On October 6th, I had the privilege to be part of a panel discussion at the Creating Healthy Communities Conference sponsored by the Highmark Foundation and Women for a Healthy Environment. The topic was Home Sweet Home: Make it Healthy. With me on the panel was Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, Executive Director of Women for a Healthy Environment and Jeaneen Zappa, Executive Director of Conservation Consultants Incorporated (CCI).

In light of CCI’s mission to promote responsible energy use in homes and buildings, Jeaneen shared numerous tasks that homeowners can do to help minimize their energy footprints in support of building a healthier home environment. Most of these tasks begin by simply walking through your basement. Jeaneen said that when you think of CCI, think of HAM (heating, air, and mold), as these are their primary areas of expertise. CCI is also a leader in the industry when it comes to residential and small commercial energy audits.

Michelle with Women for a Healthy Environment shared information on their Healthy Homes program. As the leader in educating and empowering women with regards to environmental risks, Michelle shared a valuable list of common food ingredients to avoid, including different types of preservatives and artificial colorings or flavors. ?

I represented the only for-profit business on the panel. I focused my portion of the discussion on three different lists our team has created over the years:

  1. Natural products that you can use to clean your home
  2. Key principles to keep in mind when keeping a green, clean home
  3. Critical ideas to remember after you’ve perfected the green cleaning and when you start to think bigger — building a green lifestyle

The second list is my focus for today. Here are some key principles to keep in mind for your green cleaning.

First, always remember the goal is to improve the air quality in your home. You do not want to do anything that may add additional damage to your current air quality. Obviously you want to eliminate unnecessary toxins in your cleaning, but did you know that when you use a broom you are actually just moving particles from the floor to the air? Use buckets of water and do not dry dust. We use HEPA Vacuums to replace our brooms, even on our hardwood or tile surfaces. Also when you go to apply your cleaning solution, you do not want to spray it onto the surface directly. Instead apply your cleaning solvent directly to a microfiber cloth. Why am I suggesting microfiber cloths? Microfiber cloths are made with finer strands of fiber, this tight knit enables even the smallest microscopic dirt particles to attach themselves to the cloth. This type of cloth also holds more liquid — so ultimately, the amount of water you use will be reduced. ?

Second, start at the entrances. Preventing the toxins, germs, and dust from flowing into your home minimizes your cleaning workload and only increases your chance for ultimate cleanliness. The entrances are always the highest priority, not just the door entrances but also the windows including screens and window sills. Here’s an easy one: encourage people to take off their shoes when entering your home. No, it’s not rude to do so. Helping to build a greener environment will never be rude!

Third, after the entrances, focus on the high-touch areas.?Your door knobs, light switches, control panels, and handrails. ?

Next week my post will show you key ideas to keep in mind after you’ve perfected the green cleaning and when you start to think bigger — building a green lifestyle.

I do hope you are enjoying these posts and would love to hear your feedback in the comments. Have a wonderful week!!

Seek Balance, Find Peace,
Jackie