Spring Cleaning

March 8th, 2009

Spring is in the air, and with Spring comes Spring Cleaning for many of us. But in the rush to clean, you may inadvertently be doing more bad than good.

Most of the cleaning products we grew up with are full of trace amounts of chemicals that have been linked to health problems ranging from asthma to cancer, according to environmental watchdog groups like the Environmental Working Group.

So what can you do?

Here are three tips:

1. Go natural. Look for “green” cleaners, but be sure to read the labels. Unfortunately the terms “green,” “eco” and “eco-friendly” are unregulated and can mean anything from truly natural with no synthetic ingredients, to a mish-mash of chemicals with some natural essences thrown in for good measure. If you’re not sure what an ingredient means, go to the EWG’s Chemical Index here.
2. Avoid anti-bacterial products. These products are linked by health officials to the rise in microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics. This is not new news. Read this Center for Disease Control alert from 2001. It says in part that antibacterial ingredients “are now being added to products used in healthy households, even though an added health benefit has not been demonstrated. Scientists are concerned that the antibacterial agents will select bacteria resistant to them and cross-resistant to antibiotics. Moreover, if they alter a person’s microflora, they may negatively affect the normal maturation of the T helper cell response of the immune system to commensal flora antigens; this change could lead to a greater chance of allergies in children. As with antibiotics, prudent use of these products is urged. Their designated purpose is to protect vulnerable patients.”
3. Consider going “back to the future.” Simple basics like baking soda, castile soap, vinegar, and lemon can do the bulk of the cleaning in your home. “Recipes” for these conoctions are available here.

And be sure to check out the other suggestions from The Green Moms Carnival, which will appear at Tiny Choices on Tuesday.

How do you clean? Leave a comment and share!

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009

13 Responses to “Spring Cleaning”

  1. Mindful Momma on March 8, 2009 10:33 am

    Great tips Lynn – especially the one about going back to the days of vinegar and baking soda. Why did we ever stop? But when you do buy products from the store, look for the companies that are brave enough to list all the ingredients on the label. They don’t have to – but those that do have nothing to hide!

    Yes, totally agree with you – good point that they don’t have to list the ingredients – that’s incredible in and of itself, isn’t it? — Lynn

  2. Vickie on March 8, 2009 6:21 pm

    I went green as to cleaning about a year ago. Since then my daughter’s and my allergies have been reduced to very mild to non-existent; my daughter had only one bout with the cold this year, none for me. I use mostly my Monster steam cleaner with an occasional use of vinegar and water or baking soda for when I think surfaces need something additional. I have purchased many indoor plants to clean the air. I really believe that the elimination of harsh chemicals has been the key to improving our health. Plus, I am saving tons of money by not buying so many commercial cleaners as in the past.

    This is an incredible story, Vickie. Thanks so much for sharing it here on OrganicMania! — Lynn

  3. Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama on March 8, 2009 6:45 pm

    Greening your cleaning will help you save money too. Vinegar, baking soda, salt, water, liquid castile soap, and lemons are all you really need to clean most surfaces, and they are a lot cheaper than several conventional cleaners. My favorite is baking soda and castile soap to make a soft scrub.

    I think I’m going to have to give “Jennifer’s Soft Scrub” a try! Thanks! – Lynn

  4. Bsab on March 9, 2009 1:46 am

    This blog post really help me a lot of ideas. I really appreciate using those product that are environmental friendly.

    Good! Glad you got some ideas from this! — Lynn

  5. Val Brice on March 9, 2009 7:46 am

    Found you thru twitter which I just joined a week or so ago. Very interesting site and blogroll.

  6. Anna (Green Talk) on March 9, 2009 5:27 pm

    Lynn, I agree with Jennifer that cleaning green could actually save you some green. I actually use lemon to take the ring out of my stainless steel pots!

  7. Green Mom’s Carnival: Green Spring Cleaning | Tiny Choices on March 10, 2009 4:01 am

    […] Your Spring Cleaning and Detox Your Home | Green & Clean Mom on March: Green Moms CarnivalOrganic and Green Mom Blog | Spring Cleaning at Organic Mania on March: Green Moms CarnivalJenn on CSA DilemnaVeggie iPhone App | Tiny Choices on Tiny Choices […]

  8. Spring fever; spring cleaning « Bethesda Green on March 11, 2009 6:02 am

    […] Home theme month for Bethesda Green, which gives me the opportunity to highlight and recommend a recent Organicmania posting on the topic.  Lynn Miller offers various tips, including one of my favorites to use basic, […]

  9. mother earth aka karen hanrahan on March 14, 2009 4:23 pm

    gosh, it would be a very interesting tally to see how cleaning green for 13 years and how much money I saved

    Oooo…unless you put all that money in a bank account, I’d probably hate to even know! :) — Lynn

  10. Mary Hunt on March 21, 2009 9:35 pm

    The State of California is coming out strong against toxic cleaners in our schools and public buildings. The Green Seal label is one that they trust.

    So amazing to hear this, Mary. Here you MUST clean with Clorox – by law. It’s ridiculous. Once again, California leads the way for the rest of the country ! — Lynn

  11. Alicia on April 1, 2009 7:08 am


    Great to meet you at the CSA a couple weeks ago. I am shopping for a water filter and considering the espring Quixtar. It has ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and was wondering what folks know about the health effects of that. Also, any other ideas for good water filters? Checked consumer report but the info is pretty minimal.

    Great site!

    Hi Alicia, Thanks so much for stopping by OrganicMania and for your nice compliment. I have not looked into water filters but I will ask around for you! Maybe a good topic for a Green Moms Carnival! It was wonderful meeting you too! — Lynn

  12. Guide to Healthy Pregnancy : Eating, Exercising, Yoga and More. « Healthy Mama Blog on March 7, 2011 12:13 pm

    […] detergents and the chlorine bleach, coupled with the liquid to scrub the shower with create a cocktail of chemicals that media connected to various ailments, cancers and autoimmune disorders and birth defects. Invest […]

  13. Guide to Healthy Pregnancy | HealthyMamaInfo on December 14, 2011 2:13 pm

    […] detergents and the chlorine bleach, coupled with the liquid you use to scrub the shower create a cocktail of chemicals that have been connected to various ailments, cancers, autoimmune disorders and even birth defects. […]

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