Cleaning

Each Monday, the Metro News features David Suzuki's Queen of Green column where Canadians pose questions on green living. Have a question? Send it to queenofgreen@metronews.ca
  • Photo: Is there formaldehyde in no-iron shirts?

    Is there formaldehyde in no-iron shirts?

    Your suspicion about formaldehyde in no-iron shirts, also known as wrinkle-free, is spot on. To be sure, you could write to the company and see if they disclose the chemical... More »

  • Photo: 10 Brilliant uses for vinegar - room by room

    10 Brilliant uses for vinegar — room by room

    With 1001 uses, vinegar has a purpose in every room of your house. Especially when it comes to cleaning! More »

  • Photo: Non-toxic disinfecting

    Non-toxic disinfecting

    With flu season upon us, toxic cleaners can seem tempting. But natural alternatives like vinegar will usually do the trick. Of course, there are exceptions. (Pseudomonas, for example, is a... More »

  • Photo: Does vinegar kill germs?

    Does vinegar kill germs?

    Yes. Acetic acid or white vinegar is a great disinfectant. It also acts as a deodorizer and cuts grease. And you can tackle household bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and... More »

  • Photo: How to unclog a drain

    How to unclog a drain

    Chemical drain cleaners are some of the most toxic household cleaning supplies lurking under your kitchen sink. It's best to avoid them. Many drain openers contain sodium hydroxide (also known... More »

  • Photo: What's the eco-friendliest way to clean the bathtub?

    What's the eco-friendliest way to clean the bathtub?

    Phthalates, chlorine bleach, ammonia, sodium laureth sulphate, ethoxylated alcohols and fragrance are all commonly found in household cleaners and are linked to a range of health issues, including asthma, cancer,... More »

  • Photo: What is household hazardous waste?

    What is household hazardous waste?

    Household hazardous waste (HHW) can be found anywhere in your home; in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, and storage areas like the garden shed, garage, basement, and attic. Many... More »

  • Photo: What's in air fresheners?

    What's in air fresheners?

    Air freshener ingredients are of huge concern since many are made with formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), naphthalene (a suspected carcinogen), toluene (known to cause liver and kidney damage) and xylene... More »

  • Photo: How to clean granite countertops

    How to clean granite countertops

    No need to get sucked into purchasing specialty cleaning products. Try a simple mixture of baking soda and water. Mix into a paste consistency, apply with a soft cloth or... More »

  • Photo: What are soap granules?

    What are soap granules?

    Welcome to the rid-your-home-of-toxic-chemicals-and-petroleum-based ingredients club! Tested by the Queen of Green, my homemade green cleaning recipes are versatile, affordable, and eco-friendly. Soap granules or flakes are just that: bits... More »

  • Photo: What's the eco-friendliest way to clean a toilet?

    What's the eco-friendliest way to clean a toilet?

    You must try my green cleaning recipe, called all-purpose powder. It's very easy to make—it only takes two ingredients. All-purpose powder recipe: In a container, combine a 50:50 mixture of... More »

  • Photo: Why does non-toxic glass cleaner leave streaks?

    Why does non-toxic glass cleaner leave streaks?

    If you've been using conventional glass cleaners, you should take one small step before making the full leap to safer products. Clean up the toxic gunk traditional brands leave behind!... More »

  • Photo: What are soap nuts?

    What are soap nuts?

    Soap nuts are a natural, biodegradable and petroleum-free laundry soap alternative. They grow on trees in Nepal and India, but they're not nuts; they're actually a fruit. You might also... More »

  • Photo: Hand washing versus dishwashers

    Hand washing versus dishwashers

    Let me ask you this, can you wash and rinse a dirty plate with a cup of water? Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany found that, compared to... More »

  • Photo: How to clean a dock

    How to clean a dock

    It's best to dilute oxygen bleach and use it sparingly. Made with hydrogen peroxide or a mix of hydrogen peroxide and washing soda, oxygen bleach is gentler and less toxic... More »

  • Photo: Are microfiber cloths eco-friendly?

    Are microfiber cloths eco-friendly?

    There is an up- and down- side to microfiber cloth products. The upside of microfiber cloths: They only need water to clean streaks, smudges, dirt and grime on glass, mirrors... More »

  • Photo: How to clean bathroom mold and mildew

    How to clean bathroom mold and mildew

    Mold and mildew are definitely cleaning challenges! That yucky black stuff is a colony of moisture-loving mold spores. It grows on caulking (the squishy stuff that seals your tub to... More »

  • Photo: Does Mr. Clean Magic Eraser contain formaldehyde?

    Does Mr. Clean Magic Eraser contain formaldehyde?

    According to CancerSmart 3.0: the consumer guide, produced by the Labour Environmental Alliance Society. It says this product contains small amounts of formaldehyde. And formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen.... More »

  • Photo: Is borax safe?

    Is borax safe?

    Borax (sodium borate) is an alkaline mineral salt. It's a naturally occurring element but even things from nature can be harmful (like asbestos or mercury). Not unlike conventional cleaning products,... More »

  • Photo: How to clean paint brushes and dispose of paint

    How to clean paint brushes and dispose of paint

    If you're using low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, clean up is easy. Latex paints are water based, so brushes come clean with a little eco-friendly dish soap and... More »

  • Photo: How to avoid greenwashing

    How to avoid greenwashing

    Whether you're born to shop or find it a necessary evil, you're right to suspect that some manufacturers are making vague and misleading claims about their degree of eco-friendliness. It's... More »

  • Photo: Do eco-friendly dryer sheets exist?

    Do eco-friendly dryer sheets exist?

    Dryer sheets were actually designed to reduce static in synthetic fabrics only. But today, most people add a sheet (or more) to every dryer load regardless of the fiber. Dryer... More »

  • Photo: How to safely clean

    How to safely clean "dry clean only" clothes

    Most dry cleaners use perchloroethylene (or perc), as their primary cleaning solvent. Unfortunately, perc is a carcinogen and respiratory irritant. If you've ever brought home a piece of dry cleaning... More »

  • Photo: Are there safe alternatives to disinfectants?

    Are there safe alternatives to disinfectants?

    Yes! In fact, our recent obsession with germs has the Canadian Medical Association calling on the federal government to ban all anti-bacterial household products because of fears they cause bacterial... More »

  • Photo: Can indoor plants improve air quality?

    Can indoor plants improve air quality?

    Believe it or not, NASA created a list of the best air-filtering plants! The plants listed below are some of the most popular house plants, so they'll be easy to... More »

  • Photo: How to dispose of household hazardous waste

    How to dispose of household hazardous waste

    Hazardous waste is unwanted material or products that can cause illness or death to people, plants and animals. Correct dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) is important to prevent the... More »