Last updated 3/3/19. Last edited 3/20/19
I set out to create a website and blog about least-toxic cleaning. In these pages you see the beginnings.
Well, my blog has jumped to the back burner. Because now I’m working two additional days per week at my day job. What else, but least-toxic cleaning. 🙂 In the past two years I’ve also added de-cluttering, sending out dry cleaning, and taking care of pets and plants. And some shopping. And house-sitting. And arranging for repairs as needed.
Also I’m building a new site, in the background. That means learning the Genesis platform. Once it gels, I hope to return to regular blogging! Meanwhile, sorry my home page is not appearing on mobile phones— back to a big theme search. Sigh.
And now for the important news— a major project for a client has taken priority. It’s what I call a cleaning detox. All happening during the client’s three-story remodel. For a sneak peek, read on.
What’s a cleaning detox?
Of course, a cleaning detox means different things to different people. Here’s what it’s come to mean for me. Along with the client, her family, and her Personal Assistants.
- Replacing unnecessarily toxic cleaners with the least-toxic products that work.
- Preparing products for safe disposal that we’re not using anymore. This house had roughly 65 types of products to safely dispose of. In our case a miscommunication got in the way. To find out what happened, read on.
- Cleaning—deeply and thoroughly as needed.
It’s a collaboration, really. We’re all learning on the job.
Why a cleaning detox?
Well, to quote from my very first blog post,
A healthy home is clean, and free of toxic hazards.
Finding practical ways to get there— and stay there— is the focus of my health-friendly cleaning service, and of this new blog.Regina
When it comes to protecting my clients’ health, I’d rather be on the safe side. Shortly after starting this cleaning detox, the family’s dog died from nose cancer. Then their cat died from lymphoma— the same cat who had asthma. We’ll never know what caused it all. But a cleaning detox never hurts.
Besides, the fewer toxics we all use, the cleaner our air and water can stay— for us all.
Replacing cleaning products, cat litter, and the dry cleaning service
The following changes are now in place during the ongoing cleaning detox. With support and feedback from the client and her other help, I’ve:
- Replaced most specialized products with multi-surface ones. The replacements are the least-toxic ones that work— effectively, efficiently and conveniently. All replacements are fragrance-free, as well. A few old products remain, including a fabric stain remover, that the client may need during the transition. I’ll compile my complete replacement list for you asap. Some are on My Product List as well.
- Replaced the family’s “proprietary” cat litter brand with Feline Pine—a more transparent brand, and fragrance-free.
- 3/20/19 update: I’m now testing tea stain removal for three stainless steel thermoses. So far, baking soda’s winning out over denture cleaner and Bon Ami.
- 2/25/19 Update: Switched the family’s dry cleaning from the hydrocarbon method to a new steam method that uses a proprietary detergent. I’m now researching a greener alternative called professional wet cleaning—with help from Megan Kalsman, in Small Business Toxics with San Francisco Department of the Environment.
Preparing products for safe disposal
Thanks to Megan Kalsman for recommending I include information on safe disposal, and sending me a link. It’s too important to wait until my new site is up, as I had planned.
Not down the drain, in the trash, or abandoned outside
Every household has hazardous products. Old containers of household chemicals can deteriorate and leak [like our old chlorine bleach did!], causing dangerous fumes and fires when stored inside your house, or polluting rainwater runoff when stored outside.
When disposed improperly, these products end up in the landfill or down the drain. They can leach toxic chemicals and heavy metals into the soil and groundwater. Workers can be injured when these products are crushed in garbage and recycling trucks or poured down the drain.San Francisco Department of the Environment
Communication is everything
Be ready for the unexpected.
The same week I was arranging for safe disposal at a Household Hazardous Waste Facility, the unexpected did indeed happen.
When I was offsite, the construction crew discovered the stash. Hearing that the client was “getting rid of it all”, they divided everything between them, and took the stuff home to their families. Just like that.
Clearly, I had missed a communication step. Well, now I’ll know better for my next cleaning detox. 🙂
Remodeling as a backdrop
A three-story remodel has been underway throughout this cleaning detox. Right now the family’s hunkering down in a one-bedroom apartment, where I hold down the fort two days per week.
At the apartment I’m cleaning, housekeeping, sending out dry cleaning, and taking care of pets. Along with some shopping for supplies. And being ambassador to fellow tenants— a tight community, long-established before we arrived. I’ve also arranged for repairs between the client, building manager, and subcontractors.
Throughout it all I research new products, field-testing the most promising ones. Someday I’ll have a test kitchen; so far, that’s my clients’ homes.
By summer, the remodel and cleaning detox should be wrapping up. Then back to blogging if all goes well!
More of the story when my new site is further along.
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Share your own experiences, or any expert advice— on Twitter @reginaryerson. I’ll get my blog comment tool working asap, along with all my social media buttons.