Green cleaning companies cut conventional methods
Arin Blair has co-owned Fifi’s Earth Friendly Cleaning with her partner Tommy Good since 2006. “We both care a great deal about the environment and sustainability,” Blair says. “We also enjoy the educational opportunities that come up with this work and the conversations we get to have with our clients."
What is green housecleaning?
Blair: Primarily, earth-friendly cleaning is about the products we use, but it also involves simple acts like using washable towels made from bamboo and recycling any waste. We use Shaklee and Seventh Generation cleaning products, which are nontoxic, biodegradable and derived from all-natural sources.
This is a very different picture from conventional cleaners, which are often made from petroleum-based chemicals. These cleaning products can contain toxins such as hydrochloric acid, which is known to cause severe skin damage and is fatal if swallowed.
If you hire a green housecleaning company, ask what specific products they use and research those products if you aren't familiar with them. A great first step to finding out more about a household cleaner is the government's household products database at householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov. Also, ask the company to be clear that they use nontoxic and earth-friendly products at all times and in all places. Some green cleaning companies may use traditional cleaners in places with a lot of buildup.
Sometimes people question the effectiveness of green cleaners. They're just as effective as traditional cleaners. They will clean, and in many cases disinfect, surfaces that have normal dirt and buildup. However, they won't magically remove years of buildup from an oven or unclog a drain like highly toxic traditional oven and drain cleaners. The key to these areas - and for ease in all cleaning - is maintenance.
People who care about the environment, have small children crawling around, or have chemical sensitivities and allergies are more likely to request earth-friendly cleaners. But when they discover the cleaners work just as well as traditional products, and that they're affordable, it's an unexpected treat. They also may feel relieved of a burden they didn't know they bore when they were breathing in and soaking their hands in traditional cleaners. The scent of any earth-friendly cleaner is preferable to a traditional cleaner. Once you switch, you'll never go back.