THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT NEWSPAPER, Published September 19, 2009
GREEN TIDINGS by Cheryl Hahn
The kids are back in school and the temperatures are beginning to drop – it’s time for a clean sweep to get your home ready for the cold months ahead.
I’ve been cleaning green since we started our flagship company, Tomorrow’s World, back in 1991, but I noticed after my kids were born I became extra cautious with every product I purchased. Reading the warning labels usually freaked me out with images of my toddlers finding the bottle and having a toxic tea party. That was enough for me to put the product back on the shelf, go home, and conjure up my own recipe.
I had friends who laughed and couldn’t believe I didn’t use bleach. Sure we made the sacrifice of wearing dingy whites, but otherwise I never missed having bleach around to slowly eat away everything in its corrosive path.
As a very clumsy cleaner, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve splashed cleaning solution in my eyes. It’s great knowing I don’t have to worry about my eyeballs melting. It’s also nice to know my green cleaners help keep the earth from melting too.
Times have changed over the past few decades and manufacturers are finally making safer cleaning products for our home. But consumer beware: Greenwashing still prevails in abundance. Greenwashing is a term for marketing products, companies and services as being eco-friendly when, in fact, there are many hidden truths to the contrary.
Seventh Generation is a trusted brand that’s been around as long as my company, and I remember their early beginnings as a retail catalog. They’ve been offering safe cleaning products for twenty years; no bandwagon for them. The good news? You can now find this terrific brand on the shelves of many local supermarkets.
Winter will soon come our way, bringing blustery winds and cold days. Windows will be shut tight while we spray away with cleaners containing ingredients we can’t pronounce — and we’re forbidden to touch.
Today there’s no excuse for creating this type of hazardous home environment when we have so many greener cleaners readily available at many stores. Grab your rags… it’s easy to be a green cleaning machine.
Cheryl Hahn is founder of Norfolk-based businesses Organic Comfort Zone, manufacturers of organic bedding and Tomorrow’s World, one of America’s first eco-stores. For more information visit organiccomfortzone.com or tomorrowsworld.com, or call (757) 480-8500.