By Reference Librarian Eunice B.
Now that spring is in the air, the time-honored tradition of spring cleaning is upon us. How about making some changes this year and incorporating “green” or “safe” cleaning tips into your routine? You might be surprised at the versatility of common ingredients you probably already have on hand, such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, baking soda and shortening. They can help you save money, save your health, maybe even save some time.
CADL has a number of books on the topic of making the conversion from commercial cleaning products that can be toxic and polluting to effective substitutes you can prepare yourself. These include the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Cleaning by Mary Findley, Easy Green Living by Renée Loux, and Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck.
Search the online catalog for these titles at cadl.org, or type in keywords like “house cleaning”, “green cleaning,” and “natural products” to see others.
Many websites offer home cleaning tips and recipes. A few sites to try:
Ecocycle offers information on everything from general cleaning to spot removers. For example, to remove ink from clothing, soak it in milk or treat it with hydrogen peroxide. For a coffee stain, mix egg yolk with lukewarm water and rub it on the stain. At ecocycle.com, click on Hazardous Waste in the left side menu, then choose Alternative Cleaners and Recipes.
Ecology Center provides information on a wide range of topics including alternative cleaning recipes. Based in Berkeley California, the center offers fact sheets on many health and green living topics. At ecologycenter.com, click on Fact Sheets in the left column, then scroll down to Human Health and the Environment and choose Alternative Cleaning Recipes.
To get you started, here are some easy cleaning tricks from Clean Home, Green Home by Kim Delaney.
• For an inexpensive and effective carpet deodorizer, liberally sprinkle baking soda on the carpet or rug, leave overnight, and vacuum up the next day.
•Need some new dust cloths? Cut up t-shirts for rags or use old socks (a good use for those washing machine “orphans”).
•Polish silver jewelry or utensils with basic white toothpaste. Don’t use gels or toothpaste with baking soda or fluoride! Apply to the tarnished piece with your finger, an old toothbrush, or a soft rag. Rinse and dry with a towel.
•Choose houseplants that “clean” the air at the same time they’re complementing your décor. Aloe vera, peace lily, philodendrons, dwarf date palm, Boston fern, ficus, florist’s mums, gerbera daisy, dracaenas, and English ivy can all absorb many of the chemicals from common household products.
The Capital Area District Library Reference Department is located at 401 S. Capitol Avenue in Lansing, MI. Contact them at 517-367-6346 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column was printed in the April 24, 2011 - May 7, 2011 edition.