Monday, March 29, 2010

Seventh Generation

Here at the mansion we try our best to be eco-conscious, and while we've got a long way to go, I firmly believe that every little thing that we do to reduce our carbon footstep is one LARGE step in the right direction.

It can be a struggle finding products that are green and perform as well as their non-green counterparts without spending an arm and a leg (or driving out of your way, wasting gasoline to buy "whole" products from the overpriced natural grocer). One of the things that we almost ALWAYS do, is buy Seventh Generation paper products. The reason isn't what you think. Mr. S. went to prep school in Massachusetts and his school happened to be near a paper processing plant. The smell of bleach permeated the air around campus, and ever since then, he looks for natural paper products (like brown napkins and paper towels).

One of my biggest concerns about using natural cleaning products is that they just don't seem to clean as well as the more traditional cleaners.  Seventh Generation uses thymol (which is made from the herb thyme) in their disinfecting products that can be used on all hard surfaces (like toys, countertops, plastic cutting boards, etc.) and kills 99.99% of germs in a natural manner.



I received a nice cleaning kit from Seventh Generation recently (including Disinfecting Wipes, Multi Surface Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, paper towels and more) and have been using the products for about a week now. I'm finding that the cleaners are doing a good job of keeping my counters, etc. clean and I like the consistency of the cleaner when you spray it out of the pump. Mr. S is in charge of the wipes, since it's they're so convenient and he actually cleans up after himself when there are wipes available. My kit came with a plastic tote to hold all of my cleaning supplies as well as the book The Conscious Kitchen: The New Way to Buy and Cook Food - to Protect the Earth, Improve Your Health, and Eat Deliciously.

It has some GREAT tips to help you keep a green healthy kitchen including



* Change is Good
Choosing cleaning products without indoor air pollutants like volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, is a simple and effective way to reduce your indoor air pollution. If you’re not prepared to switch everything overnight, start by swapping out the one product you use the most, and moving forward from there.



* Think before you spray
Residues from cleaning products can last on a surface for longer than we we’d like to know and travel to areas that we sometimes don’t intend them to. Don’t contaminate your food by prepping it on a surface that may contain harsh chemical residues - rinse cleaning products from food preparation surfaces carefully or use botanical disinfecting cleaners that do not require a rinse step.


* Home is Where the Clean Is
Your standard cleaners are good for removing soils and dirt from kitchen surfaces, but to tackle germs you need a cleaner that is effective against microbes like bacteria and viruses. Many cleaners contain ingredients that have antimicrobial properties such as vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, but the germ killing power of these is not necessarily guaranteed. To be sure you are killing germs, use an EPA registered disinfectant. Seventh Generation tapped into the disinfecting power of the common garden herb thyme, to provide a disinfecting cleaner that kills germs* naturally.


* Make the Old New Again
Think twice about the items that you’re using to clean and dry your kitchen equipment and dishes. Use rags (like old t-shirts and washcloths) instead of paper towels. If you aren’t prepared to kick your paper towel addiction just yet, use only recycled versions that are unbleached or haven’t been whitened with chemicals containing chlorine and see how long you can make a roll last.


* The Writing is on the … Sponge
Be sure to read the fine print on sponges and only purchase those that do not contain antimicrobial pesticides. Remember to store sponges in a dry place and frequently clean them by popping plastic sponges wet in a microwave for two minutes or boiling sponges for three minutes in water.

* Mom Was Right, Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands with soap and water before and after prepping food, and always before eating. So much of what can be potentially harmful in a kitchen can be reduced by this simple act that doesn’t require any harsh chemicals whatsoever.

So, now in addition to buying their paper products, I'll be adding some of their cleaning supplies (especially the Disinfecting Wipes) to my shopping list.

Thank you to Seventh Generation or sending me these products and information as well as this giveaway through MyBlogSpark. I was in no way compensated for this post and all opinions are strictly my own.
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