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RISMEDIA, April 10, 2010—(MCT)—Spring is in the air. Time to open the windows, let that fresh air in, and rejuvenate your cleaning routine. This year make that deep down clean as green as it can be. There are lots of options for eco-friendly cleaners that will help you do your part to keep dangerous chemicals out of the environment, both inside and outside your home.

The air inside your home can be polluted and in fact, could actually be worse than the air outdoors. One contributor to poor air quality inside is chemical cleaners. Through residues left behind on floors and surfaces or fumes in the air, these chemicals can contaminate your home. Plus, research shows links between these chemicals and a number of health issues ranging from asthma and allergies to reproductive problems. And the problems don’t stop there. When we put those nasty chemicals down the drain, traces of them bypass the water treatment process, contaminating the environment.

Unfortunately finding an eco-friendly cleaner requires a little work because cleaning companies are not required to list all the ingredients in their products. Even if they do, it’s easy to hide toxic secrets in their ingredients labeled ‘fragrance’ or ‘scent’. Here’s what you need to look for in a truly eco-friendly cleaner:

Start with reading the label. Those companies that are truly using safer ingredients want you to know it. If the ingredient list is a bunch of chemicals you can’t pronounce, it’s probably not green.

Look for the government’s “Design for the Environment” (DfE) logo. You can find it on hundreds of products and it means the product only contains chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency believes are the safest in their class. Method and Clorox’s “Green Works” lines both carry the DfE logo.

Not all green cleaners carry the seal. Seventh Generation products, for instance, opted not to put the government’s environmental logo on their products claiming they far out perform other government approved green cleaners and are much safer for the environment. In fact, Seventh Generation is one company actually pushing Congress for tougher toxic chemicals regulations.

You can’t beat the cost of some basic green cleaners. White distilled vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda won’t harm the environment and mixed together or with some warm water, are the most inexpensive all purpose cleaners you can find. Just don’t use vinegar on marble because it can damage it. For tough jobs like mold or toilet bowls, try Borax. It’s a washing soda found in the laundry aisle.

The last thing you want to do when you deep clean is pollute the air inside your home. Using chemical-based cleaners may get rid of the dust and dirt but you could be creating a whole other set of problems. So, do your part for your family and the planet and green up your cleaning routine.

(c) 2010 Terri Bennett Enterprises, LLC.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.