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Since it’s unseasonably warm, maybe you are thinking about spring cleaning early this year. Here are some tips to keep your clean green.

Give Bleach the Boot

Switch from chlorine bleach to widely-available powdered oxygen bleach and white vinegar, which kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of viruses.

When chlorine bleach hits hot water, chlorine vapor is released into the air, irritating lungs. Children and animals are especially at risk, and for daily use chlorine bleach is far too dangerous. Production and use of chlorine bleach also creates dangerous toxins. Once loose in the environment, dioxin, furans, and other organochlorines accumulate in both people and animals. Studies have found direct links between dioxin exposure and cancer, birth defects, and developmental and reproductive disorders.

Daily Cleaning Alternatives

There are way too many chemicals in spray cleaners!

For daily clean-up, try a mix of 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon castille or liquid dish soap made from natural saponins, 1 cup water, and a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle.

In the shower, try hydrogen peroxide. Put a spray nozzle right on a fresh bottle and spray direct. Use an old toothbrush to get in between the tile. For glass shower doors, microwave some undiluted white vinegar and spray on. Let sit for 10 minutes and then scrub with an abrasive sponge.

In the laundry, oxygen bleach does wonders! Also, try adding some lemon juice to whiten. Dry your whites in direct sun for natural bleaching.

Eco-Friendly Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

Phosphate-free detergents don’t contribute to oxygen-depleting algae blooms that choke aquatic life. Chlorine-free detergents eliminate heat-activated vapors from irritating eyes, noses, and snouts.

Natural Clothes Softener

Add 4 tbsp. of white vinegar in your washing machine’s rinse cycle as an alternative to chemical-heavy fabric softeners. No, your clothes will not smell like vinegar, just clean.

Natural Carpet Refresher

Mix 3 tbsp. crushed dried lavender with 1 cup baking soda, sprinkle lightly over carpet, allow to sit briefly, and vacuum.

Green Furniture Polish Alternative

Mix 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 pint vegetable oil and wipe furniture.

Safe Silver Polish

Try non-abrasive plain toothpaste for light cleaning. For a penetrating soak (NOTE: no knives!), line a small plastic bin with aluminum foil and boil enough water to cover 2-3″, then add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of baking soda.

Non-Toxic Disinfectant and Sanitizer

Tea Tree Oil diluted with water in a spray bottle is handy at home and at work. For hand sanitizer, look for products that contain all natural Peppermint Oil instead of toxic Triclosan.

More on the WATD Southshore Morning News “Green Quick Fixes 5” Podcast