Sustainability: Spring cleaning products

QUICKREAD

Wild & Scenic

Tonight, you can enlighten your mind and feast your eyes on beautiful images at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

This fundraiser for Western Colorado Congress features seven short films meant to change your world. The event begins at 7 p.m. — doors open at 6 p.m. — at the Avalon Theatre.

Tickets are $10 at the door. In previous years, tickets have sold out.

For information go to http://www.wccongress.org/films2011.html.



For this year’s spring cleaning make your house cleaner than ever with toxin-free products. Your home will sparkle and, as an added bonus, indoor air quality will improve.

Using green cleaners does not mean sacrificing cleaning power. Your home will be safer without the danger of toxic cleaners and healthier for those who suffer from allergies and other sensitivities.

Banishing toxins from your cleaning supplies is easier than you think.

You can replace them with products made from common household ingredients and save money in the process.

Start by pulling cleaning products from your cupboards and reading the labels. Does the list of ingredients include chlorine, phenol, ammonia, formaldehyde or other chemical names you can’t pronounce?

If so, put them in a box to take to the Mesa County Hazardous Waste Facility.

You probably already have many of the staples for making natural cleaning products right in your pantry.

Perhaps the most widely used natural substance for cleaning is vinegar. Its high level of acidity kills most mold, bacteria and germs.

You can use vinegar alone or combined with other ingredients to clean counters and cutting boards, toilets, windows and more.

For specific information about household uses of white distilled vinegar go to vinegartips.com.

Baking soda makes a great abrasive cleaner. Combined with vegetable-based soap, such as castile, you can scrub off stubborn stains on surfaces. Use it to scrub your toilet bowl, then rinse with a vinegar spray.

Salt is another versatile cleaning agent and makes an effective stain remover for clothing. When salt alone doesn’t do the trick, blot with rubbing alcohol then squirt on some liquid dish soap and rinse. No need for harsh spot removers.

Squeeze some lemons to make a bleach substitute, and then boil the peels or toss them down the disposal to release their refreshing scent.

Once your cupboards are stocked with white vinegar, salt, baking soda, lemons, vegetable-based soap, rubbing alcohol and possibly borax, you are armed with everything you need to concoct cleaning agents to spiff up your home.

The Green Team at Mesa County Libraries also has compiled a list of recipes for homemade cleaners and you can get a copy by calling Nancy MacDonald at 683-2434.

Watch a video on simple cleaning products at kashi.com/articles/easy_green_home or get more suggestions at http://www.greenamerica.org/pubs/realgreen/articles/greencleaners.cfm.

You also can buy toxic-free cleaning products from the store, just make sure to check the labels since not all “green” cleaning products have safe ingredients.

Local Shaklee dealers offer a complete line of “Get Clean” products advertised to clean better than many national brands.

Oasis Botanica, a member of Green Guides of the Grand Valley, offers a line of essential oils including Green Housekeeping Concentrates.

For a deeper cleaning, some local carpet cleaning services use green products. Colorado Cleanpro, another Green Guides member, works with an organic, citrus-based cleaning solution to produce great results.

It’s time to tackle spring cleaning the natural way.

Adele Israel is a Grand Junction writer who has been involved in sustainability efforts for some 20 years. Have a question or column idea for Adele? E-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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