Greening your spring cleaning!

Springtime means rebirth, the return of the sun and warmth… but it’s also about spring cleaning after the cold season! Unfortunately, popular cleaners often contain ingredients that end up in the air you breathe and can be harmful to the health of the entire family. Here’s an interesting challenge: why not try doing your spring cleaning with the least possible impact on your health and the environment by buying softer or less polluting cleaning products, or simply making your own!

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Did you know?

The average Canadian household uses between 20 and 40 litres of cleaning products per year.

Indoor air is 10 to 20 times more polluted than outdoor air.

If you want to purchase greener products, choose EcoLogo (a division of UL Environement), Ecocert or Green Seal-certified cleaners, 100% recycled paper towels, and products that come in recyclable containers. Beware of logos that may be making deceptive “green” claims—that’s called greenwashing!

Natural ingredients and their properties

Baking soda: Used to remove dirt and grease. It neutralizes airborne odours, and its powdery texture makes it a good abrasive for cleaning kitchen countertops, sinks, baths, ovens, stainless steel, aluminum, etc.

White vinegar and lemon juice: Vinegar does not mask odours; it absorbs them and removes dirt. As two acidic liquids, vinegar and lemon juice work well on residue buildup, but are less effective in dissolving grease.

Soap: Pure soaps with a vegetable base, such as Castile soap or glycerin soap, are better for the environment. They can be found in health food stores and are perfect for removing grease!

Salt: When mixed with water, salt kills bacteria by dehydration.

Recipes!

All-purpose cleaner recipe

½ cup (125 ml) of pure soap
1 gallon (4 litres) of hot water

Add a few drops of essential oils to give a fresh scent to the air around you!

Window and mirror cleaner recipe

3 tbsp. of vinegar
2 cups of water

Tips
  • Avoid spray or plug-in air fresheners. Try to eliminate odours at the source instead of masking them.
  • Reduce bleach use as much as possible: it produces fumes and is harmful to the environment.

Do you have other recipes to share with us? What are your tips for easy and environmentally conscious spring cleaning?

Sources

http://www.equiterre.org/geste/un-nettoyage-de-printemps-sans-produits-chimiques
http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/fr/a-vous-d-agir/trucs-et-astuces/recettes-de-base/

http://fr.canoe.ca/infos/environnement/archives/2008/04/20080415-150253.html

http://www.consoglobe.com/menage-de-printemps-4-astuces-indispensables-cg

http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/ENVIRO_FR/MEDIA/DOCUMENTS/CLEAN_HOUSE_AND_GREEN_GARDEN.PDF

http://www.option-consommateurs.org/documents/principal/en/File/guide_household_products_0706.pdf

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About the Author
Anne-Marie Gingras

A Communications Advisor with Cascades since 2011, Anne-Marie now also fulfills the position of Community Manager. She holds a BA in Public Communication from the Université Laval and a Certificate in Marketing from the Université de Trois-Rivières. As Community Manager, she is in constant contact with the public, sharing the company's newest innovations and reporting on its involvement within the communities it calls home. "I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work for a company that is responsible, respectful and transparent. It gives me a great sense of pride! Through social media, we are now able to interact with the population and we value this close contact. Cascades is an organization that encourages creativity and initiative, which allows us to develop in a very stimulating work environment."

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