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Encouraging North Americans to Pollute Less, Consume Fewer Resources, and Use Less Energy since 2007.

(Better Late Than Never).
 
 

 

 

Cleaning

Ten thousands of tons of aggressive chemicals are released into our environment every year so that everything around us can be cleaner than clean. These cleaning agents are planned, designed, tested, manufactured, and distributed by large companies and this requires a lot of energy and resources. Much more than the making of more natural, less fancy cleaning agents. Many of these human-made chemicals damage our soil, kill or injure wild animals (including the not so cute, slimy, scary, but still important ones), and create problems in our groundwater. Even though it may be diluted, sooner or later you get to drink your cleaning agents.

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Choose the better dish washing detergent Laundry detergents may not contain phosphates which damage aquatic systems. Dish washing detergents have been exempt from the rule. Choose on that creates less havoc.
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Do your laundry on nice days If you do your laundry on a sunny day you can hang it dry outside. It is faster and costs nothing. The electric dryer uses a lot of electricity (about the same as 2000 compact fluorescent 13Watt light bulbs turned on at the same time).
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Hang you laundry dry outside under a roof any time If you hang dry your laundry under a roof, you can dry your laundry anytime independent from the weather.
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Use mechanical force instead of chemicals Try getting the dirt off or out with mechanical means and muscle work before you reach for a chemical cleaning product. It may not get clean all the way in all cases, but it will help a lot. Razors, steel wool, scrubbers, brushes, etc. may be sufficient to get rid of whatever insults your sense of cleanliness. Getting it clean mechanically does not pollute.
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Use cedar instead of mothballs Cedar wood emits a fragrant smell that is disagreeable for many insects. It may be enough to protect your clothes from moths.
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Put clothes in plastic bags Wool eating moths will not eat through plastic bags. If your clothes are packed away well, they will not need to be protected with toxic, funky smelling and possibly carcinogenic chemicals that may damage the environment much more than you intend to. Make sure the clothes are dry before you put them in the bag though. Otherwise you invite fungus.
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Clean drains mechanically A mechanical "snake" will do a great job in most situations and has no adverse effects on the environment. If you do not have one ask your neighbors. If they do not have one either, buy one and tell them you have one now and are happy to share.
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Clean clogged drains with baking soda Baking soda and some hot water may be already enough to unclog a drain. If that does not work, try baking soda and some vinegar. That creates some foaming action. Commercial drain cleaners are VERY aggressive in the environment and if mechanical means do not open the drain you have an issue that only a plumber can solve. Don`t drop toy cars in the drain!
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Clean and soak very dirty items right away If you wait and the spot/dirt drys it will be harder to clean. If you do it right away you most likely will need less energy and fewer aggressive chemicals to clean the clothes.
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Use a spot remover Applied to only the dirty spot you will have success with less hot water and fewer washings.
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Soak all clothes for days It will reduce the required amount of laundry detergent. You may almost need none. Add some natural oils if you miss the smell.
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Install colored toilet bowl Considering what it is used for it is difficult to understand why a toilet bowl often is white. If it is colored it will be clean with much less cleaning than a white one that needs much more effort and chemicals to "look" clean.
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Replace bleach with sun or hydrogen peroxide Both sun and hydrogen peroxide have bleaching properties. Even camomille tea bleaches. Neither works as well as bleach, but most of the time good enough and always with less damage to the environment.
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Replace window cleaner with vinegar Works well and is no risk to the water systems
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Sweep instead of vacuum-clean A vacuum cleaner requires manufacturing, repair and electricity. A broom requires much less. Sweeping may sometimes be an good alternative to vacuum cleaning.
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Polish silver with baking soda A mix of baking soda and water makes a fine silver polish that has no negative effects on the environment.
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Polish brass with ketchup It works and does not pollute.
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Clean less often Clean only when necessary. Do not clean on a schedule (unless you are a hospital) - clean when it is dirty. Work on your standards for cleanliness. If you use aggressive cleaners you pollute every time you clean.
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Buy and use natural cleaning products Some companies have specialized in offering natural cleaning products that give excellent results but create much less havoc in the environment. Do not fall for flashy keywords though! Not all companies are honest - some try to deceive.
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Buy cleaning products from reputable "green" companies Many marketing terms such as "green", "natural", "non-toxic", "biodegradable", "environmentally friendly", etc. are not defined well or are not subject to industry standards. Make sure that the contents of the products you use have been independently verified and are what they say they are.
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