Our next two blogs will cover a topic that is essential to Sunshine: green cleaning. Today, we will discuss what green cleaning is, and in our next blog we will be investigating why green cleaning is so important.
Green cleaning is a collection of cleaning products, methods, and policies that are developed specifically to minimize the health impacts and maximize the environmental sustainability of cleaning procedures – while providing the most effective cleaning results. It also involves dealing only with trustworthy companies that are committed to sustainable business practices and environmental health.
New technologies, along with a deliberate focus on health and the environment, have allowed cleaning products to be created that have fewer chemicals. This makes them safer and healthier for building occupants, as well as significantly reducing their impact on the environment.
Conventional cleaning products contain synthetic chemicals, artificial dyes, and fragrances. These ingredients can be toxic and are often hard on the environment. As people are exposed to the residue from these products for long periods of time (after all, many people use them regularly), they can cause acute and chronic health effects. For products that are supposed to help us keep healthy and hygienic, they’re not doing a very good job.
Green products use natural, eco-friendly ingredients that are biodegradable and non-toxic. Some of the ingredients used include: baking soda, vinegar, eucalyptus oil, cornstarch, pure soap (no synthetic scents, colours, etc.), and more.
Selecting products that are certified by well-established environmental health and safety organizations is a good way to know that you’re using green cleaning products. Two examples of these are Green Seal and EcoLogo.
Unfortunately, some cleaning manufacturers are trying to capitalize on the green movement. They are labeling their products with words such as “green” or “natural” to give their products the illusion of sustainability. Sometimes, they will even refrain from listing some of the harmful chemicals on the ingredients list. This is why it is important to look for reputable certifications on products. You can also check up on companies by researching them to see if they fully disclose all of their ingredients or not.
Green cleaning is more than just the ingredients. Using the right methods is critical to a true green cleaning strategy.
Using microfiber cloths minimizes residue, provides a more effective clean, and does not produce waste (as, for example, paper towels do).
Cleaning equipment, too, has standards that it should meet. For example, Sunshine uses eco-friendly, effective equipment: vacuum cleaners capable of capturing 99.97% of dirt and allergens, hot water extraction equipment that removes enough moisture for carpets to dry in less than 24 hrs, gel batteries for battery-powered equipment, and more.
Environmentally safe disposal is another component. While ensuring that fewer chemicals are used during cleaning reduces the need for sustainable disposal methods – since the cleaning products aren’t generating harmful waste – cleaning products should be kept in their original containers and brought to a household hazardous waste collection program. This is particularly important if they are not truly green.
Do It Yourself
Green cleaning doesn’t have to be hard; there are plenty of DIY recipes for cleaning products out there.
- Baking soda and water can be used to clean tile surfaces, counters, sinks, oven tops and interiors, refrigerators, etc.
- Lemon juice or vinegar is good for getting rid of mildew
- A mixture of vinegar and water can be used to clean windows and mirrors, as well as wood floors
- Cornmeal can be put on carpet spills and then vacuumed up
- Many more!
A quick internet search will yield a huge number of green recipes that you can use, such as these, or these.
Part 2 of our green cleaning blog series will delve further into the reasons why green cleaning is so important.
>> At Sunshine, we know how essential green cleaning is to healthy buildings and a healthy environment. We have been dedicated to sustainable cleaning practices for over 10 years, as evidenced by our Healthy High Performance Cleaning Program.