Of course, you have to clean your home. But the amount of resources you use for house cleaning can balloon if you’re not careful. Team Clean, the Philadelphia-based janitorial service, points out that your automatic dishwasher likely uses between three and fifteen gallons per load of dishes. Your washing machine takes 16-40 gallons for every load of dirty clothes. To use them in an environmentally friendly manner to reduce the amount of water, energy and other resources being used requires efficiency, which in turn requires a plan.
Step One would be listing your cleaning chores that use resources, including water and energy used by appliances and water used for mopping floors. Where are time, energy, water or other resources being wasted? And can you reduce the waste with more efficient cleaning?
The goal here is to not intentionally waste your time or resources. So before any cleaning task is undertaken, set yourself up in a cleared area, without the clutter that can slow things down, and with the tools you’ll need at hand (that includes buckets, cleaning products, squeegees, rags and so on).
The Fine Print
With cleaning products, the label is your best friend. It has the instructions on how much to use for the best results. Following them will help prevent wasting the product or getting less than the cleaning power you need.
Step By Step
To take your cleaning seriously, plan your cleaning progress methodically. If you’re wet-mopping a floor, plan your route so you don’t cross your own path and mop over where you just mopped, wasting water. You’ll use less cleaning materials if you clean methodically instead of impulsively.
Cleaning Ideas That Save Resources
Kitchen: Fun Fact: Dishwashers use less water and energy than you do when you hand-wash a load of tableware. So the green thing to do here is to run a dishwasher only when it’s full. If your washer has an air-dry feature, use it and save the energy needed to heat your dishes dry. And please, just scrape the plates and put them in the washer. Pre-washing your dirty dishes only wastes time and a great deal of water.
Laundry: Take a little longer to stare at your washing machine to figure out what green options came with it. Make sure you’re selecting the right load size—running a full “Heavy Load” cycle for three socks and a pillowcase wastes detergent, water, time and electricity. Some clothes, like jeans and good shirts, can benefit from cold-water washing, which also saves energy. Use only the manufacturer’s suggested amount of laundry detergent; more won’t get your clothes cleaner. Once your things are out of the washer, hang-dry them if you can.
Floors: The more often you sweep up, the less mopping you’ll have to do. And when you do finally mop, the already-cleaner floor won’t require excessive amounts of detergent or water.
For countertops: Brush crumbs and other table debris off your kitchen surfaces before you spray or wipe them. You won’t need as many towels or rags to get the surfaces clean. So you won’t have to do as much laundry, and you won’t need to buy more paper towels as frequently.
Founded in 1983, Team Clean, Inc. is a commercial janitorial services company in Philadelphia. Due mainly to the service focus and vision of its founder/president/CEO—Donna L. Allie, PhD.—the company enjoyed huge growth. By 1999, it was the fourth-largest woman-owned business in Philadelphia, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center identified it as one of the fastest-growing small businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area.