Green Clean: How Natural Cleaning Products Can Be Used to Keep Your House Spic and Span

What do you consider clean? Would you ever consider using only water and cloth to get rid of grime and bacteria?

One blogger thinks you should.

Becky Rapinchuk — also known as the “Clean Mama” — is just one of a growing number of people who use homemade or natural cleaners such as plain ol’ water to keep their homes spick, span, and sanitized. “I make pretty much everything as a homemade cleaner,” she said.

Due to growing consumer concern regarding potentially harmful chemicals in traditional household cleaners, manufacturers have responded by producing a number of cleaning tools that are designed to clean surfaces such as kitchen counters, sinks, and bathtubs with just water.

Some manufacturers are taking the “green clean” movement one step further by creating versatile products designed for cleaning anything from a bathroom to windows and even floors. The majority of these products are made out of microfiber, which can clean surfaces with just plain old water, removing the need for chemical cleaners.

Clean Mama approves.

“For just every day wiping down the counters, cleaning surfaces, water and a microfiber cloth is sufficient,” she said.

Mr. Clean might be turning green too — with envy, that is.

Natural cleaning advocates like Becky are far from being alone. According to a study conducted by international market research firm Mintel, 37% of adults would be interested in using only a water and microfiber cloth to remove dirt, grease, and bacteria. Another 12% are already using water and microfiber cloths on a daily basis.

“And young adults, those who are … in their 20s and 30s say, are more than twice as likely and we think that’s an indication that the market is growing and that there’s a generational shift going on,” said John Owen, a senior household analyst at Mintel.

It’s a shift that more cleaning companies are noticing and responding to. “People are increasingly equating a clean home with a healthy home and a healthy family. But at the same time there’s also concern about the cleaning product ingredients. So for these consumers, they still want their homes clean, but they’re looking for alternatives,” Owen explained.

But do natural products really work?

Microbiologist Dr. Michael Schmidt explains that microfiber, which is smaller than a single strand of human hair, is effective in both trapping dust, bacteria and viruses.

“It’s this frizzy end at the end of this very small fiber that facilitates the pickup of bacteria and viruses from surfaces,” Dr. Schmidt said.

However, Schmidt suggests using a disinfectant, natural or otherwise, for situations involving a sick family member or after handling raw food. He also notes that while microfiber is effective in trapping germs, it does not kill them, and recommends washing the cloths on a regular basis.

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