Green Cleaning Options
We use the following simple and non-toxic products (but are happy to use any products you prefer):
As an eco-friendly house cleaning company, we use hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, enzymes, all-natural scouring powder, organic soaps and essential oils, Murphy’s Oil. The only products we use that are not non-toxic are: Weiman stainless steel cleaner and 10% bleach solution reserved only for specific mold or mildew issues.
Why we use hydrogen peroxide & vinegar to disinfect:
“A food scientist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute discovered that a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, the same strength available at the drug store, and plain white or apple cider vinegar, when sprayed one after the other is effective at killing germs. It doesn’t matter which you use first—you can spritz with the vinegar then the hydrogen peroxide, or vice versa (You may need two new hand sprayers.) Tests showed that pairing the two mists killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, and E. coli bacteria on heavily contaminated food and surfaces when used in this fashion.”
(Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide as Disinfectants, by Judy Stouffer, B.S., M.S., SFO, Science News August 8, 1998; Vol. 154, Issue. 6; pg. 83-85)
WHICH GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS TRULY DISINFECT?
What the scientific research shows
By Suzanne Wuelfing
(originally published in the WNC Green Building Council's Green Building Directory)
In my role as the owner of a green home cleaning services company, it is my responsibility to determine which “green” cleaning products actually work. It is not enough for a product to make things look and smell nice; it must sanitize or disinfect. These two terms have specific technical definitions: "Disinfectant" is a legal term that can only be stated on product labels that have been proven to destroy or irreversibly inactivate 99.999% of infectious bacteria and/or fungi of specific microorganisms in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency's detailed guidelines. To be registered as a “sanitizer” requires a smaller reduction of 99.9%. (From Healthy Clean Buildings website, http://www.cleaningpro.com/products/a-z/b.htm#Botanical)
Making sure that your green cleaning products are sanitizing or disinfecting is especially important in the kitchen. Researchers say disease-causing bacteria and germs from uncooked eggs, meat, and vegetables often work their way onto countertops and cleaning tools, and the dampness of sponges, dish cloths, and scrubbers provide an ideal breeding ground for the bugs. Unfortunately it is very difficult to find good, hard scientific proof of green cleaning products’ properties since no one is funding such research. One can find endless claims of the anti-fungal, -bacterial, -microbial, etc properties of various essential oils and other favorite “green” cleansers on the internet, but actual peer-reviewed scientific research on the subject is non-existent. However, I have been able to find peer-reviewed scientific research in journals directed toward the food preparation industry that has crossover interest for household cleaning.
Here are two studies with direct interest for use in your own kitchen:
To easily kill bacteria on kitchen counters or cutting boards:
Keep a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a spray bottle of white vinegar and spray them both on counters or cutting boards to kill bacteria. This is based on a study by a food scientist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, who discovered that a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, the same strength available at the drug store, and plain white or apple cider vinegar, when sprayed one after the other is effective at killing germs. It doesn’t matter which you use first - you can spritz with the vinegar then the hydrogen peroxide, or vice versa. Tests showed that pairing the two mists killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, and E. coli bacteria on heavily contaminated food and surfaces when used in this fashion.
To easily kill bacteria on kitchen sponges:
You can place a sponge, wet, into the microwave and run on high for 2 minutes.
In a study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers evaluated the effects of zapping sponges and plastic scrubbing pads in the microwave on bacteria and viruses. The sponges and scrubbing pads were soaked in wastewater containing a dangerous mix of fecal bacteria, E. coli, and bacterial spores. Bacterial spores are more difficult to kill. The results showed that two minutes in the microwave at full power killed or inactivated more than 99% of all the living germs and the bacterial spores in the sponges and pads, including E. coli. After an additional two minutes - a total of four - none of the bacterial spores survived.
1070-1 Tunnel Rd Ste 10 #242
Asheville, NC 28805