ISSUE 69  |  Clean Sweep

Cleaning Tips from a Hollywood Star? Strange but True

April 23, 2013 6:30 PM

BY Stacey Lindsay

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“I’m not a vegan, I don’t live off the grid, and I don’t wear hemp every day.” That’s Jessica Alba speaking, perhaps not the first person that pops to mind as the next guru of green living.  But in her new book, The Honest Life, Jessica Alba chronicles her personal journey to living a healthier and greener life and shares nontoxic cleaning tips.

The Honest Life features useful and affordable tips for leading a natural lifestyle. “I decided to write this book because I was sick of being told that ‘healthy,’ ‘safe,’ and ‘eco’ means ‘boring’ and ‘blah’–not to mention crazy expensive and hard to find,” she writes. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Alba in Los Angeles about her strategies for nontoxic house cleaning. Here are her top three practices; each one easy and affordable.

Above: Photo via Hans Blomquist.

1. Open Your Windows

Alba suggests letting a fresh breeze run through your space as much as possible. “The air inside the home is often more polluted than the air outside the home,” she says, adding that this is often from possible off-gassing from paint and furniture. “Usually stuffing is made from petrochemicals and synthetic fibers are so flammable, companies put flame retardants on it.” To keep toxins at bay, “open up those windows.”

Above: Photo via the BBC.

2. Replace Synthetic Cleaners with Nontoxic Alternatives

“It’s easy to make your own natural cleaners at home with basic ingredients like baking soda, lemon juice, white vinegar, essential oils, and a very simple soap,” says Alba. But occasionally, when you need a higher performing product for heavier cleaning, be sure to read labels and avoid toxic ingredients. “That’s why we have our products. We try to use the science and technology around performance while staying plant based.”

Above: Wire Mesh Door Mat; $42 from Lawson-Fenning in Los Angeles.

3. Leave Your Shoes at the Door

According to the EPA, wiping shoes on a mat and removing them at the door can cut lead dust tracked into the home by 60 percent. This simple act can also reduce other contaminants from entering the home. “Who knows what’s out there on the ground? Don’t trek in what you’re walking on all day long, such as gasoline, sewage and lead dust,” Alba says.

Above: The Honest Life, Living Naturally and True To You is available for $22.99 at The Honest Co.

If you’re considering making your own natural cleaning solution, Sarah has a vinegar-based solution to try.