Submitted by: Lori Benavides www.zerorezalbuquerque.com
Many consumers are realizing that “going green” isn’t just about creating a healthy planet, it’s about creating healthy homes and workplaces. Here are some suggestions for “greening up” your living environments to improve your health and the health of those you care about.
1. Get your air handling system cleaned.
The EPA states that indoor air quality can be worse than the outdoor air of even the most industrialized and polluted cities, and that it ranks as one of the top 5 health concerns today. And these days, most of us spend up to 90% of our time indoors, with windows and doors shut, running the air conditioning or heating system, re-circulating the same contaminants over and over throughout our homes or workplaces. Having the duct work cleaned and replacing regular filters with highly effective electrostatic filters will go a long way towards improving your indoor air quality. It will also allow your air handling system to work more efficiently, thus reducing cost of operation.
2. Consider an air purification unit.
If indoor air quality is a real problem, or if you have asthma or other respiratory ailments, you may also want to consider an air purification system. But do your research, as most of the inexpensive, table-top units, do little if anything to improve air quality (some even make it worse by increasing ozone). The most effective air purifiers use EMF (Enhanced Media Filtration) technology, which surpasses even HEPA filtration.
3. Keep carpet and upholstery clean, but don’t use soaps, detergents, or chemicals.
The most important thing you can do for these surfaces is to vacuum them frequently, but when it comes time to clean them, don’t use sticky, residue-producing products (including shampoos and off-the-shelf spot removers) that are going to attract the dirt right back to them. For most spills, if you get to it quickly, just plain water and dabbing with a clean towel will take care of it. But, to keep carpet and textiles properly maintained, they should be cleaned at least once a year by a professional who leaves zero residue behind.
4. Replace household cleaning products with natural or “green” products.
One of the contributors to the indoor air quality problem discussed in tip #1 is the use of highly toxic cleaning products around the home or workplace. There are many alternatives that work just as well, or better, without exposing yourself and others to harmful fumes and chemicals. Did you know that many cleaning situations can be handled with simple products you probably already have around your home, like vinegar and baking soda?
5. Use natural products for pest control.
Another culprit in the indoor air quality issue is the use of toxic products for pest control. There are natural alternatives, one being Cedar Oil, that keep non-beneficial pests at bay without exposing you, your kids, or your pets to harmful insecticides.
6. Use micro-fiber cloths for cleaning countertops, mirrors, and other surfaces.
Because of the way these cloths are constructed, they can actually remove bacteria from a surface without the use of harsh chemicals. Don’t waste your money on those disposable “sanitizing” wipes that tell you right on the label (in the fine print) that in order to sanitize, the surface has to stay “visibly wet” for 30 seconds, and to disinfect, the surface has to stay “visibly wet” for 4 minutes. Do you know how many of those wipes you have to go through to keep a surface visibly wet for 4 minutes?
7. Use micro-fiber mops for your hard floors.
Using traditional mops, and the dirty mop water that usually goes with them, only redistributes the dirt; and if you have tile floors, usually just deposits it in the lower and much more porous grout lines. Getting your tile & grout professionally cleaned and the grout sealed every couple of years, and then using a micro-fiber mop to maintain it, will keep your floors looking great without having to get on your hands and knees with a toothbrush and bleach. And because you don’t need a lot of water with the micro-fiber mops, they’re great for hardwood too.
8. Get granite countertops sealed.
But be careful of the sealer that is used, as some can be highly toxic. Many consumers don’t realize that granite is an extremely porous stone, and can have many microscopic cracks and fissures in it. These are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, especially in food prep areas. When the granite is sealed, those pores and cracks are filled in and it allows for a much more sanitary surface.
9. Keep glass shower doors clean.
Similar to the granite mentioned above, most people don’t realize that glass is also a porous uneven surface at the microscopic level. That’s why soap scum and minerals from hard water are such a problem. These deposits become a breeding ground for bacteria, and are very difficult to remove once they have built up. Get glass shower doors cleaned and then sealed to reduce adherence of soap and minerals, and they will be much easier to clean and maintain.
10. Last but not least, Get the lint out!
Lint buildup in the dryer filter and the vent can cause your dryer to work harder than it needs to and can be a fire hazard. The filter should be emptied between each load, and if you use dryer sheets, it should be taken out and washed with hot, soapy water about every six months (a waxy buildup can occur that limits air and moisture flow). The area around your dryer and the dryer vent should be cleaned every 18 months to remove lint and other particles that make it past the filter.