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Use Your Nose – Green Cleaning 101

Submitted by on Monday, 8 February 2010No Comment

noseStarting a few days ago there has been a smell in my second floor home office that was beginning to drive me seriously crazy. I moved my office into this room a week or so ago, and have been moving more things in as the week progressed. Suddenly, there it was. The smell I couldn’t stand.

Because I hadn’t spent as much time in this room as I now was, I thought that maybe the smell was always here and I am just noticing it? I investigated everything in the room, took out newly moved items, and still couldn’t solve the smell problem. What could it be?

I just found the source of the smell. Thanks to my nose reminding me at every turn that I had to keep searching for the smell, I began to think out of the box. I even started investigating sources outside of the room, especially because the smell had a moldy, plant-like component to it.

What did I find? A seriously rotting onion in the bin where I keep potatoes, onions, and other “root cellar” type vegetables. The bin is in the kitchen on the first floor of the house. The smell just was wafting up the stairs and funneled directly into this room. Why wasn’t it strong in the kitchen itself? I am not quite sure, but suffice it to say that the smell seemed to rise.

ecogeeksbrought_to_you_ad2What if I hadn’t been hell bent and determined to uncover the source of the smell and instead sprayed air freshener around? I hate to think of how fetid that onion would have become before it was discovered!

Even if an air freshener is natural, I don’t recommend them if spraying replaces removing the cause of the order itself. (Besides, did you know that many air fresheners contain chemicals that shut off your ability to smell? I’d think a molding onion wouldn’t be very healthy… .)

Our noses are our best allies when it comes to cleaning, second only to the eyes, I think.

Here is another tip about the nose: One of the cardinal rules for judging the health of a house is to make sure that you pay attention to the first thing that you smell when you walk in the door. The first smell inside is always a critical and important clue to environmental problems.

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

Photo by hippobosca on Flickr.

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