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Cleaning is an important part of everyday life, whether you’re running a small household or a large office building. Cleaning helps prevent the spread of germs, eliminates unsightly dirt and dust buildup and provides an overall sense of wellness. But in recent years, more individuals and facility managers have grown concerned about standard cleaning practices and how they can damage the environment and human health.

For years, we’ve been led to believe that the only way to get rid of germs and bacteria was to nuke them with harsh chemicals and toxins. Unfortunately, we now know these practices are not only ineffective but also harmful to our planet and our own health.

The History of Green Cleaning

The very first known cleaning product was a form of soap dating back to 2800 BC, and it was as green as green can be. Ancient cleaning products were developed long before the advent of synthetic chemicals and toxins. Soap products didn’t have chemical-induced scents like lavender and ocean breeze. But eventually, common belief was that by killing germs with harsh toxic chemicals, we would be protecting our health and our environment from these illness-causing microorganisms.

In the early 1960s, however, questions started to arise about the safety of these chemicals. Scientists began to question how these toxins may be affecting our environment and our human health. By the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency began waging war against specific chemicals. Exposure to environmental toxins was being linked to all kinds of health conditions, including certain types of cancers.

By the 1980s and 1990s the general public was becoming more aware of the chemicals used in their everyday cleaning products. This awareness also happened to coincide with the discovery of “sick building syndrome.”

 

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome is a condition where the occupants or workers in a building suffer from a range of symptoms that are believed to be attributed to the indoor conditions of the building. In other words, the building itself makes the occupants sick.

Occupants found to be suffering from sick building syndrome experienced symptoms like eye, nose and throat sensitivity, skin irritation, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and an inability to concentrate. In 1983, the World Health Organization declared that sick building syndrome was a global health threat. This was due to poor indoor air quality inside buildings resulting from chemical off-gassing and toxic pollutants, including those emitted by harmful cleaning agents.

 

Green Buildings and Green Cleaning

In reaction to the disturbing findings of sick building syndrome, environmentalism, human health protection and construction merged to create a new field: green building. Green buildings are constructed with the goal of addressing the building’s entire impact and how it can be more environmentally-friendly and healthy for humans.

Green building standards began including requirements like toxic-free materials such as low- and non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, glues and other substances. Green builders also looked at ways to improve indoor air quality scores to prevent respiratory ailments and other health conditions.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) was formed and became the early pioneers in environmental construction, setting the highest level of standards for green building using their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

With the increasing interest in green building, business and facility managers began to look at environmental design and performance from a holistic perspective. This means they started taking into consideration not just the building itself, but its complete impact, including how it is cleaned and maintained.

This is where green cleaning on a commercial level began to take off. Once building managers began to look at their facility in its entirety, they noticed how something seemingly as simple as cleaning was threatening their vision for sustainability. From the types of products being used to how service providers managed and disposed of waste, they realized there was huge opportunity for environmentally-friendly and health-conscious cleaning practices that could match the high-level goals of green buildings and offices.

 

In conclusion, Green Cleaning isn’t only for helping the environment, its universally beneficial. Ask us to set up a green cleaning appointment for you today, or set up an appointment using our smart chat system.

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7 Common Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid

 

Here at Sweet and Green Cleaning, we understand that cleaning the house isn’t exactly the funnest thing. At the same time though, it is necessary to do and it’s also best to do it properly. Lest you make your cleaning chores take longer.

Below is a short list of cleaning mistakes that many of us do, but should avoid.

 

Using Way Too Much Water

Monitor how much water you are using. A lot of people load up too much on upholstery and as a result it can damage certain fabrics, making the drying process longer or ineffective. Even worse, can cause that watered area to grow mildew. Save yourself the trouble and apply water in a smart way. Furthermore you want to avoid water on any metal components as they could rust.

 

Using A Dry Rag For Dusting

You may think it’s green to use a rag for dusting, but that’s not how we do it. Actually using a dry rag for dusting only serves to move dust and dirt around. Furthermore it can scratch surfaces too, damaging them. Instead, if you want to use a rag, try a microfiber cloth or a soft duster. We have found that this method can grab and hold onto those pesky dust particles.

 

Combining Cleaning Products

They say more is better right? Well not in the case with cleaning products. It might sound like a good idea on the surface, but remember that cleaning products have all sorts of chemicals in them and who knows what sort of damage they can do. Mixing ammonia, bleach and detergent for example can potentially damage carpet or laminate surfaces. Furthermore they can create fumes that also are harmful to your health. (But we’re green cleaners and would never use those)

 

Vacuuming First

Another cleaning tip is to not vacuum first. It might make sense since you cover more ground faster and you remove the risk of stepping in something you don’t want to step in. At the same time though if you plan on cleaning the surfaces in the area, vacuuming first will only result in you vacuuming twice. Instead focus on the surfaces and then the floor afterwards.

 

Cleaning Windows While The Sun Is Out

It may be incredibly tempting to wash and clean the windows while the sun is out. With the light shining on, you can easily spot the dirty spots on the window to clean it better. But here, we’ve learned that it’s actually smarter to wait for a cloudy day instead.

The reason for that is because the sun is reflecting on the glass, the glass can retain heat making the surface warmer. What this means is anything that you put on it, like cleaning agents and your scrubbing efforts, will have the potential to leave smears and streak marks on the windows.

 

Spraying Surfaces Directly

Whether you use green products or not, whatever you do, don’t apply the cleaning fluid directly on furniture. In cases with furniture it can create build up that makes it a pain to remove but also attracts dust. Make it a good practice to apply cleaning products on a cloth and then apply it to the furniture rather than the other way around.

 

Not Cleaning Enough

The last mistake we want to address is not cleaning enough. We get it, you are busy. We all are. But the more days that you keep putting off cleaning, the more accumulation of dirt and dust will start to build up.Think of it this way, the longer that you put cleaning off the longer it’ll take once you do decide to clean. As such, make it a weekly thing to clean up around the place or devote a little bit of time every day to clean up after yourself. By doing that, you are avoiding major cleaning disasters and long days spending cleaning.

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We all know the harms that air pollution has on our health.  Although we are unable to control the air pollutions level we are exposed to when we are outdoors, we can eliminate toxins in the air in our own homes.  Also, there is no need to invest in expensive air purifies, and you certainly do not want to add more chemicals in the air with aerosol sprays.

Here are a few tips on how to improve the air quality in your home, safely and chemical free.

  1. Source control

Simple elements in your home can help improve the air quality if you get rid of them.  Smoking in your home, carpets and fireplaces all add to the level of chemical pollutants in the air.

A simple act of cleaning your house will help eliminate air pollutants.  This may seem obvious to most, but an element that is often overlooked with trying to improve the air quality in your home.  House cleaning will improve the air quality by removing dirt and dust from surfaces.  It is important to clean in spaces that you do not get to everyday, such as under and on top of the refrigerator, under the oven or stove.  Keeping your home clean will remove irritants and allergens.

Small investments in pollutant free items such as smokeless fireplaces or replacing household chemicals with eco-friendly variants will help clean the air in your home.  There are many natural alternatives to the cleaning chemicals available on the market today.  For example, baking soda and vinegar will help keep your home clean and remove mould from rooms exposed to constant moisture.

  1. Air purification

There are a few ways of purifying the air in your home with spending money on expensive air purifiers.

Adding indoor plants to your living spaces will help improve the air quality of your home.  Plants are natural air purifies as they filter toxins out of the air and boost oxygen-rich air into your home.  A few great indoor plants to get are the peace lily and ferns.  Plants are known to extract harmful chemicals such as trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air.

Aromatherapy is great for reducing stress, improving your mood and have excellent anti-parasite, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.  Certain essential oils disrupt the productive cycle of certain bacteria and viruses.  Diffusing essential oils will remove toxic pathogens that cause illness and allergies.  Aromas and oils such as grapefruit, tea tree, peppermint and lemon are known to be beneficial to improving the air quality in your home.

  1. Ventilation

Due to elements in your home, such as carpets, fireplaces and detergents, the air quality in your home is likely more polluted than outdoors.  Poor ventilation adds to this and will result in pathogens and pollutants being concentrated in a small area.  In our homes, we are exposed to these pollutants constantly and ensuring that your home is properly ventilated will help to improve the air quality in your home.

Improving the air quality in your home can be eco-friendly and cost-effective with some minor changes to your home décor, products used in your home and some lifestyle changes.

 

Hope You Enjoyed This Blog! Thanks for Reading!

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After you have been stuffed up in the house throughout the winter, it is now that time of the year to do your annual spring cleaning.Spring cleaning brings fresh feeling and it’s a good way to start with enjoying the spring as summer approaches To start with, the first thing you should do to have an effective spring cleaning is to have a checklist. Look into each room and note down things you need to clean. This will make the cleaning effective and saves time.

It has been observed that most available products for cleaning have contents that are sometimes toxic and can pose hazardous threats to your wellbeing.So, while you are planning your spring cleaning, it is safe to consider green spring cleaning methods, which are not only safe but also cost-effective.

1. Hang Dry Your Washed Clothes.

There are different benefits you get from drying your clothes in a natural way. Not only that using the electric thermal dryer is not environmentally friendly, it can also damage your precious wears.Asides that, it saves you from the stress of increase in your electric bill and gives your clothes a natural kind of smell.

2. Freshen Up The House With Pleasant Odors

You need an alternative to the use of Air fresheners which sometimes are dangerous due to the presence of CFC content in them. By opening your window, you will allow pleasant air come into your house and refresh your home with warmth. Also, you can use natural plants and certain essential oils that can produce a refreshing smell through your home.
3.A Better Way to Clean Your Carpets The Green Way!

Baking soda is known to be an effective cleaning agent. So instead of using chemicals that can pose a health risk, in the long run, you should opt in for baking soda. By sprinkling baking soda on the surface of your carpet, spreading it evenly and removing with the vacuum after some time, you can do a great job of removing the smell from your carpet or rug.
4. Window Cleaning In The Green Way!

By mixing about two teaspoonfuls of vinegar and an appropriate quantity of water is a safe method to clean your louvers and the glass windows of your house. Then use clean towel or rags to dry wipe it.This method is an effective and safe way to the use of chemical sprays to clean your window glass.
5. How About Your Wooden Cutting Board Cleaning?

The stains on your wooden cutting board can be removed by sprinkling it with coarse salt all over. You can then use lemon to rub the salt into the cutting board. Rinse well with water and then allow it to dry
6. Sponges Sanitization.

Most times the sponges we use in our kitchens are made of the natural material. Over time, sponges can begin to harbor germs and so the need for effective cleaning. Regularly, as need be, we can sanitize our sponges by boiling for about five minutes to ten minutes so as to allow the heat to kill any anchored bacteria.
7. Baking Soda and Salt for Oven Cleaning

If you use an oven in your kitchen, there are instances that you can have spills in your oven. The first thing you should do is to allow the oven to cool down. After cooling, you can then sprinkle some baking soda onto the spills and allow to stay for some time. You can then wipe it using a towel. Another alternative to using instead of baking soda is table salt. But here, you should add the salt when the oven is still warm and then scrub off after cooling.

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The emergency rooms all over the world deal with thousands of poison cases each year.  Most of these victims are children that have accidentally ingested or came into contact with household chemical based cleaners and detergents.

Children are particularly susceptible to common household chemicals and often suffer respiratory and nervous disorders.  A child’s reproductive, immune, respiratory and nervous systems are not as developed as an adult and are not able to naturally and probably detoxify these systems.  The central nervous system in a child is highly susceptible to damage and chemical contamination exacerbates the issues.  Due to an active lifestyle of a child, they are more likely to come into contact with household chemicals.  For example, children are often on the floor and are closer to chemicals or pollutants.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider going green for cleaning your home.

Healthier environment

Going green means there are no harmful chemicals in your home that your child or children can come into contact with.  Your children will no longer absorb chemicals through the skin or breath in.  The health benefits will extend to the rest of the family as well.

Most household chemicals that can be sprayed raises the risk of contracting asthma, especially in children.  However, an environmentally friendly cleaner will not leave harmful chemicals lingering in the air.

Also, using many different chemicals in your home releases these chemicals in the environment.  Changing to natural or organic cleaning materials will result in a cleaner environment and minimize your impact on the ozone and global climate changes.  Environmental products also come in re-usable packaging so your environmental footprint is also lessened.  Leaving a more sustainable environment for your children.

Better air quality and safer products

Most people with sensitive sinuses or respiratory systems cannot deal with the strong smell of chemicals.  Most green products have a pleasant smell as they are made with natural essential oils and other natural ingredients.

Also, strong chemicals can give those with sensitive skins burns, inflamed skin or rashes.  Natural cleaners are not corrosive and are gentle to sensitive skins.  Also, green products must adhere to very strict safety and consumer standards.

It’s cost-effective

You can save lots of money as green cleaning products can be made with regular household items such as lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil.  And the cost of saving the environment cannot be measured.

Anti-bacterial anything is not necessary

Recent studies have shown that using anti-bacterial cleaning agents can lead to children building up an immunity to antibiotics.  The FDA has found that washing dishes or anything with anti-bacterial soap is no different or has no added benefits than washing with regular soap.   Some anti-bacterial agents are harmful to our hormonal systems.  Green cleaning products do not have any antibacterial agents.

People are becoming more and more concerned about the chemicals in their homes, especially regarding what effects those chemicals have on their children.  Going green is a much better and more inexpensive option to ensure your children are not exposed to harmful or life-threatening chemicals.

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With more and more people getting into green cleaning and looking for more natural alternatives, it’s easy to get swept up into the chaos. What works? What doesn’t? Do I really have time to study every ingredient? Is this really safe?

Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are several natural alternatives for you, all in one convenient location.

  1. White Vinegar:

White vinegar is good for cleaning not only calcium deposits but cutting grease, grime and wax buildups.

You know that pet odour on your carpet? Some Vinegar will solve that.

It’s also incredible for cleaning the microwave oven that everyone’s forgotten about. Just put a glass of vinegar in, and turn the microwave on for a couple minutes. It’ll do all the hard work for you. Trust me, I’ve tried it. It was a lifesaver at work.

  1. Eucalyptus Oil:

Eucalyptus oil not only works as a deodorant but can help attack rust before setting.

It also an excellent spot remover to use on that carpet of yours, or just about any fabric, to be honest.

  1. Baking Soda:

Now, I’m sure you weren’t surprised by this. Our mothers and grandmothers knew what they were talking about when they recommended this over the years. Although growing up we might have thought its silly, baking Soda is remarkably versatile.

For starters, it can be used to remove stains. Various stains.

You know those marks on the walls your children left when they were young and drawing on the wall? Yes, Baking Soda can clean and remove crayon marks from Walls. Worry no more.

You can also use Baking Soda to soften fabrics and to clean and deodorize your bedding and other fabrics. Yes, you can even freshen up those old runners of yours!

Used in the right way, it can also be used to remove grease build up, among other things.

  1. Lemon Juice:

Lemon Juice is another rather flexible option.

First off, it is quite useful for dissolving soap scum and hard water deposits. It’s also great for cleaning microwaves. Just place a halved lemon in a cup of water, and turn the microwave on. No hard scrubbing required.

And you know that dirty wooden cutting board of yours? Go get out the lemon and salt because they’ll get the job done for you.

  1. Natural Salts:

You will probably be surprised to find that salt is actually quite versatile.

One use is for clean refrigerators. A mix of salt and soda water can be used to wipe out and deodorize the inside of your refrigerator. You won’t have to worry about harsh chemicals near your food that way. It can also be used on sink drains. Merely pour a mixture of salt and hot water down the sink regularly to deodorize and prevent the build-up of grease.

And, a favourite tip of waitresses everywhere… use salt to clean that glass coffee pot. All you have to do is put some ice cubes  and salt to a coffee pot vigorously swirl it around. Once it’s been well coted, rinse it. The salt scours the bottom of the coffee pot, and the ice will make it easier to scrub it all. It will work without ice, however.

Well, there you have it, folks. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a starting point.

There are many natural alternatives out there, you just need to look for them.