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Green fall cleaning: A user's guide

Fall is the season for preventive cleaning . Here are a few eco-cleaning tips and tidbits to consider this fall. Matt Hickman, Mother Nature Network (

The heat is (almost) on

Before firing up your furnace and/or fireplace it's crucial to ensure that everything is in working order. This way, you'll lessen the chance of a dreaded "oh my God, something's wrong and I don't know how to fix it" situation.

Start off with the fireplace, if you have one. Make sure that everything is clean and functioning. If it has been a while since your fireplace has gotten a deep cleaning and inspection, consider hiring a professional chimney sweep to clean the flue and tackle any repairs, if needed.

If your fireplace damper is damaged or nonexistent, install a chimney balloon to keep warm air in and cold air out of your home.

If you have a washable AC filter, give it a good cleaning. If you have the disposable kind, get a replacement.

Inspect caulk around windows and doors to ensure that any leaks are nipped in the bud before the cold weather hits. Fall is also a good time to venture up to the attic and check on the condition of the insulation.

Green cleaners

Take a good look at your arsenal of cleaning products. Many conventional cleaning remedies contain caustic chemicals that can compromise the indoor air quality of your home — oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and drain openers are top offenders — so consider replacing them with plant-based alternatives or inexpensive DIY concoctions.

Nontoxic DIY cleaners: now is the thyme

Fall's the time to start prepping the pantry for the holiday baking season and for have-the-munchies-but-too-cold-to-leave-the-house kind of days.

While you're fiddling around with foodstuffs and taking kitchen cabinet inventory, why not experiment with staples like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice and make your own natural cleaning and laundering solutions?

If you've never done it before, you'll be surprised at their effectiveness (not to mention their money-saving appeal).

If DIY cleaners aren't your proverbial cup of tea and you're concerned about the presence of back to school germs in your home, try the newly released line of Method Antibac antibacterial cleaners, which includes all-purpose wipes, bathroom cleaner and kitchen cleaner. Like Seventh Generation's botanical disinfecting line, Method Antibac products are "powered" by CleanWell's effective, EPA-registered thyme-based disinfecting technology.

Not green, necessarily, but still a good idea ...

• Flip mattresses

• Inspect (and clean, if needed) the gutters

• Vacuum drapes/window treatments and upholstered furniture

• Clean the "four C's": carpets, cupboards, chandeliers, and (refrigerator) coils

• Wipe-down outdoor/patio furniture

• Test smoke/carbon monoxide detectors

• Wash the windows

• Organize your kitchen

• Launder all linens and bedding.

Green fall cleaning: A user's guide 10/30/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 11:29am]
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