Why Green Cleaning?
The simple truth is all your cleaning should be green cleaning. Using harsh chemicals should only be a last resort because they can cause damage to surfaces, can be harmful to children or pets, can cause chemical poisoning if used improperly and can disturb the natural balance of microbes in your home. But just because there are down sides to using some harsh chemicals doesn’t mean there aren’t times it’s ok. Only in cases of biohazards, hard stains, molds, extreme build up or neglect should you have to use harsh chemical cleaners. Researching the cleaning supplies you use in your home is always a good idea.
As professional home cleaners, we see a lot of “bleach it” mentality. This is partly because a lot of companies focus on bacteria scare tactics to make sales. Kill as much bacteria possible has pretty much became an American cleaning slogan. But here’s the thing, not all microbes are bad for you. There are lots that help us in our everyday life and we don’t even realize it. In fact around 200 separate species of microbes live on your skin. These microbes create a delicately balanced ecosystem and prevent harmful microbes from gaining a foot hold. Just as there is a balance of microbes on your skin there is a balance of them all throughout your home.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean or use anti-bacterial cleaning methods. Anti-bacterial cleaning can help restore balance to your microbes’ ecosystem. A good example is how leftover food bits of any kind can cause a drastic upset to your surfaces because it provides endless food for microbes. With endless amounts of food the microbes in that area can now reproduce endlessly too. The only way to restore balance is to take away the food source and to reduce the number of microbes in that area with anti-bacterial cleaning. After the source of any imbalance is taken care of, the natural ecosystem of microbes should restore itself. Your surface should now be safe from any potentially toxins microbe overgrowth can cause.
To stop microbe overgrowth harsh chemicals aren’t needed. Using harsh chemicals should be a last resort. Just as you wouldn’t use a flamethrower to light your stove, you shouldn’t use harsh cleaning chemicals when routinely cleaning your home. There are many green cleaning options that are anti-bacterial but are safe for your home and its residents. Most non green cleaning options aren’t balanced in pH and are toxic. This means they eat away at the surfaces in your home and there can be harmful consequences to anyone in contact with its residue.
All surfaces in your home have a lifespan. When using harsh chemicals, it lowers that lifespan. This is because anything that isn’t organic can’t repair itself. Anything done to a non organic surface is permanent. Using harsh chemical cleaning also creates microscopic dips on your surfaces which ironically become nursing pools for microbes. After the damage is done your only options are restoration or replacement. Green cleaning normally makes use of balanced pH products causing less damage to surfaces over time but still providing anti-bacterial cleaning. Green cleaning helps keep your home in better condition for longer and helps prevent your cleaning from being counterproductive.
Another big factor when considering green cleaning over harsh chemical cleaning is toxicity. A lot of harsh cleaning products are very dangerous to have around pets, children, elderly and even fully grow adults. The marketing of modern cleaning has focused so much on killing bacteria it’s completely over looked the harmful effects these products can have on people and animals. When using harsh chemicals it’s very important to read instructions and have the proper safety equipment. Not taking the proper precautions can be life threatening.
I personally have had chemical poisoning from an everyday home cleaning product used in restrooms. Trust me when I say it was not a pleasant experience. A family member accidentally used a toilet bowl cleaner on the title floors of my home. I was unknowingly absorbing this chemical through my feet. After a couple of days walking around my home I found myself having trouble breathing, getting extreme heart rate elevations and started to receive welts from cold. It was a terrifying experience that lead me to take a closer look at all cleaning products I use and how I use them.
There are times that a harsh chemical cleaner is needed. Such as cases with biohazardous materials, molds or extreme build up. In most cases however, the use of harsh chemicals can be avoided by cleaning your home regularly. This prevents heavy buildup that requires stronger cleaning methods. If a home is cleaned often then green cleaning is all you’ll ever need to do. The lifespan of your home and the safety of its residence will be greatly increased.
At Maid Smart we try to use green cleaning whenever possible because the safety of you and your home is our utmost priority. We only use harsh chemicals when it’s required. This policy is not just for one of our branches (Princeton, Englewood and Portland) it has been built this into the core of Maid Smart itself. If you’d like to learn more please contact your local Maid Smart today. We’re always happy to help.
By Gavin Clement
Anne Maczulak, Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria. New Jersey: Pearson Education 2011.
EGW 2019, Cleaning Supplies and Your Health, EGW <Web Address>