Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Green Clean Options Plus Web Tools Allow You To Chart Conservation Success

by Quincy Yu

August 01, 2010

Green Cleaning Options For Hard-to-Remove Odors

Anyone that has ever struggled with a stubborn stain or stinky odor source knows the frustration of trying products and cleaning methods that don’t work, or only temporarily mask the problem. Many people approach household cleaning with dread, and with good reason—between harsh chemicals and products that don’t work, stain and odor removal can be incredibly frustrating, and even dangerous.

First, consumers need to consider the safety of the products they’re using. Then, they need to understand the nuances of cleaning different surfaces and stain/odor sources, which will empower them to clean green and effectively. For parents with small children, there is the additional concern—babies and toddlers spend more time closer to the ground or on it, and therefore are more likely to come into contact with harmful cleaning chemicals.

Every surface you clean offers different challenges – We have some tips for the most common household flooring materials:

For carpet: Determine what kind of carpet you are cleaning. (Nylon, polyester, olefin or wool) The best method of cleaning will depend on the type of carpet you will be cleaning. The wrong carpet cleaning method could ruin your carpet!

Regardless of what the carpet is made of, ALWAYS do a colorfast test on a hidden spot with your cleaning product. Regardless of whether or not it is a solution dyed or acid dyed carpet, the quality of the dye job is always a factor as to whether the dye will hold. You don’t want a bleach spot in the center of your living room carpet.

Wool carpets stain easily and are the most sensitive carpets to clean. They should never be treated with hot water. Nylon carpets are usually acid dyed so it can have problems with bleaching, fading and urine reactions, but responds well to most professional cleaning methods and treatments. Olefin carpets are usually solution dyed so they are resistant to fading—most chemical and bleaches won’t damage it, but it is very heat sensitive. Polyester carpets are usually solution dyed so they are resistant to bleaching, fading and soil dye reactions. It is not resistant to oily stains, and in fact an oily spill or spot left without proper cleaning can oxidize and even chemically bond with and become part of the fiber—treat a polyester carpet as soon as possible before a stain sets.

For wood floors: Minimize water and liquids on the floor. Natural wood floors expand and contract due to moisture. So wipe up spills ASAP, and definitely do not leave large amounts of liquids on the wood, as this will make it swell and possibly cause the floor to crack.

Don’t clean your floor with just water or any cleaner that requires you to use a lot of liquid; water/liquids are not your floor’s friend and cause the wood and the finish to deteriorate.

Do use neutral pH cleaners made specifically for wood floors

For Concrete: Concrete is porous. Yes, this very hard material is porous with lots of bubbles for liquid to hide and dry up in. If your concrete has not been sealed (or the seal has come off), liquids will definitely penetrate the surface and dry in the concrete.

Do not paint over or seal concrete before you get rid of the spilled liquid. Painting or sealing the concrete will not prevent the liquid from biodegrading (and throwing off odor!). You are just going to have to strip the seal off and get to the liquid once you find it has not worked.

Get something like a push broom and use this after applying the cleaning agent. Why? To get as much of the product deep into the concrete as possible. Remember, no cleaning agent can work unless it can come in physical contact with the odor/stain source.

Quincy Yu, is a fun-loving dog owner, and a former high-tech executive who is passionate about children, pets and cleaning her house. She is also President and Co-Founder of SeaYu Enterprises, makers of Clean+Green. For more cleaning tips and green inspiration, visit Quincy’s blog at

Web Tools Allow You To Chart Conservation Success

Now you will find more tools online to help you conserve energy as part of the Live Energy Smart initiative. The online Home Energy Inspector is a set of interactive web-based tools and reference materials developed to help you save energy, money and time. You can use the Home Energy Inspector in an estimator mode or establish an account that will incorporate your billing information.

Within the Home Energy Inspector, you can build a virtual model of your house to see how it uses energy. To begin, you’ll choose questions you would like answered. Those may include: Why are my energy costs this month different from costs last month or last year? Where are my energy dollars going? Choosing those questions leads to an input screen where you’ll build your home’s profile. This will take five to 10 minutes to complete. You’ll be asked for information about the style of your home—such as whether it’s a ranch, multi-story or condominium—and what types of appliances, lighting systems and HVAC equipment exist. You’ll also be asked about your home’s temperature settings.

After all of your data is collected, you’ll be offered low-cost solutions to reduce your energy consumption. Soon you can also track your progress as you continue to make changes to your home. If you create an account for the Home Energy Inspector, you will be offered an energy

efficiency kit that contains:

• Four compact fluorescent lights

• Two low-flow shower heads

• Three faucet aerators

• One refrigerator thermometer

• One hot water thermometer

Also included within the Home Energy Inspector is an area for kids, instructor guides for teachers, an energy library resource center, an interactive home that shows how much energy certain electronics use and information on the fundamentals of electricity.

To start identifying areas for savings, go to