Monday, August 20, 2012

Terpenes + Ozone = Formaldehyde
Part 4: Conclusion

In parts one, two and three we discussed terpenes, ozone and formaldehyde. What does it all mean? If you use any household cleaner that contains terpene you are going to raise the levels of formaldehyde in your home especially when combined with an ozone generator. Proper ventilation is required when using hazardous chemicals in your home. Ozone generators cannot clean the air in a home environment at levels that are safe for human occupancy and may be helping to increase the levels of formaldehyde in your air. Ozone generators are not regulated and have been found to produce dangerous levels of ozone in indoor environments.

We recommend looking for cleaning products that don’t contain terpene to replace the ones you may currently be using. If you have an ozone generator, do some research to see how much ozone it produces. The California Air Resources Board has a list of approved air cleaning devices that don’t emit dangerous levels of ozone AND a list of dangerous ozone generators. If you have dangerous ozone emitting device please consider not using it in occupied living spaces.

1.  Common household cleaners and air fresheners may lead to health risks.
News Medical. May 24, 2006.
2.  Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.
US EPA. May 2008.
3. Fact Sheet: Beware of Ozone-generating Indoor “Air Purifiers”.
California Air Resources Board. March, 2006.

Terpenes + Ozone = Formaldehyde
Part 3: Making Formaldehyde

In part two we discussed how ozone can become elevated in the home and the dangers of using ozone generators in closed areas. Even though the EPA danced around the immediate danger, that of having too high of an ozone content in poorly ventilated spaces, they don’t even mention that when ozone and terpenes are mixed they produce formaldehyde which may be at high levels already.
“...formaldehyde is...released from other sources such as plywood and pressed wood products that are found in most buildings, any increase in formaldehyde emissions is undesirable.”
“When the researchers tested the terpene-containing products in the presence of ozone, they found that reactions produced very small particles with properties like those found in smog and haze; other oxidation products; and formaldehyde, a respiratory irritant that is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen. (This designation by the International Agency for Cancer Research is reserved for substances for which there is sufficient evidence to conclude that they cause cancer in humans.) The amounts of terpenes that were converted into these pollutants was dependent on the amount of ozone present.”
Common household cleaners and air fresheners may lead to health risks.
News Medical. May 24, 2006.
In part 4 we will summarize and give our recommendations to improve your indoor air quality and reduce toxins related to terpenes and ozone.

Part 4: Conclusion

1.  Common household cleaners and air fresheners may lead to health risks.
News Medical. May 24, 2006.
2.  Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.
US EPA. May 2008.
3. Fact Sheet: Beware of Ozone-generating Indoor “Air Purifiers”.
California Air Resources Board. March, 2006.

Terpenes + Ozone = Formaldehyde
Part 2: Ozone

In part 1 we introduced you to Terpenes, a class of chemicals found in pine, lemon and orange oils. Terpenes are found in many household cleaners and air fresheners and are not dangerous on their own, but when mixed with ozone in the air will produce toxic compounds.

Why should we worry about Terpenes if they require ozone to produce toxic compounds? Two reasons. Ozone Generators are sold as home air cleaners and indoor ozone levels are not regulated.
Ozone, a lung irritant, is all around us and many of the electronic products we use produce it as a byproduct like TV’s and computers. Manufacturers have even marketed ozone producing devices as air purifiers. Many are labeled ionic or electro-static and usually don’t include a filter or fan. The EPA has written a paper specifically addressing the problem of ozone generators and in-door environments and so has the California EPA Air Resources Board
“Ozone generators use UV light or an electrical discharge to intentionally produce ozone. Ozone is a lung irritant that can cause adverse health effects. At concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone has little effect in removing most indoor air contaminants. Thus, ozone generators are not always safe and effective in controlling indoor air pollutants.”
(Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.
US EPA. May 2008.)
Why would the EPA say that ozone generators are not always safe?

Ozone generators are not regulated by any government agency and can produce varying levels of ozone depending on factors like room size, ventilation and power setting. Indoor ozone is not regulated as a pollutant because under normal circumstances it doesn’t accumulate to the point of becoming a health hazard.
“Studies have shown that ozone generators can produce indoor ozone levels several times the state outdoor health standard...equal to, or worse than, a first stage smog alert. It is clear that the ozone concentrations produced by these devices can easily exceed health-protective standards.”
(Fact Sheet: Beware of Ozone-generating Indoor “Air Purifiers”.
California Air Resources Board. March, 2006.)
We recently heard a rumor that hospitals use ozone to clean the air which is why they smell so clean. After a couple minutes searching online we found a few articles detailing how ozone has a cleansing effect on air quality at exceptionally high levels which is why it is used in hospital rooms around the world to sterilize the air. Manufacturers of ozone generators use that fact as marketing to sell their products. Sounds great but they don’t tell you that the levels of ozone that are needed to clean the air is so high it is toxic to humans. This is the reason rooms are emptied between patients, sealed air tight and filled with ozone for a period of time before all the air is exchanged and reoccupied. Since the development of this technology new reports have said that ozone may be ineffective at killing biological organisms that are attached to textiles and needs more research. The air may be clean but the contents of the room may not be any more clean than when they last wiped them down or washed them.

In part 1 we mentioned that terpenes can produce some nasty chemicals when exposed to ozone. Now we know that ozone is all around us and can be artificially elevated in the home by using ozone generators. In part 3 we will explain how ozone breaks down terpenes in the air into formaldehyde.

Part 3: Making Formaldehyde

1.  Common household cleaners and air fresheners may lead to health risks.
News Medical. May 24, 2006.
2.  Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.
US EPA. May 2008.
3. Fact Sheet: Beware of Ozone-generating Indoor “Air Purifiers”.
California Air Resources Board. March, 2006.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Value of the Dollar Part 2

Giving Back : Making Waves
Clean Water = Healthy Communities
Giving Back : Grants & Wishes
Sharing 10% of our profits: Our giving for Goodness Grant Program
Interested in submitting a grant proposal?

A supply of clean water positively impacts community health, business, recreation opportunities, and overall quality of life. That’s why Tom’s of Maine is dedicated to improving water quality and supporting those who work to achieve this in their own towns.

Since the very first product our cofounders Tom and Kate made in 1970 – a non-polluting phosphate-free laundry detergent called Clearlake – Tom's of Maine has advocated for clean water. Today, we're working with River Network and American Rivers, the two largest nonprofit rivers organizations in the United States, and their thousands of dedicated volunteers. Their efforts large and small add up to one huge positive impact on the health and safety of our nation’s rivers. Last year alone, over 100,000 volunteers at events across the U.S. (sponsored by our partners and the grassroots organizations with whom they work) removed over 700 tons of trash from our nation’s rivers.

Learn more about our partnership and how you can help.

We know there are a lot of people out there helping our nation's rivers, and we want to share their stories and inspire others to help, too. Our 2008 River Stories Video Contest encouraged people to share how they’re helping the rivers in their community, and we received some pretty great stuff.

We know an awful lot about how to make great natural products in a sustainable way — but we certainly can't claim to always know what's best for our communities down to every last detail. That's why we donate 10% of our profits each year to charitable organizations: because they know best how to serve their own communities.

We believe that people are the critical element in the success of a mission, so we focus our grants on core mission and leadership development goals and then get out of the way!

Because we've committed to multiyear projects with our current grantees, we won't be accepting any new grant applications. We'll update this page when we are ready to begin accepting applications again, so please check back regularly! You may also want to visit our Project Sponsorship page to see if we're currently offering any sponsorship opportunities.

Terpenes + Ozone = Formaldehyde
Part 1: Introducing Terpenes

Many people use household cleaners and air fresheners that contain terpenes and may not know the dangers they put themselves and everyone in their household in. A 2006 study by the researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory defines terpenes as such.
“Terpenes are a class of chemicals found in pine, lemon and orange oils that are used in many consumer products either as solvents or to provide a distinctive scent. Although terpenes themselves are not considered toxic, some recent studies have shown that they may react with ozone to produce a number of toxic compounds.”
(Common household cleaners and air fresheners may lead to health risks.
News Medical. May 24, 2006.)
Why should we worry about Terpenes if they require ozone to produce toxic compounds? Two reasons. Ozone Generators are sold as home air cleaners and indoor ozone levels are not regulated.

Part 2: Ozone

1.  Common household cleaners and air fresheners may lead to health risks.
News Medical. May 24, 2006.
2.  Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.
US EPA. May 2008.
3. Fact Sheet: Beware of Ozone-generating Indoor “Air Purifiers”.
California Air Resources Board. March, 2006.

The Value of the Dollar



Jim Rimer founded Biokleen in 1989. As a previous sales representative of cleaning chemicals in the commercial and industrial industry he became more and more aware of the dangers of the products he was selling and the ingredients they contained.He saw first hand his chemicals were creating health problems for his customers, causing negative effects - including cancer - on families and pets in the homes and businesses where these supplies were being used. Jim was selling poison and this realization shook him to the core. Jim's drive to take a stand and make a difference helped motivate him to study chemistry. With his newfound knowledge and driven passion he formulated his first cleaner using natural, non-toxic ingredients. Today Biokleen continues to develop and create innovative products, which still measure up to Jim's beliefs and standards:
  • Effectiveness
  • Concentration
  • Non-Toxic
  • Environmentally Safe
Biokleen has just launched four $1-off coupons on, joining the effort to help create a new source of funding for America’s favorite nonprofit organizations. Biokleen’s essential oil and fruit extract-based products are gentle on the skin while being nontoxic, biodegradable, nonflammable, and free of harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances. Now consumers can save money and help support their favorite charities when they purchase Biokleen products using coupons from CommonKindness.“The prolonged economic downturn has people trying to do more with less, and they are increasingly turning to coupons,” said James Mannion of Biokleen. “We chose to post our coupons on CommonKindness because we like the company’s reach and the exposure they bring us through their coupon site, public relations channels, and relationship with the online coupon community. We also love being part of giving back to the community.”
Giving to the community is nothing new to Biokleen. An active promoter of a healthy lifestyle, Biokleen celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009 by contributing to 20 charitable groups and events. These included EarthShare California, The Chicago Wetlands Initiative, Keep Austin Beautiful, Seattle EarthCorps, and youth soccer clubs and other youth outreach programs.
“Biokleen’s leadership in natural cleaning products is very impressive, and we are very excited that we are able to offer their coupons on the CommonKindness site,” said CommonKindness presidentSarah Schloemer. “I also found inspiration in the story of BioKleen founder Jim Rimer’s entrepreneurial spirit, ingenuity, and tenacity that started the company on the road to becoming the success it is today.”
Rimer was a sales rep for a chemical-rich cleaning supply company in the 1980s. After hearing complaints of negative side-effects from his customers after they used these products, Rimer conducted research and found that the products he was selling were poisonous. After a fruitless attempt to convince his employer to change course, he was asked to leave.While cleaning carpets to pay the bills, Rimer spent his nights developing Biokleen’s first natural cleaning supplies in his garage in a large drum using a wooden oar for a mixing spoon. He filled bottles by hand and sold his product door-to-door to the natural food stores that were sprouting up around town. Through the leadership of his daughter Cindy, Biokleen has grown quickly and responsibly.
Family-owned and -operated, Biokleen employs green manufacturing principles. One-hundred percent of the energy and water used in its plant is offset through the BEF’s Renewable Energy and Water Restoration program. The CommonKindness partnership is yet another way Biokleen is helping make the world a better place.To get Biokleen coupons, shoppers simply go to, quickly register, and designate their favorite nonprofit from the user-friendly directory. They then select Biokleen coupons and printable grocery coupons for other product coupons they typically use or want to try, and head to the store. For each coupon redeemed, CommonKindness donates 20% of the distribution fee it receives from the Biokleen or other brand to the shopper’s designated nonprofit.


Soup Nuts A Greener and Eco-Friendly Soap In The Raw.

Soap Nuts Organic Laundry Detergent
Going green and eco-friendly can't get any better than this when it comes to doing loads of laundry. Soap nuts are a great way to clean, and have no negative impacts on your health of the environment. They have been used in India for over 3,000 years. The soap nuts are taken from the trees and once the seeds are removed you can use the shells or the skins as soap. The actual soap nuts can be placed in little bags and thrown in with your laundry with 4 or 5 nuts in the bags you can get about 4 to 5 loads of laundry done. You can also purchase the liquid soap nut detergent or even powder. You have even purchase bars of soap, great stuff fragrance free and eliminate body odor the natural way. Also soap nuts are great for allergy relief and even skin diseases. 

All You Need Liquid Soap Nuts Value BundleI have yet to try just the soap nut shells, but we have tried a liquid form. I have a little have a little 4.2 FL OZ bottle and did about 4 large loads of laundry. This stuff is great and completely natural. I like my clothes to smell fresh, but I also am not a fan of the chemical fresh smell. It just has a simple clean smell Soap nuts are great and take clean to another level. 

Check out these site about available products and additional information:

Dry-Cleaning your delicates

Dry-cleaning, most commonly used for our silks, wools, linens and leathers seemed to be a harmless way to get the job done.  However the most commonly used chemical in dry cleaning is perchloroethylene, which to our misfortune has been labeled as a carcinogenic chemical.  Studies show that perchloroethylene can cause menstrual irregularities, fertility problems and even spontaneous abortions among women who work at dry-cleaning facilities. Aside from the toxicity of the cleaning agents there is also the issue with dry-clean extras such as the plastic bags and hangers. Often time customers forget about these and end up throwing them away which later end up somewhere in a landfill.
 There are alternatives to dry-cleaning, such as the most recent developments with hydrocarbon technology as well as a take home application where a plastic bag is used to run your clothes through the drying machine. Another alternative option that dry-cleaning places are offering are Wet cleaning. Instead of using toxic chemicals a temperature controlled computer device  and combination of steam remove stains. 85% of stains are water soluble and the last 15 are oil based. For this reason Wet cleaning can achieve optimum results with simple water and mild detergent. Although dry-cleaning is not the hottest topic on how we can support our "going green" ways of living, it is yet again another way we can show the earth and those bearing children at our local dry-cleaners, that we care.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

All You Need is Water.

Who would have thought the development of a machine that produced electrolyzed water in the early 60's would help in today's methods for better eco-friendly cleaning. The science behind this contraption is still being debated, yet it has become widely excepted in Korea and Japan as a medical device. Setting internal health aspects aside the contraption's cleaning capability by using electrolyzed water has shown to be eco-friendly and effective. 

A water Ionizer has the ability to produce acidic (low pH) and alkaline (High pH) water. The water is run through an ionizer containing an electric current that splits the water structure to form two solutions acidic and alkaline water.  Acidic water with a pH of 2.5 is powerful enough to go as far as killing food born illness such as e-coli or as a disinfectant, safe to use on kitchen counters and appliances.  Yet the complete absence of harmful chemicals makes it gentle enough to come into contact with your skin.  The alkaline water of pH 11 works as a degreaser. Many farms use oil based pesticide on their produce to avoid having the rain wash it away, alkaline water is able to break up the oil ( seen in a video under references). The alkaline water is able to emulsify fat making it a great oven cleaner that is also extremely safe without the highly toxic chemicals that are usually accompanied with the household oven degreasers.

A carpet cleaning company based in Los Angeles by the name Zerorez achieve cleanliness on, carpets and upholstery by using alkaline water, claiming to get the job done better than any other conventional method while also diminishing the amount of allergens carpet cleaners leave behind.

It is hard to believe that something as simple as water can achieve all the basic cleaning needs of a household while being green and toxic free. If you are skeptical about the idea do some of your own research or visit some of the links posted below.  It could bring you a step closer to making an eco-friendly choice that benefits you, your family and the future.

 summary of benefits of cleaning with ionized water
-eliminates toxic chemicals in the home
-Helpful to those who are allergic
-cleans your produce by degreasing oil based pesticides
-low pollution potential
-Long term cost efficient
-Disinfects poultry, household surfaces


://  ( demonstrates the emulsifying properties of pH 11 )

And the Green Fun Continues…

By, Alisha Baker

It doesn’t stop with green cleaners…

No, it’s not all about using green cleaning products to help our environment there are actually really fun and interesting ways you can green proof your home. Everything from the cooking supplies you use to the activities you spend your extra time doing… the green possibilities are endless. 

Here is a list of ideas provided by the Environmental Working Group on how to make your home and a whole “greener”

1. Use cast iron pans instead of nonstick. Read about Teflon health concerns.

2. To avoid chemicals leaching into food, go easy on processed, canned or fast foods and never microwave plastic. Read about Bisphenol A, a toxic food-can lining ingredient associated with birth defects.

3. Buy organic, or eat vegetables and fruit from the "Clean 15" list. Find out more about the "Dirty Dozen."

4. Pregnant women should use iodized salt to combat chemical interference from the thyroid. Read about rocket fuel's effect on the thyroid.

5. Seal outdoor wooden structures. Order a test kit to find out if your wooden deck, picnic table, or playset is leaching arsenic.

6 .Leave your shoes at the door. This cuts down on dust-bound pollutants in the home.

7.Avoid perfume, cologne and products with added fragrance. Search for personal care products that are fragrance-free, or check the products you're already using.

8.Buy products with natural fibers, like cotton and wool, that are naturally fire resistant. Use our list of products and manufacturers to avoid the chemical flame retardant PBDE.

9.Eat low-mercury fish like tilapia & pollock, rather than high-mercury choices like tuna & swordfish. Check our Safe Fish List to see which fish to avoid and what's safe to eat.

10.Filter your water for drinking and cooking. How does your tap water stack up? Search our tap water database to see what you're drinking.

11.Learn your personal body burden. Take a step-by-step tour of your home to learn the toxic truth about how household products contribute to your body burden of industrial chemicals.

And it just keeps getting better…

That list contains information we should all know, who would have thought that our homes have the power to be so green. These tips along with the green cleaner tips through out our website and blog contain helpful tips and hints on ways to clean greener and live a greener lifestyle. These helpful tools only benefit you so check them out and enjoy our site and blogs!

Here are some more fun articles and tips on how to live a greener lifestyle


So what is really in these so-called “green” products anyway?

By, Alisha Baker

From one Skeptic to the next...

Yes, it’s good to research and be skeptical about all this greenwashing we’re supporting but the fact of the matter is, they really are natural and they really will help you and our environment!

What’s great about these green products?

Every natural ingrdient is described and explained… From where it comes from to what it does companies like Green Works aren’t trying to hide anything, they want you to know what you’re using to clean your home.

Check it out…

Here is a list of ingredients provided by the Green Works website used in Green Works cleaning products and what they do

alkyl polyglucoside
The top-secret cleaning ingredient inside our products? Believe it or not, it comes from plants. This plant-based cleaning agent is great at dissolving and removing dirt, oil and grease. all-purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, cleaning wipes, dishwashing liquid, glass cleaner, glass & surface cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent

boric acid
This natural mineral compound works to stabilize the natural cleaning enzymes that break down protein-based stains, such as grass, blood and chocolate. The result? Cleaner clothes done naturally. laundry detergent

calcium chloride
This mineral-based ingredient stabilizes natural cleaning enzymes and prevents them from breaking down. laundry detergent

citric acid
Ever wonder why hard water doesn’t lather well? It’s the minerals! This corn-based ingredient reduces minerals to soften hard water and help our natural cleaning ingredients work harder. dishwashing liquid, toilet bowl cleaner, bathroom cleaner, cleaning wipes

Like any natural ingredient, natural dyes do have a shelf life. That’s why we add a very small amount of synthetic colorant (less than 0.1%) to our products for a bit of color. all-purpose cleaner, dishwashing liquid, toilet bowl cleaner, glass cleaner, laundry detergent

Grass, food, blood? No problem! The natural soil remover in our laundry products attacks protein-and starch-based stains to get your clothes fresh and stain-free — naturally! laundry detergent

Streaks begone! This corn-based alcohol allows our products to dry quickly for a streak-free shine. all-purpose cleaner, dishwashing liquid, cleaning wipes, glass & surface cleaner, glass cleaner

fragrance with essential oils
Natural fragrances can go bad over time, which is why our products contain synthetic fragrances with oils extracted from plants that leave behind a clean, fresh scent. all-purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, chlorine-free bleach, cleaning wipes, dishwashing liquid, glass cleaner, glass & surface cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent

This plant-based ingredient prevents streaking and ensures that our products are effective even when the temperature drops. cleaning wipes, glass & surface cleaner, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid

hydrogen peroxide
Meet nature’s stain remover! This oxygen-based bleaching agent is like a water molecule plus an extra oxygen atom. It does not contain chlorine bleach and is safe for use on colored fabrics. chlorine-free bleach

lactic acid
The main culprit behind those pesky rings in your toilet bowl? Hard water. This corn-based compound softens hard water, which helps our cleaning ingredients work more effectively for a toilet that’s absolutely spotless. toilet bowl cleaner

lauramine oxide
This plant-based cleaning ingredient dissolves and removes dirt, oil and grease — and produces rich suds for sparkling-clean dishes. dishwashing liquid

oleic acid
This plant-based cleaning ingredient prevents excessive foaming, which is what makes our laundry detergent great for high-efficiency (HE) washing machines. Remember: just a little can go a long way! laundry detergent

potassium carbonate
This mineral-based ingredient increases the pH levels in our products for improved cleaning performance. all-purpose cleaner

potassium citrate
Because natural cleaning ingredients can degrade over time, we use this plant-based buffer to balance pH levels and prevent our stain-fighting ingredients from breaking down. all-purpose cleaner

Like anything that’s natural, the natural cleaning ingredients in our products can go bad over time. That’s why we add a small amount of preservative (less than 0.5%) to keep our products fresh and effective. all-purpose cleaner, dishwashing liquid, cleaning wipes, laundry detergent

silicone antifoaming agent
Bubbles are great when you’re doing the dishes, but not so helpful when you’re pretreating a stain or wiping up a sticky spill. That’s why a couple of our products contain an antifoaming agent that prevents streaks and unwanted residue. cleaning wipes

sodium carbonate
This mineral-based ingredient (known in the olden days as washing soda) softens hard water, which helps our cleaning ingredients work even harder. glass & surface cleaner, glass cleaner, oxi stain remover

sodium chloride
So what is sodium chloride? It’s just a fancy name for table salt! It prevents cleaning ingredients from breaking down and increases the viscosity (or thickness) of our dishwashing liquid. dishwashing liquid

sodium gluconate
Because natural cleaning ingredients can degrade over time, we use this corn-based buffer to balance pH levels and prevent our stain-fighting ingredients from breaking down. laundry detergent

sodium hydroxide
This mineral-based ingredient increases the pH levels in our products for improved cleaning performance. glass cleaner, laundry detergent

sodium lauryl sulfate
Derived from plants, this powerful cleaning ingredient works to dissolve and remove dirt, oil and grease. dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent

sodium octyl sulfate
This plant-based cleaning ingredient helps dissolve and remove dirt, oil and grease. glass cleaner, laundry detergent

sodium percarbonate
This oxygen-based bleaching agent releases hydrogen peroxide as it dissolves in water. This makes it tough on dirt and stains and easy on colors*.
*When used as directed.
oxi stain remover
Our cleaning wipes are made from 100% wood-based fibers, which is also what makes them compostable. Just throw them in the green bin when you’re done! cleaning wipes

xanthan gum
This plant-based thickener increases product viscosity, which means that our toilet bowl cleaner will cling to stains instead of running down the sides. toilet
bowl cleaner

Now That You Know…

As you can see green advocates aren’t hiding anything they just want your household to contain natural products enabling YOU to live a healthier and happier life.

To check out more ingredients and reasons why you should switch out those toxic cleaners for green ones check out the Green Works website! 


What is really in your cleaning products…?

 By, Alisha Baker

We all do it…

We all do it, buy what cleaning supplies are cheapest with the mindset that all cleaning products are made of the same ingredients. But what you don’t know is that this is NOT the case… Household cleaning products we put under the sinks and in the cupboards in reach of children and pets are filled with chemicals most of us can’t even pronounce. 

What it means to be natural

All Green Works are made of 95-99% natural ingredients, which come straight from our very own mother nature. I know what you’re thinking… what about the other 1% and 5%? Well like any fruit or vegetable in your home now natural products go bad so Green Works use preservatives to make the product last and make your money stretch further.

Why fill your home with cleaners filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce which, most likely means aren’t good for you use of ingest in your body. No need to stress about what products you can buy to get rid of those not-so-natural cleaners Green Works cleaning products has everything you’ll need to go natural. Green Works describes their natural home care products posses 4 things 1) contain natural ingredients 2) avoid any ingredients with suspected human health risks 3) use no animal testing, and 4) use biodegradable ingredients along with environmental sustainable packaging.

I know what you’re thinking…

Green cleaning products are more expensive than the products I normally buy…why is that? Well, like any good thing it costs a little more to make it! Unfortunately, the stuff that’s good for like the natural ingredients in green cleaners are more expensive to produce. All in all buying green cleaning products like the ones Green Works provide is not only a healthier alternative for our environment but also healthier for the consumer, YOU!

To find out more check out the Green Work’s website


Friday, August 17, 2012

Avoiding Harmful Effects to Your Health from Cleaning Supplies

            There is no doubt that it is important to both our health and psyche to keep our surroundings clean. It is important to be able to kill harmful fungal spores and bacteria that can make us sick and to clean up spills that can allow insects and other animals to reproduce. Due to this, some companies have spent years convincing us that we need their products in order to stay healthy. The harsh reality is that we don’t need their products to keep a clean house (baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice are all very effective cleaners) and their products are actually very harmful to our health. For example, mixing baking soda and vinegar produces water, carbon dioxide, and a tasty salt called sodium acetate (a key component of salt and vinegar chips), while mixing bleach and ammonia produces a very toxic gas known as chloramine. Even some of today’s green products can be harmful to your health, so it is important to tread carefully when picking out cleaning products. Should you still choose to use “regular” cleaning supplies instead of switching to baking soda and vinegar, know that there are some things you can do to avoid their harmful effects.
           The main thing to do to avoid harm to your health is to make sure that you NEVER mix cleaning products together to get a “better clean.” First of all, this will not give you a better clean, and secondly could produce some very dangerous chemicals.
Also, it is important to make the area you are working in as well ventilated as possible. This means doing things like, keeping the bathroom door open and the fan on when you clean the bathroom, and keeping windows and doors open to create a cross breeze when possible. Remember that when things are warmer they volatilize more, meaning more of the chemicals can enter your body through your lungs.
If ventilation is not an option consider getting a filter respirator. They may look funny, but they do a very good job of keeping noxious gasses out of your lungs.
Always wear gloves when handling cleaning supplies as they are designed to break down organic matter (which you yourself are composed of). In addition to this it is also a good idea to wear goggles to avoid getting chemicals in your eyes. If you were to get any cleaning chemicals on your body you should wash them off with water for 10 to 15 minutes. Should you get them in your eyes, wash your eyes with water for 15 minutes and then consult a poison control center. Should you swallow some chemicals call the poison control center IMEDIATELY!
In addition to this it is important to make sure that you do not spray any cleaning products around your food because small amounts of the products will get on the food.
In the end however, the best way to make sure that you are not harmed by the cleaning supplies you use is to really make sure you know what chemicals you are using and to try to use safe alternatives rather than those dodgy products with multi-million dollar marketing campaigns that don’t even have to list their ingredients on the labels.

Works Cited:
"Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals." American Lung Association, n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2012. <>.
"Why You Shouldn't Mix Bleach and Ammonia - Bleach and Ammonia Chemical Reactions." Chemistry. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2012. <>.
"Google." Google. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2012. <>.

Go Green!

Go Green!

Over the past couple of years there has been the “green movement.” It has become fashionable to be environmentally safe and friendly, there is no exception when it comes to cleaning supplies. What is green cleaning you might ask, green cleaning is cleaning that is done with organic cleaning products. These products are toxin free and do not contain harmful chemicals that many popular commercial products do. Companies that market and product green cleaning products are even held too much higher standards than what is required by both state and federal regulations.
There are many benefits and reasons for going green when it comes to cleaning. One of the main reasons is to finally address the vast amount of illnesses that have recently appeared that are the result of constant exposure to some commercially branded cleaning products. In using these products we are not only harming ourselves, but the environment as well. As previously stated there are many benefits to green cleaning. One of the most obvious benefits is the fact that it minimizes, and ideally eliminates toxins in our environment. Using green-cleaning products also protects our health as well.
There are several other ways to go green when it comes to cleaning besides just using environmentally safe cleaning products. The following list provides a list of helpful tips to help you clean green:
1.)  Avoid poor indoor air quality
2.)  Use backing soda as an air freshener and odor remover
3.)  Clean your indoor air naturally, skip the store bought air fresheners
4.)  Throw away your previously used toxic cleaners
5.)  Avoid conventional dry cleaners
6.)  Don’t have time to clean? Hire a green house cleaning service to do it for you
7.)  Leave your shoes outside, don’t bring the filth from the outside world into your green home

Now that you are armed with the knowledge and tools necessary to go green when it comes to cleaning, you have no excuse not to! If you still aren’t sold on the idea, do a little more research, or start gradually you really will see a difference. It is important to consider the future, not only for us but also for those to come.

-Christina Hampson

Works Cited:

"How to Go Green: Cleaning." TreeHugger. Team Tree Hugger, 30 Jan. 2007. Web. 9 Aug. 2012. <>.

"The Benefits of Organic Cleaning Products." The Benefits of Organic Cleaning Products. Global Healing Center, 2012. Web. 10 Aug. 2012. <>.

Simply Not So Green

Although Simple Green is labeled non-toxic it contains a very harmful chemical called 2-butoxyethanol and 92 other chemicals according to  2-butoxyethanol when experimented on lab animals has been found to damage red blood cells.  Among these ninety-two other chemicals two more can be deemed very harmful; acetaldehyde as well as formaldehyde which both are linked to cancer and formaldehyde to asthma.   While no proof can be found that this exact formula has caused damage to the environment, the individual chemicals are known to be destructive.  Another harmful chemical which can be found on California's list of toxic ingredients is ethylene glycol butyl ether or EGBE which has shown reproductive damage, testicular damage and birth defects.  The label "Simple Green," can be misleading to many consumers who blindly assume that the company is referring to the environmental integrity of the green labeled product.  So it is important that we educate ourselves in knowing what chemicals our cleaners contain and whether or not those chemicals are harmful for our kids, food, green-goods and etc.  

Dish Soap. Friend or Foe?
By: Christina Hampson

There are many unnecessary ingredients in dish washing soap that don’t need to be there; some of which are even bad for the environment or harmful to people. Regular dish washing soap contains ingredients such as Alkyl Phenoxy Ethanols (APEs), diethanolamine (DEA), lauryl and laureth sulfates, phosphates, and synthetic fragrances. APEs are toxic and suspected to be carcinogenic, and are known skin irritants. DEA is a skin and eye irritant and a suspected carcinogen. Lauryl and laureth sulfates surfactants that can irritate your hands by destroying the protective lipid barrier on your skin. Phosphates become a problem when they create things known as dead zones by washing into streams and rivers, and eventually making it to the ocean feeding algae and bacteria along the way and letting them grow uncontrolled and consume all of the oxygen in the water causing fish and other ocean life to suffocate. Synthetic fragrances are just an unnecessary component that doesn’t need to be added. In addition to these dangerous and environmentally unfriendly ingredients, the way that dish soap is often packaged is not very friendly to the environment either. There is a lot of unnecessary plastic used in making dish soap containers, which not only wastes plastic, but also makes the containers heavier and more environmentally costly to ship around. Luckily there are some very effective environmentally friendly dish soaps available with smart ingredients and good packaging.
Following are some brands of dish soap that you can use instead of the soap you use now to do your part to protect the environment:
  • Life tree Dish Soap
  • Ecover Dish Soap
  • Method Dish Soap
  • Seventh Generation Dish Soap
  • Bio Pac Dishwashing Liquid
  • Satin Sheen Concentrated Dish Washing Liquid

There are some there are some bad ingredients in lots of dish soaps that make them bad for you and bad for the environment. There are however plenty of highly effective earth friendly dish soaps that you can use instead of your normal dish soap.  And remember, a few drops of soap is all it takes.

Works Cited:
Aguirre, Sarah. "Top 6 Environmetally Friendly Dish Soap." Housekeeping. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2012. <>.
Conrad, Jamie. "Harmful Chemicals in Dish Soap." EHow. Demand Media, 27 Dec. 2009. Web. 12 Aug. 2012. <>.
"Environmental And Green News." Harmful Chemicals To You And The Environment. N.p., 14 Jan. 2007. Web. 12 Aug. 2012. <>.
"Green? Or Clean? With Dishwasher Detergents, That Is the Question." Brave New Leaf. N.p., 24 Jan. 2008. Web. 12 Aug. 2012. <>.
"Surfactant." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Aug. 2012. Web. 12 Aug. 2012. <>.

Even More Reasons to Clean Green!

            This site is packed with information regarding the many reasons to go green and the products you need to do it. The top reasons to clean green are the environmental and health impacts it can create.

            Of course the environmental impacts seem obvious… no chemicals! However, a less obvious impact of the chemically infused cleaners is that the packaging they come in is also a big issue. describes why the packaging can create big issues for our environment as well:

“Not only are there innumerable products but they come in a great range of packages. Many products used to come in aerosol cans, containing a propellant gas, often chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which, although non-toxic and chemically inert, were proven to damage the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol set targets for reductions in CFC use and most aerosols now use ‘ozone-friendly’ propellants. But aerosol cans still contain a high proportion of packaging to contents and are not easy to recycle. Many products come in plastic containers, which are light and durable and can be recycled in some areas, but otherwise are very slow to biodegrade. You may be able to buy refills, and buying concentrated products or in bulk also reduces the amount of packaging.”

            The packaging can be damaging to our ozone layer and it also contributes to our overflowing landfills. This in turn affects not only our environment, but also our health! The ozone layer is an important layer of our atmosphere separating us from the harmful rays radiating from the sun.

Still need convincing? Besides these important health factors, the chemicals in cleaning products can create serious health problems as well. As informs us,

“When consumed or absorbed through the skin, they may have harmful effects, be toxic, cause cancer or cause birth defects.”

In addition, the chemicals in cleaning products can be very damaging to our environment, which, by default, can also lead to health issues. notes,

“The major concern is the chemicals which cleaning products contain. There are thousands of chemicals in common use and many have not been tested for safety, though the effects of many are known. They may pollute streams and rivers and may take a long time to degrade into harmless products. Some may not break down at all but may persist in the environment. These may enter the food chain, being eaten by aquatic creatures and perhaps eventually by us.”

Some cleaning products are so toxic that action must be taken. stated,

“Greenpeace’s ‘Chemical Home’ campaign sought a ban on the use of the most toxic products. Greenpeace identified domestic products that frequently contain chemicals from the European Union list of chemicals “Of Very High Concern”. These may be found in carpets and curtains, toys and televisions, computers, cosmetics and perfumes, but rarely labeled and never seen.”
Luckily, a few breakthroughs have occurred. One example is as states,
“Detergents are all now biodegradable, though some may break down quicker than others, but they often contain chemicals which may cause problems. Phosphates can cause eutrophication, upsetting the balance of nutrients in rivers and streams, while many products also contain enzymes, bleaches, brighteners and perfumes. People with sensitive skin or allergies may find these substances may aggravate their condition.”
            As you can see, there is still a lot of work to be done to improve our environment and protect our health. By making just one small life change and switching to green cleaners, as Ghandi said, you could “be the change you want to see in the world”.
***Note: The Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has an excel spreadsheet available that alphabetically lists hazardous chemicals and rates how dangerous each chemical is considered. A link to the website is available by clicking here

- Aimee Engle

Making Your Own Green Cleaning Products


As a blog all about green cleaning, we strive to help maintain our environment by eliminating cleaners with all those harsh chemicals. However, many of you may be concerned that even those “green” products aren’t completely chemical free. While most of these products are most likely free of any harmful chemicals, the EPA does not require that these companies list every last ingredient on their cleaners. So what is the best way to ensure that your cleaners are 100% chemical free? The only real answer is to make it yourself!

Before you get too concerned that you will never have time to create a cleaning product in your spare time or find all the ingredients, check out some of these green cleaner recipes that require only a few common kitchen ingredients and an empty spray bottle and only take a couple minutes! website offers these great recipes:

For Porcelain and Tile:

  • Baking Soda and Water: Dust surfaces with baking soda, then scrub with a moist sponge or cloth. If you have tougher grime, sprinkle on some kosher salt, and work up some elbow grease.
  • Lemon Juice or Vinegar: Got stains, mildew or grease streaks? Spray or douse with lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit a few minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush.
  • Disinfectant: Instead of bleach, make your own disinfectant by mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. It's easy!
2.     For Kitchen Counters:

  • Baking Soda and Water: Reclaim counters by sprinkling with baking soda, then scrubbing with a damp cloth or sponge. If you have stains, knead the baking soda and water into a paste and let set for a while before you remove. This method also works great for stainless steel sinks, cutting boards, containers, refrigerators, oven tops and more.
  • Kosher Salt and Water: If you need a tougher abrasive sprinkle on kosher salt, and scrub with a wet cloth or sponge. 
  • Natural Disinfectant: To knock out germs without strong products, mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. Spray or rub on countertops and other kitchen surfaces.

3.     For Windows and Mirrors
·      White Vinegar, Water and Newspaper: Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking.
·      If you're out of vinegar or don't like its smell, you can substitute undiluted lemon juice or club soda.

4.     For Rugs and Carpets
·      Beat Those Rugs: Take any removable rugs outside and beat the dust and hair out with a broom.
·      Club Soda: You've probably heard the old adage that club soda works well on carpet stains. But you have to attack the mess right away. Lift off any solids, then liberally pour on club soda. Blot with an old rag. The soda's carbonation brings the spill to the surface, and the salts in the soda thwart staining.
·      Cornmeal: For big spills, dump cornmeal on the mess, wait 5 to 15 minutes, and vacuum up the gunk.
·      Spot Cleaner: Make your own by mixing: 1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent in a blender, with 1/3 cup water. Mix until foamy. Spray on, then rinse with vinegar.
·      To Deodorize: Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the carpet or rug, using about 1 cup per medium-sized room. Vacuum after 30 minutes.
5.     For Wood Floors
·      Vinegar: Whip up a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 30 ounces of warm water. Put in a recycled spray bottle, then spray on a cotton rag or towel until lightly damp. Then mop your floors, scrubbing away any grime.
6.     For Oven Cleaning
·      Baking Soda and Water: Coat the inside of your dirty appliance with a paste made from water and baking soda. Let stand overnight. Then, don gloves and scour off that grime. Make spotless with a moist cloth.
7.     For Clogged Drains
·      Baking Soda and Boiling Water: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the problem drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water. If that isn't doing it for you, chase the baking soda with a 1/2 cup of vinegar and cover tightly, allowing the vigorous fizzing of the chemical reaction to break up the gunk. Then flush that with one gallon of boiling water.
8.     For Antique Linens
·      Sunlight: What could be easier than sanitizing and removing stains... with sunlight! (Just don't do it too often with fragile pieces, because they can start to break down). Simply lay your old lace, curtains and other fine linens on the grass in the sun for a few hours. Dirtier pieces can be dampened first.
·      Boiling: If that doesn't do the trick, fill a pot with water and bring to a boil on your stovetop. Drop in linens and let steep until stains lift.
·      Detergent and Borax: Mix dishwasher detergent and borax together until you get a thick rubbing paste. Rub into soiled linens, then rinse clean.
·      Peroxide: If you have stubborn stains, try spraying them with peroxide, then rinsing with water.
9.     For Silverware
·      Silver
o   Aluminum Foil, Boiling Water, Baking Soda and Salt: Keep your sterling shined with this seemingly magic method. Line your sink or a bucket with aluminum foil, and drop in tarnished silver. Pour in boiling water, a cup of baking soda and a dash of salt. Let sit for a few minutes. The tarnish will transfer from the silver to the foil. 

o   Toothpaste: If you can't immerse your items or are otherwise inclined to polish by hand, rub tarnished silver with toothpaste and a soft cloth. Rinse with warm water and dry. Instead of toothpaste you can substitute a concoction made of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.
·      Copper
o   Ketchup: To keep your copper pots, pans and accents looking bright and shiny, try rubbing with ketchup.

With these simple recipes, you can create a cleaner for any job. The products used are kitchen and household staples, making them even more accessible and even cheaper than the chemically infused alternatives. Creating a cleaner for your household cleaning tasks is even easier than you might think and by using these recipes you can achieve a clean home without breaking the budget and help to keep our environment clean on top of all the other benefits they offer!

-Aimee Engle