Squeaky Clean: The Ultimate Guide to Cleansing Your Home

Give your interiors a good old rinse-down with our guide to non-toxic house cleaning.
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Decoding the Label Lingo

What’s in the cleaning products under your bathroom sink? Before you reach for the cleaner, learn what chemicals could be hazardous to your health.

Active ingredient: Usually anti-microbial pesticides are added to kill bacteria, viruses or mold. Avoid them — they are hazardous chemicals.

Chlorine-free/bleach alternative: May contain oxygen bleach instead and is irritating and corrosive. If the product contains chlorine bleach, it can release traces of chlorine gas. You may be at an increased risk of developing asthma and other respiratory problems.

Fragrance: Often contains a chemical cocktail of phthalates, a substance added to plastics to increase their flexibility, and other hazardous ingredients. Fragrance is unnecessary and can provoke allergic reactions.

Surfactant:
Chemicals that loosen dirt and grease from surfaces. Some are safer than others, but many like nonylphenol ethoxylates are toxic to aquatic life.

Solvent: Many are flammable and release volatile organic compounds into the air. When inhaled, they can cause respiratory impairment, neurological damage, reproductive harm and cancer. Stay away!

Definitions according to the Environmental Working Group, ewg.org.


Go Green

We talked to Jordan Ford, owner of Jordan’s Jungle — an oasis of tropical, rare and exotic houseplants in Pawtucket — about the best hard-to-kill, air-purifying plants for your home. 

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For the Kitchen
Sansevieria (Snake Plant)
Also called Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, this wildly popular (but toxic to pets) houseplant requires indirect sunlight, drier soil and little-to-no maintenance. It is another top oxygen producer and unlike many other species, it also filters the air at night.

For the Living Room/Office
Monstera Delicioso
Due to its large split leaves, this philodendron plant requires plenty of space and light and thrives in warm, bright areas. It needs to be kept moderately moist, but has good all-around air cleaning properties.

For the Bedroom
Peace Lily
This pretty white flower adds a touch of elegance to your personal space, is easy to care for and needs to be watered once a week. It is excellent for air filtration and is a top oxygen producer. It is also available in a variegated form.

For the Bathroom
Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)
Because it prefers low light and has to be watered only every ten to fourteen days, it’s okay if you forget about it every once in a while. The ZZ Plant is a top oxygen producer and removes a number of pollutants from the air, however it is toxic to pets.

 


The Ultimate Cleaning Checklist

What to clean and when.

Everyday
Cellphone
Coffee Mug
Remote Control
Kitchen Counters
Bathroom Counters
Purse/Backpack
Computer Keyboard

Every Week

Bath Towels
Bed Sheets
Bathroom Toilet
Vacuum/wash floors

Every Month
Microwave
Bathmat
Refrigerator
Shower Curtain and Liner
Comforter/Duvet
Light Fixtures
Oven
Windows

Every Year
Curtains
Carpet
(professional steam clean)
Fireplace/Chimney

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