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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Go green when you clean

STILLWATER, Okla. – The phrase “clean green” actually has nothing to do with the cleanliness of money in your wallet and everything to do with the quality of the air circulating in your humble abode.

Indoor air quality might not be top of mind for many homeowners, but levels of organic pollutants similar to ones released by select cleaning products tend to be higher inside buildings and homes, said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

“Since most people spend the majority of their time indoors, it makes sense to pay close attention to the air we breathe, especially at home,” Peek said.

For some, embracing more environmentally friendly cleaning habits might include making homemade cleansers from household ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda.

However, others will prefer to simply purchase healthier cleaning products. In those cases, consumers should keep in mind key words such as “natural” or “green” do not necessarily mean the item is nontoxic, safer for the environment or made with less harmful chemicals.

“Identifying true ‘green’ cleansers can be tricky,” Peek said. “You may have to do some research.”

Consumers can look for products with the Green Seal or the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice label.

Green Seal, an independent nonprofit that certifies products through credible, science-based, transparent standards, is the most widely used of multiple private-sector “green assurance” programs that use third-party certification.

Meanwhile, Safer Choice works in partnership with industry, academia and environmental groups to reduce risk to people and the environment by trying to find ways to prevent pollution.

More than 2,000 items carry the Safer Choice logo. These products are rigorously reviewed by a Safer Choice scientific team to determine each ingredient’s potential effect on human health and the surrounding environment and whether the product includes only those ingredients posing the least concern among chemicals in their class.

For more information about Safer Choice, visit www.epa.gov/saferchoice.

As a growing number of consumers look for environmentally friendly ways to clean, Peek said the overall goal is to reduce the grime, dust and pollutants in the home.

“Go ahead, clear the air, so to speak,” she said. “Your family will thank you.”

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Leilana McKindra
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Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000