Seventh Generation Ask the Science Man

Seventh Generation has a column called ‘Ask the Science Man’ and I often find answers to questions that have been lingering in my mind.  One of the most recent Q&A columns was about VOC emissions from paint, new carpet and cleaning supplies.  As a reminder, VOC (volatile organic compounds) are toxins that are emitted into your home from many products.  A huge concern is that not only are they emitted the instance they come into your home but they can constantly emit VOCs over time – some products emit VOCs into your home for up to 3 years!

Browse the archives to find answers to other burning questions such as non-toxic nail polish, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) in products, plastic shower curtains and organic tampons.  If you don’t find the answer to the question on your mind, then Ask the Science Man yourself!


Seventh Generation Disinfectant Wipes and Sprays


Seventh Generation has come out with another great line of eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning products.  This time, they have joined forces with CleanWell, using their patented technology based on thymol, a component of thyme oil, to create a line of disinfectant wipes and sprays, including both a multi-surface cleaner and a bathroom cleaner.

Their disinfectant line kills over 99.99% of household germs commonly found in your home, such as Influenza A, H1N1, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli.  Now you clean AND disinfectant safely, in one step.

Look for their new line wherever you normally purchase Seventh Generation products including mass retailers such as Target, Walgreens, Toys ‘R Us and natural food stores such as Whole Foods.

Print a coupon for $1 OFF any Seventh Generation product.


To Bleach or Not?

prod_laundry_bleach_64oz-free-clear_260x282For a long time, I’ve excluded bleach from our house and found other ways to clean where I used to use bleach.  I don’t like the chlorine bleach smell and chlorine isn’t good for the environment.  I haven’t missed my bleach except in the laundry department where keeping stains out of my toddler’s clothing can be a challenge.  A little marker here, grass stains there.  Mix it all up, leave it in the laundry bin for a week and voila – permanent stain. 

I recently was looking through Seventh Generation’s line of products and found a chlorine FREE bleach and decided to give it a whirl.  My first use was for an outdoor curtain that wasn’t taken down during the last 2 winters and accumulated some mildew over the damp months.  While it didn’t remove all the mildew ( and I didn’t expect it would since it’d been hanging there for 2 years ), it removed a lot of it and I was thrilled!

Through the ‘Ask the Science Man’ archives, I found that their line of bleach is intended for laundry stain removal only and is not tested as a disinfectant or sanitizer.  According to the Science Man, “Non-chlorine bleaches are typically comprised of low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or percarbonate which are able to kill many common bacteria, fungi and viruses. Non-chlorine bleaches are capable of reducing the quantity of microorganisms on laundry, although the ability to kill microorganisms when diluted in a wash cycle decreases antimicrobial efficacy.[1-2] For the best results with chlorine free bleach, pre-treat any highly contaminated items. ”

Even though the site said the bleach was intended for laundry stain removal, the Science Man did recommend trying chlorine free bleach on tile for grout cleaning so my next task is to take it to the tile floor in my shower.  I might rue the day we chose an all tile floor in the shower – it’s all little tiles so there is LOTS of grout to get mildewy.  If that doesn’t work, he also recommended three different options: baking soda/water, vinegar/water or a steam cleaner.  I have all three, hopefully one of them will make the job easy!

So, to answer the question: To Bleach or Not?  The answer is yes – but with a non chlorine bleach!  I’m a Seventh Generation junkie but Ecover and Biokleen also make them.


Green Spring Cleaning SERIES – Week 1

Spring cleaning is a great time to start incorporating healthier products and habits into your home’s environment. Instead of overwhelming yourself with all these tasks at one time, try completing one task per week. Each Wednesday, for the next 8 weeks, we’ll review one Green Spring Cleaning tasks for the week.  By May, your home will be cleaner and you can relax, breathing in fresher, cleaner air!

WEEK 1 – Green your cleaning products. 

Replace run of the mill ( laden with chemicals ) cleaning products with non toxic, environmentally friendly cleaning products. Seventh Generation is one of the easiest brands to find, they are sold at Target, natural food stores, many grocery stores and online. Bon Ami is a great replacement for Comet/Ajax and costs the same. You can find Bon Ami at natural food stores or online.

DIY – Old fashioned, do-it-yourself, cleaners are “sweeping into homes“,  especially in this economy as they tend to be less expensive.  Even Martha Stewart recommends DIY from all purpose cleaners to floor cleaners to carpet cleaners.  For glass cleaning, a spray bottle of vinegar and water will do the trick or a bit of olive oil and and a damp rag will polish your furniture. 

In a recent article from the San Francisco Bee, Mrs. Meyer ( of Mrs. Meyer’s household products ), says that tartar, lemon, salt, olive oil, ketchup and even bread have their place in your cleaning arsenal – I’m going to find out how to use them as they are always stocked in my cabinets.  Ashley Chapman, an Ask.Com Organizational Expert, suggests using flour sack towels in place of paper towels – we all know that I’m a paper towel addict so I plan to try that out, too. 

We use a combination of purchased and homemade products and continue to use more homemade solutions as I have time to test them out.  You can expect more cleaning articles and newsletters as I discover more ways to use items in our pantries to clean our house.  Use whatever combination of purchased and homemade that works best for you! 

If you want to jump ahead to week 2, check out the entire MGG Guide to Green Spring Cleaning.  You can also print a copy to keep it on hand for each week’s task.