April 12, 2011
Spring is finally here! This means warmer weather, blooming flowers, and . . . ahhh those pesky allergies. Not only has this year’s mild winter caused allergy season to begin about three to four weeks early, but over the past 10 years allergy season has started to last longer!
One of the best ways to minimize the onslaught of allergies is to avoid using common household cleaning products that contain bleach, ammonia, alcohol, formaldehyde, or fragrance. The toxic fumes of these chemicals are known to ignite allergy symptoms by causing irritation of the eyes and respiratory system – not to mention being linked to many other serious health concerns. Using natural cleaning products is healthier, safer, and more economical than their chemical counterparts.
The green cleaning experts from Maid Brigade compiled a list of six simple and inexpensive green cleaning ‘must haves’ to help fight off this year’s prolonged allergy season.
1. Baking soda. A natural sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is an excellent all-around cleaner that can be used in lieu of an abrasive cleaning product. Use it to clean kitchen surfaces, as a natural deodorizer in refrigerators, closets, and basements, or as an odor absorbent on carpets. Mixing baking soda with water and spreading this mixture in the oven will loosen baked on grease and grime. Safe to use around food, a baking soda and water paste is also ideal for cleaning the refrigerator.
2. Borax. Borax is a fantastic alternative to bleach – although remember to keep it well out of the reach of children and pets. Use it as a natural mineral to kill mold and bacteria or as a clothes deodorizer and tough stain remover. It can even flush out garbage disposals and shine china! Pour three tablespoons of borax down the garbage disposal and run hot water 30 minutes later. Shine china with warm water mixed with half a cup of borax.
3. Lemon juice. Lemon juice is a terrific cleaning aid. It cuts grease in the kitchen and cuts through soap scum and hard water deposits in the bathroom. Lemon juice also helps deodorize, remove stains, and acts as a bleaching agent when exposed to the sun. Mix half a cup of lemon juice with one cup of olive oil to make polish for hardwood furniture. Stick some lemon peels in the garbage can to keep it smelling fresh.
4. Distilled white vinegar. About as multipurpose as baking soda, vinegar is a natural deodorizer, disinfectant, and fabric softener, breaks up grease and dirt, lifts out mineral deposits, and helps cut through mold and soap scum. Use vinegar and water mixed together in a spray bottle to clean the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and windows. It can even act as a natural spider repellant. Vinegar mixed with hot water is also an excellent floor cleaner. Mixing vinegar with organic salts gives it extra power and scrubbing action.
5. Olive oil. An excellent pure treatment for wood, use olive oil alone or mix it with lemon juice for a safe and effective furniture polish.
6. Plant-derived essential oils. Use essential oils as natural disinfectants, added fragrances, and even antifungal agents. Peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oils are popular essential oils.
About Maid Brigade: Headquartered in Atlanta, Maid Brigade is the only house cleaning service that is Green Clean Certified® with more than 400 franchise service areas in the United States and Canada. Established in 1979, Maid Brigade is the green cleaning industry leader and has a longstanding legacy of providing quality customer service and consistent and thorough cleaning using the most advanced techniques and equipment. The company has also implemented a consumer advocacy program in response to reports from the Environmental Protection Agency linking chemicals in traditional cleaning products to a wide range of health risks. For more information visit maidbrigade.com.