Many of the newer green pesticides have a unique mode of action that targets insects to block a key neurotransmitter receptor site.

"The neurotransmitter in insects is called octopamine; it is basically the insects' version of adrenaline," explains Gary Stamer of Chemtec Pest Control, based in Saddle Brook, N.J. "The botanicals block the octopamine, resulting in a shutdown of the insect's nervous system. Since only insects have this receptor, there is no harm to mammals, birds or fish."

But how can consumers be certain how green their "natural" pesticide is? Check with the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, which awards its Green Shield Certification (GSC) to services that use non-chemical approaches to pest control, and use approved pesticides only when necessary.

You can grow a garden, Greenify just a little and enjoy your own vegetables safely this summer, without poisoning yourself or the environment around you. 


Green Business Alliance - Home Greenify For Better Business - Greenify Now