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Being Green: Green Stain Removal

February 6, 2009

I’m hitting a bit of a dead end here.  According to recent studies (aka State-the-Obvious fests), chlorine bleach is harmful to humans and should be avoided whenever possible.  And while I’m not going to jump the gun and ditch all bleach entirely, knowing as I do the things bleach can do to the human body, I thought it might be nice to find a safer alternative that I can use to cut nasty counter stains.

I have yet to find one.

I started my search today by trying four different remedies popular in the green-cleaning community: baking soda, vinegar/lemon juice, baking soda & vinegar/lemon juice together, and hydrogen peroxide.  In the best scientific method, I tested their stain-removing ability by staining separate sections of the counter with Kool-Aid, then covering the stains with the bleaching solution and allowing them to sit for a few minutes.

The results: Not good.

Baking soda’s true power is in scrubbing, not soaking.  Even then, it only lightened the stains.  Vinegar, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide were equally as effective.  The best method was to sprinkle baking soda on the stain and add vinegar or lemon juice, but even this left much more color than desirable.

It becomes apparent that while most things in your life can – and should – be made greener, some things are a little more difficult.  So for now I’ll be sticking to bleach for stain removal.  If you’re concerned about getting chlorine into your system, a quick baking-soda flush will remove the chemical from your counter, leaving it clean and food-grade.

And if anyone figures out a green stain remover that comes anywhere close to the effectiveness of chlorine bleach, please let me know straight away.

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