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The Future of Green Cleaning

As we’ve seen this week, green cleaning goes way beyond baking soda and elbow grease; opening up the aperture a bit wider shows that there are lots of things, many of which we consider each day, that can be done to further embrace green cleaning. Ever considered green dry cleaning (we didn’t think so)? How about clothes that don’t require cleaning at all? Here are some TreeHugger tips for greening your cleaning, beyond just the spray bottles, that’ll become more viable (we hope) in the coming years.

1) Conventional dry cleaning uses a nasty chemical called perchloroethylene (or “perc” for short), and it’s best to avoid it; it’s a central nervous system depressant, and is listed as a hazardous air pollutant under the federal standards. There are three less toxic alternatives [www.treehugger.com]: GreenEarth, a silicone-based solvent used in modified dry-cleaning machines, liquid carbon dioxide used in high-pressure cleaning machines, and “wet cleaning” with regular water in computer-controlled washing machines.
2) We dug in even deeper with an Ask TreeHugger column [www.treehugger.com] devoted to the ins and outs of perc cleaning, as well as the relative benefits of silicone solvent, liquid carbon dioxide and regular wet cleaning.
3) Fred Butler [www.treehugger.com] (which, oddly enough, is parented by a German company) has seen the future, and it is green dry-cleaning (and perhaps the end of the corner cleaning shop).

4) You may be able to worry less about dry cleaning with the advent of self-cleaning clothes [www.treehugger.com], an example of lotus leaf biomimicry [www.sundance.tv] that could change the way our apparel works.
5) It turns out that the water lily [www.treehugger.com] has provided similar inspiration for biomimetic textiles and clothing.
6) In a different kind of automatic cleaning, we’ve spotted a hot new trend: eco-friendly cleaning services [www.treehugger.com] are the latest, greatest green thing.
7) If you still like to do it yourself, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) — the guys behind Cradle-to-Cradle; when they talk, we listen — gave certification to eco-nerd (and TV star) Ed Begley’s “Begley’s Best” cleaner [www.treehugger.com]; among other charms, it’s one do-everything non-toxic cleaner that can replace every toxic cleaner in your house.