Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good Cleaning Tips??... Almost.

This post is in response to an interview on ABC News Now - Cleaning Mistakes

In this interview, Prevention Magazine Senior Health Editor Lauren Gelman gives some cleaning tips including:

  1. Allowing a cleaning product to sit the appropriate amount of “dwell time” so that it is effective.
  2. Not mixing 2 or more cleaning products together.
  3. Wearing rubber gloves to avoid contact and absorption of cleaning products through skin.
  4. Wash pillows, comforters, duvets monthly.
  5. Spraying products onto a rag or sponge instead of spraying directly onto a surface.

For the most part, these seem to be sound recommendations; however her fifth recommendation to spray cleaners onto a rag in order to avoid inhalation of the product is questionable for two reasons: 1) you will likely be holding the rag/sponge closer to your face than just spraying the product directly onto the surface itself, and 2) most surface cleaners instruct you to spray the product directly onto the surface in order to achieve the proper “dwell time” –something that the author highlights the importance of in her first point.

She concludes the segment by cautioning consumers about the fact that there are no strict regulations in place about how a product can be marketed as “green.” Still, she says look for products that aren’t aerosols because “those are always greener than those that aren’t.” Not understanding why aerosol products (vs. non-aerosol) would influence how “green” a product is, I decided to do a bit of research.

I couldn’t find any facts that would y support why aerosol products are “less green” than non-aerosol products. This perception may still date back to more than 30 years ago when it was discovered that some of the chemicals used in spray cans may have been damaging our Earth’s atmosphere and ozone layer. Even though those chemicals, known as “CFCs” (chlorofluorocarbons), are no longer used to propel the contents out of the can, many people still falsely believe that aerosol products are bad for the environment. I also learned that the steel used to make the aerosol containers can actually be recycled at an increasing number of facilities across the U.S. For more information about recycling visit, and for information on recycling in your community visit

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