Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
15

There are plenty of biodegradable anti-fungals. For example, cetrimide is water-soluble, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and biodegradable. White vinegar also has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties But that's only part of the solution. The other part is to stop the mould returning. To do that, you need to increase the surface temperature of the areas ...


14

Baking Soda and Lemon should be on the top of your list. There are different solutions to use based the situation. I have found the following site useful for a more natural and safe way to clean food and stuff around the house, http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm


13

Try scrubbing with vinegar. You can try adding baking soda to the vinegar as well. I've used vinegar with great success to get mold out of clothes by soaking them in a 4:1 water:vinegar mix overnight.


13

In addition to Baking Soda and Lemon, as @Colby mentioned, I'd add that Vinegar will clean most everything; it is non-toxic and cheap. I've found it to be very effective for getting rid of molds and musty smells. If you get Vinegar on your food, who cares, right? You could still eat it, unless you don't like the taste.


8

I'm in the cleanliness is over-hyped in our culture camp, so I probably have a different outlook than you. But, I wash surfaces mostly with just water and a cloth. If there's grease to cut or I want to damage microorganisms, I'll wipe down with vinegar. I don't even use baking soda for surfaces -- just for burned pans and such. This mild sanitation ...


8

I only have one anecdote and avague idea: An agrarian schooling center (Haus Düsse) in Germany clean their PV System once a year, and clean/dirty means a difference of 10% effectiveness. However, as this is basically a small farm with lifestock, different grain treatments, lots of diesel vehicles etc. you would expect far more dust there than at a lot of ...


7

While I have no clue which one does biodegrade better I'd like to focus on some other life-cycle aspects of liquid soap vs solid bars. But of course it's certain that liquid soaps (need to) contain substances that are simply not required for a bar of soap - such as emulsifying agents. Liquid soap contains added water and is therefore heavier. Transportation ...


7

I've generally heard white vinegar, mixed with water, recommended as the best cleaner for hardwood floors. Can't get much more natural than that! According to various sources on the internet (for example http://www.cinhome.com/murphys.html), use of Murphy's Oil Soap can lead to the kind of sticky buildup you're describing.


7

The Eco Store in New Zealand offers dishwasher powder that contains the following: Sodium Carbonate Sodium Citrate Sodium Bicarbonate Sodium Percarbonate Sodium Metasilicate Lauryl/Myristyl Alcohol, Ethoxylated & Propoxylated Sodium Polyaspartate Amylase Protease If you follow the link above, you'll see the purpose for each of the ingredients in ...


6

You'd be surprised how much you can achieve with a piece of cotton, clean water and much patience. While camping, we're cleaning all pots with water and a piece of grass or leaves. It requires more time than using detergents and hot water, but it is possible. Fats don't dissolve in water, so you can use a bit of alcohol for them. Home-made, of course :)


5

Actions like those below are always YMMV / Caveat Emptor / DTTAH (unless you are confident that you an do it intelligently)* "Dryclean only" probably means that the product may be damaged in some manner by the normal asking process. If you can identify what factors cause damage to occur you may be able to allow for them of to prevent them. Sometimes the ...


5

Wash it in a dishwasher once every month or two. I own a Contigo mug, and once had similar problems with the plastic/rubber lid. I found some tips on their website, but ultimately found that if I washed the mug and lid in the dishwasher about once a month, the smell and staining would go away. I don't have a dishwasher, but find that I visit someone who does ...


4

Vinegar is known to be a cleaning agent, but I don't know what sort of stains or what sort of carpet, so it is hard to know if it would be appropriate in your circumstance. You can make homemade vinegar a number of ways, but my method of choice is a long-standing batch of kombucha. If I were in your shoes, I might produce a good strong kombucha vinegar, ...


4

Here is a good resource for compounds which can be harmful, although they are more related to health rather than environmental concern. That said, anything which is toxic to humans is likely toxic to other organisms, especially when concentrated and bioamplified. I'll summarize the environmental effects below: The really common ones you hear bad things ...


4

I work and attend classes at a University in Florida. Our 100kW system has been installed for more than five years without a single cleaning. I have walked the solar field several times and can confirm that no significant dust has collected. (The angle of inclination is about 27 degrees.) But, Florida rains a lot and that helps keep everything clean. I ...


3

I know that tea tree oil is poisonous when ingested, just like you said, but it is also toxic for animals upon contact. It must go into the blood stream by penetrating the skin. Because it exists in the composition of insect-repellents and plant fungicids, I presume that it is toxic to insects too. There are discussions at the European Union parliament as ...


3

Liquid soap can and should be diluted. As with toothpaste, manufacturers profit from consumers inadvertently using too much – often far too much. Dish soap in particular is usually sold explicitly as "concentrated", but the sustainability gain from less bulk is lost unless consumers take great care to use tiny quantities. Dilution is much easier. Packaging ...


3

Not an answer directly, but can make the resource gap wider: I'm similarly concerned about the amount of water used and found that the amount of water used considerably reduced, by making (or probably buying) a drill attachment to spin the roller sleeve. Last time I painted, I bodged something up -the amount of paint flung off was impressive even though my ...


3

As you're in the UK, the environmental cost of tap water is pretty low. And given that the alternative is to replace the roller, then although I haven't looked at a full lifecycle analysis, I'd be willing to bet that rinsing the old on is going to have lower impact than buying a new one: materials tend to be quite energy-intensive compared to the energy ...


3

The most sustainable way to professionally clean your carpet is not to. It's a lot easier to sustainably clean wood, tile, or stone, so to the extent you can, the best thing to be thinking about is replacing carpet with more sustainable flooring generally. However I don't think that's what you had in mind, and so I will discuss alternatives. National ...


3

I don't have any experience doing this but doing some research and thinking about the problem..... The solution may be as simple as adding vinegar to the rinse cycle. If the dishes are getting clean but not quite shiny, I would think the issues may be mineral residue left behind, and an acidic rinse may do the trick. One important note here is that ...


3

Since the comment mentions wool, the single best way to care for wool is to spot-clean by hand. You shouldn't need to routinely dry clean wool and hand washing spots out is perfectly reasonable. The big problem is that when wool is tumble dried, bad things happen so if it is bad enough you can always run it through the wool cycle and then hang up to try. ...


2

"Green Earth Cleaning" claims to have a green dry cleaning process that is completely safe. However, they also seem to be a bit confused by silicon and silicone, stating "GreenEarth cleans with pure liquid silicone. In essence, liquefied sand." My understanding is that even though silicone contains silicon, it's vastly different. It may still be much ...


1

If you don't add additional detergent to your wash (nor do additional wash loads because you believe your cloths come out without being cleaned as well) to compensate for any effects (real, imagined, or otherwise) of the added oils then you cannot be wasting detergent. You are using the same amount of detergent whether you add the essential oils or not. ...


1

The worse problem with dish soap water in composting medium is the salt which can prevent good composting and arm sensible vegetables once used. Maybe desalinate compost is possible? If your product is said to be "biodegradable", this means its components will be decomposed in reduce time. However, there are various composting environment, I heard for ...


1

I had a painful full-body hives reaction to Tea Tree Oil when applied topically. I suppose this was an allergic reaction or some kind of hyper-sensativity. Also, there has been some research indicating tea tree oil is an endocrine disruptor, even when applied topically, which means it has unpredictable effects on the human hormone system. (http://www.nejm....


1

Perhaps storing the soap in the refrigerator or freezer will slow the degradation of the soap. I am not familiar with the biodegrading process for BioVert, but in many cases, chilling a material slows the chemical reactions that take place. The soap is designed to biodegrade... It just seems like it's degrading too fast for you.


1

The two I would look at carefully would be citrus cleaners and turpentine depending on what you are trying to clean. Turpentine is the older traditional one, but is fiarly expensive compared to petrochemicals. It is destilled from pine resin. Turpentine is quite a bit more expensive than citrus cleaners. the cheapest I can find it on Amazon is about $30/...


1

I notice that vinegar has been recommended in two other answers. While it is true that acids and the low pH of vinegar are helpful agains mold it should not be applied to all surfaces. Used on various plasterings (typically of a high pH value) the vinegars acid is neutralized and fails in its anti-fungal properties. Isopropyl alcohol is recommended to be ...


1

As preventative measures in addition to reducing humidity, increasing airflow and sunlight exposure, I also find it useful to use oil warmers, diffusing essential oils, which have anti-fungal or anti-bacterial properties (e.g. lavender). The increase in humidity (the lamp uses water to diffuse the scent) is negligible compared to the effect. I am not a big ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible