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Cleaning with Chlorine

By: Susan Gonzalez, RN

Chlorine is all around us.  It is in our household water supply.  That means we are drinking, it, we use it for showers and baths, and we cook with it.  And if that’s not enough, we clean with it and put it in our     laundry (Clorox, chlorine bleach) and swim in it.  Tampons (unless stated otherwise on the box) are bleached and the cotton fibers contain chlorine.

So? Isn’t that OK? If chlorine was so bad, someone would have said something, right?

Well there is plenty being said.

First off, chlorine is a harmful chemical. In liquid form it is a strong skin irritant.  It can “burn” your skin on contact (we’ve all gotten some bleach on us at some point I know) and it is a potent lung irritant if inhaled in gas form.  Anyone who has a pool can tell you, the bucket of chlorine used for the pool has to be handled as a “dangerous chemical” because it is.  When mixed with ammonia, it forms a harmful gas which when inhaled for just a short time will kill you.  (It bonds to the oxygen in your blood and without immediate medical attention, you suffocate)

It also has been linked to many forms of cancer including breast cancer.  A study carried out in Hartford Connecticut, the first of it’s kind in North America, found that, “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”

Chlorine bleach…..it’s the “wonder” cleaner. We love to pour bleach everywhere…down the toilet, down the sink, we use it on our countertops….etc.

Clorox is a household name.  And if the Clorox people had their way, they would want you to think that there is no other way to get your house and clothes clean than adding Clorox.

As far as your laundry goes Clorox is an “optical brightener”. That means it just makes you clothes look whiter because it absorbs ultra violet light and emits it back as blue light. So your clothes look cleaner, but really are not.

Clorox (and any bleach) when mixed with water and the dirt from clothes, forms new toxic chemicals called organochlorines which can be cancer causing as well.

Use other products in your laundry such as chlorine-free bleach or put 1/2 cup of lemon juice in with your detergent.  Hydrogen Peroxide is a harmless way to make you laundry brighter as well (the same thing that is in the teeth whitener mixes) Many supermarkets make their own brand of this. The hydrogen peroxide exposure is safe, and when it goes down the drain, it turns into water and oxygen, so it’s much better for the environment.

I use both Oxy clean and the hydrogen peroxide. (my family likes my whites white)

When it comes to cleaning, there are a lot of options.  One of my favorite cleaners that does an amazing job in the kitchen and bath is BarKeeper’s Friend. It does not contain chlorine bleach, but you would think it does. I have found the powder works a bit better than the liquid.

 

Excerpt from The Savvy Sister blog. Click here to visit her website for more healthy living articles.

Understanding the Relevance of the pH Scale


Posted on January 13, 2012
By Gary Fage

Understanding the relevance of the pH scale when carrying out cleaning tasks is vital to anyone that is serious about commercial cleaning

In general terms acidic products (less than pH 7) have descaling properties. Alkaline products (greater than pH 7) have degreasing properties.

The pH Scale is a means of measuring the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a cleaning agent or solution, simple, easy-to-understand, numeric terms. The scale itself has a range of 0-14,with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. The mid-point on the scale is 7 and is classed as neutral and this corresponds with the pH measurement for distilled water.

Acidic Products

When a pH value of a product or solution decreases below 7, its acidity will start to increase. Most acid based cleaning materials will have a typical pH value of between 0.5 and 5 on the scale. Concentrated pure acids will have a pH value of approximately 0.1, though these would never be used as cleaning as cleaning agents.

Acidic products are most commonly used to remove limescale deposits from hard surfaces as they will dissolve salts that are not soluble in water.

Alkaline Products

As you can see from the chart, if the pH value rises above 7, the product or solution will become more alkaline. Alkaline products are particularly effective in removing greasy and fatty deposits from hard surfaces. They will typically have a pH value of between 11 and 12.5. Stronger alkaline products such as emulsion floor polish strippers will have a value of around 13. Caustic soda, which is extremely corrosive, will have a pH value of 14.

Neutral Products

As we have pointed out earlier, the pH of distilled water is 7 which is taken as being the purest neutral solution. However, in reality, any product or solution with a pH value of between 6 and 9 is generally considered to be neutral. Neutral products are commonly used for general cleaning procedures and include washing-up liquid and carpet cleaning solution.

How is the pH Value Tested?

The approximate pH value of any liquid product or solution can be tested using Universal Indicator Paper, a type of litmus paper you may remember from science lessons in your schooldays. After being dipped into a solution the colour of the paper will change.

The colour of the paper can then be compared with a colour chart, the colour corresponding to the relevant value on the scale. The colours are illustrated in the chart at the head of this section.

About Gary Fage
Gary Fage has been Managing Director of Janitorial Express, since 1991, he is a Director of the Jangro Group and Council Member of the CHSA. www.janitorialexpress.co.uk

10 Top Chemical-Free Cleaning Tips


Article: www.treehugger.com

1. Employ green cleaning products
As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market and competing for that coveted place of honor under your sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). But if designer labels aren’t for you, home-mixed cleaners can get the job done and then some. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything. Mix in a little warm water with either of these and you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner.

2. Avoid poor indoor air quality
It is not uncommon for the air inside a home or office to be more toxic than the air outside. This is because of the presence of toxic materials and substances and the fact that homes and buildings are better insulated than ever before (which is a good thing from an energy standpoint). Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out. This is especially important when cleaning your home.

3. Be careful with antibacterial cleaners
The antibacterial and antimicrobial ‘cleaners’ that many people think are necessary, especially during cold season, don’t clean hands better than soap and water, and also add to the risk of breeding “super germs,” bacteria that survive the chemical onslaught and have resistant offspring. The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should be avoided.

4. Help your home smell baking soda-licious
Baking soda not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it’s also a great odor-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little baking soda to soak up some of those odors and then vacuum it up.

5. Clean your indoor air naturally
Skip the store-bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or any other herbs you have a fondness for. Fresh chocolate chip cookies also have been known to create a friendly aroma. Also, plants may not make your house smell different but are good for filtering interior air–pretty much any broad green leaf plant will do. Peace Lilies are a favorite choice.

6. Toss toxic cleaners carefully
When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics & electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you (see How to Go Green: Water for more).

7. Avoid conventional dry cleaners
Conventional dry cleaners are the largest users of the industrial solvent called Perchloroethylene, or perc, which is toxic to humans and also creates smog. The two most common green drycleaning methods are carbon dioxide cleaning and Green Earth. Seek out cleaners that use green methods. If you do take clothes to conventional cleaners, be sure to air them outside before wearing them or putting them in the closet.

8. Employ a chemical-free house cleaning service
For people don’t have the time to clean their own homes, fortunately there are an increasing number of chemical-free cleaning services out there to help get things spic and span.

9. Leave the toxins at the door
Imagine what’s on your shoes at the end of the day. Bringing that oil, antifreeze, animal waste, particulate pollution, pollen, and who knows what else into the house is not good news, especially for kids and other critters that spend time on floor level. Keep the sidewalk out of your home with a good doormat or a shoeless house policy. Many buildings now include entryway track-off systems as a means of maintaining a healthy interior environment. Less dirt also means less sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming, which means less work, water, energy, and fewer chemicals.

10. Design with clean in mind
Designing houses and other buildings with cleanability in mind can create spaces that are cleaner, healthier, and require fewer substances to maintain. In larger buildings, good cleanability can also be a big money-saver as cleaning costs can often add up to as much as half of a building’s total energy costs.

TreeHugger is the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. Partial to a modern aesthetic, they strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information.

Green Cleaning: By the Numbers

17,000: the number of petrochemicals available for home use, only 30 percent of which have been tested for exposure to human health and the environment.
63: the number of synthetic chemical products found in the average American home, translating to roughly 10 gallons of harmful chemicals.
100: the number of times higher that indoor air pollution levels can be above outdoor air pollution levels, according to US EPA estimates.
275: the number of active ingredients in antimicrobials that the EPA classifies as pesticides because they are designed to kill microbes.
5 billion: the number of pounds of chemicals that the institutional cleaning industry uses each year.
23: the average gallons of chemicals (that’s 87 liters) that a janitor uses each year, 25 percent of which are hazardous.

CBC Exposes Dangerous Household Cleaning Products

The CBC Exposes Dangerous Household Cleaning Products that could be lurking in your home, under your sinks, and in your cabinets. Nov 2009

The Better Alternative: Chemical Free Products

By: The Chemical Free Cleaning Network

Scientific technical innovation is moving above and past “green” or “organic” products with progress in technologies that clean without the using of any synthetic chemicals.

Around the earth businesses and individuals are investing in a range of equipment and products that allow non chemical cleaning emerging and inventive methods.

From applying electric current to common water, to using the power of sunshine: new advances in cleaning technologies and strategies are making it simpler to clean chemical free.

A number of the technologies such as Sealed HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners, and hand applicators for liquid ozone and electrolyzed water are cost effective when considering the long term savings on synthetic chemical products.

Adopting a Chemical Free Cleaning plan in your house does not mean the outlay of thousands of dollars in using the latest alternative Chemical Free technologies.

Time-proven cleaning practices have been brought down through the generations could, in many cases, also provide effective cleaning results in the household.

The use of daily attention and natural, organic, chemical free materials located in each household could be mixed, combined, and blended in many ways to accomplish cleaning equivalent to the level of synthetic chemical cleaning liquids. However, keep in mind the even organic, green or natural products are not consistently synthetic chemical free.

There are many ways to help you in your move towards chemical free cleaning in your household.

Begin with reducing the total number of in-house synthetic chemical pollutants, and then check in the back of your kitchen pantry to select which daily products you want to keep for cleaning your home.

Get rid of synthetic chemical cleaners (but make sure that you get rid of them safely and securely).

You could help the environment, save cash and streamline your cleaning chore by changing your current artificial chemical cleaners with a few of the products discussed in this section.

 

The Chemical Free Cleaning Network was established by industry visionary Vince Elliott, B.S., M.H.S., who in his nearly four decades of professional experience in developing innovative cleaning strategies for commercial and industrial applications. He has strived to bring these disparate technologies and strategies under one connected organization to benefit building proprietors, janitorial service managers, homeowners, and our ecosystem as a whole.

The Activeion EXP – How It Works In Our Cleaning Service

The Doctors and Activeion HOM

Surprise! Five Things You Shouldn’t Recycle


Most of us feel less guilty when we toss something in the bin headed for the recycling plant rather than the landfill. Turns out, though, wishful thinking may do more harm than good. If you include some items that aren’t recyclable, you run the risk of your entire batch being shipped off to the nearest dump.

The best thing you can do is educate yourself about local recycling rules. In the meantime here’s the short list of common items that don’t belong in the recycling bin, no matter what your zip code:

*Pizza boxes. The oil from pizza can contaminate cardboard boxes, making it impossible to process them into clean paper.

*Napkins and paper towels. It’s not the paper goods themselves that present a problem, but the fact that they’re typically used to wipe up food, cleaning products, and other “hazardous waste.”

*Sticky notes. Their size, color, and the adhesive strip make them a better bet for the trash bin.

*Plastic caps. Curbside programs won’t recycle them, but Aveda collects them and turns them into packaging for new products.

*Wet paper. Paper fibers that have been exposed to water are shorter and therefore less valuable to paper mills, making it unprofitable to collect and recycle.

Figuring out which plastics you can recycle is often confusing. It’s generally well known that most curbside programs only take plastics labeled #1 and #2 on the bottom, but many people are shocked to hear that shape sometimes plays a role. For example, many communities don’t accept tubs (mouth wider than base), but will take bottles (base wider than mouth) even if the numbers are the same because these plastics are manufactured differently, says Darby Hoover of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Check in with your local waste or sanitation department to find out what the specific rules are in your area. You can also log onto http://www.earth911.org/ for a wealth of recycling information from helpful articles to its extensive database where you can type in your zip code for a listing of local resources.

Environmental journalist Lori Bongiorno shares green-living tips and product reviews with Yahoo! Green’s users.

Household Hints and Tips — Did You Know?

Grocery Shopping: When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you “squeeze” for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie. They are: Monday = Blue, Tuesday = Green, Thursday = Red, Friday = White and Saturday = Yellow. So if today was Thursday, you would want a red twist tie; not white which is Fridays… almost a week old! The colors go alphabetically by color Blue – Green – Red – White – Yellow. Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Clothing: Blood stains on clothes? Not to worry! Just pour a little peroxide on a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Works every time!

Stains: Permanent marker on appliances/counter tops (like store receipt ink) use rubbing alcohol on a white paper towel.

Window Cleaning: Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for inside windows. This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean. Don’t wash windows on a sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.

Toilet Cleaning: Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer. Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous China.

More Alka Seltzer tips: * Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets. * Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary). * Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.

Carpets: Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours.