Having just written about the best natural and eco-friendly hardwood flooring for cat households, it seems only fitting to follow up with a post on how to green clean your green floors. Although I’ve been green cleaning since the late 80s, I sheepishly have to admit that I’m lazy when it comes to floors, so I never really got into finding the best eco-friendly cleaning option for floors. I would just use whatever green brand happened to be available and didn’t care too much about the results. With the new baby arriving soon, I’m going to have to get on this as not only is my cat lying around on the floor, my baby will be crawling on it too.
For green clean floors, I thought it best to consult with Leslie Reichert, the “green” cleaning coach. Leslie’s mission is to teach and encourage others in the “art” of homekeeping and green cleaning. She is the author of The Joy of Green Cleaning, which is the first cookbook for green cleaning. It contains a collection of simple, yet proven green recipes to help you green your cleaning. Leslie was kind enough to send us a copy of her book and I’m eager to try out a few new recipes. I talked to Leslie about green cleaning and here’s what she had to say.
ME: What inspired you to begin green cleaning?
LESLIE: I had a huge cleaning service years ago and we all saw the effects of using really harsh cleaners in our health. I’m now very susceptible to different viruses and when I get sick – I get very sick. I personally think the chemicals affected my immune system. So after years of using “traditional” cleaners, I started looking for alternatives. I found that the green cleaners actually worked better than the commercial cleaners and they were cheaper!!
ME: Why is it so important that people with pets use green cleaning solutions for their floors?
LESLIE: We need to remember that since our pets are smaller than us, so are their processing functions for removing different chemicals from their blood stream. Their kidneys have to work overtime to remove the chemicals that enter their blood.
We also need to remember that their paws pick up chemicals off the floor and then enter their blood stream. This is why we need to make sure the cleaners on our floors are very green.
ME: That’s definitely a concern, especially with cats since they are constantly licking and grooming themselves. What do you recommend for cleaning hardwood floors such as bamboo?
LESLIE: I have found that the best way to know what is in your cleaning products is to make them yourself. The hardwood floor cleaner in my book, The Joy of Green Cleaning, uses white distilled vinegar and just a touch of dish soap to clean the floors. Also if you don’t want the smell of vinegar in your home, you can put a few drops of essential oils into the vinegar before adding it to the other ingredients. This will make cleaning more like aromatherapy and you may actually enjoy cleaning! Two other tools that work really well for bamboo floors are a microfiber mop with washable covers and an Eco sponge that will remove the black scuff marks without using any chemicals. Both of these are available at www.shopgreencleaning.com.
ME: Please tell me more about The Joy of Green Cleaning. Why did you write it? What are the benefits of green cleaning?
LESLIE: I wrote the book to answer the questions people constantly are asking. After speaking, I am always swamped with people wanting the recipes to different cleaning products they can make themselves. The book is a collection of over 70 pages of green cleaners, set up by rooms and items you may want to clean.
There are 3 real reasons to green your cleaning:
- The most important reason is for yourself. Since you are the one using the chemicals, you want to make sure that they are safe and won’t hurt you. The fumes from different chemicals can lead to asthma and allergies along with all sorts of funky reactions.
- The second reason is for your family and pets. We want to make our homes a safe haven for the ones we love, not a chemical cocktail.
- The third reason is for the environment. We have to be careful about what we pour down the drain. You never know if you may be drinking it someday. And we want to use renewable resources instead of petroleum based products. These are all great green reasons to try green cleaning.
ME: How can people get a copy of the The Joy of Green Cleaning?
LESLIE: You can buy the book on amazon.com and my book site which is www.thejoyofgreencleaning.com. It is also available as a downloadable e-book for $10 on the book site – how green is that!
ME: Thanks Leslie!
Here’s Leslie’s recipe for hardwood floors:
HARDWOOD FLOOR CLEANER
- 1 tsp dish soap
- 1 cup vinegar
- 16 oz hot water
Mix all ingredients and place in a spray bottle. use a dry microfiber mop after vacuuming the hardwood floor. Spray the floor with cleaner and wipe with the dry microfiber mop. This mixture will leave the floor clean without a waxy buildup.