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Everyone likes a clean home, but few of us enjoy the chore of cleaning...unless you're like me. Some of my earliest memories are admiring my mother as she cleaned the house. I wanted to take part in her ritual from a very young age. Growing up in the 80's, our house was filled with brightly colored cleaning products –- albeit with Mr. Yuk stickers on them. The bottles had big promises and were adorned with even bigger tough guys on the front labels. Dressed in plaid shirts with bulging muscles, it was clear -– these men could do the job and therefore commanded my mother's trust. I wanted to join the affair, but she kept me far from those manly men during my early years, locking them away under our kitchen sink.
This left me with only one chore...sweeping. There I was, at 7 years old, with a broom built for a giant. I still remember the awkwardness of the dance. I honestly think I learned how to sweep before I learned how to run.
As I got older, I began to learn the power of those tough guys. Cleaning windows with yesterday's newspaper, I was eventually old enough to be armed with the blue stuff. I loved the streaking noise and the feeling of accomplishment from creating sparkling, mirror-like windows. I garnered praise from my parents and scorn from my siblings.
In fact, I pretty much embraced every household challenge my mom put in front of me -- except cleaning the bathroom. The bathroom job came with a strict set of rules. "Open the window and don't close it until you're done." Mind you, I grew up in Vermont, where the winters are often compared to those of Siberia. But being in a closed-in space with a cocktail of hazardous substances was not worth the warmth. According to my mother, "Do not combine cleaning products; It can hurt your lungs!" I honestly didn't believe her, so I often did just that. Spray a little of this, dump a little of that. Hey, I was making potions!
I learned many valuable lessons from my mother, but healthy cleaning was not one of them. She trusted that the cleaning products she bought at the grocery store were safe for her family. Her intentions were pure, but, sadly, she was cheated. She thought she was taking precautions to keep us safe, but, in reality, every surface in our house was coated with toxic substances.
Two decades later, thankfully, my mom's affair with the tough guys is over. She has organic food in the refrigerator. And right there, by the kitchen sink for all to see, is a bottle of Seventh Generation dish liquid. Times have changed; 'clean' has a new meaning in her household.
There are over 110 million households in the United States and I am certain that most of them are not aware of the negative effects that toxic cleaning can have on our health and the environment. Everyone has the right to know what's inside their cleaning products. So what do we do? How can toxic cleaning products continue to show up in our grocery aisles? Who is watching out for our health?
We are. Seventh Generation.
I write all of this proudly from my desk in Burlington, Vermont at the 20 year old eco-friendly cleaning company. Yup, 30 years later and I am still in LOVE with cleaning. Go figure. I feel privileged to work at Seventh Generation, which has disclosed all ingredients -- without encouragement -- for years, and thinks it's time consumers had as many tools as possible to help make healthy decisions. Essentially, as a transparent company, we show you what's inside. Everything inside our products is safe and effective and this gives me security that all of the plaid shirts and big muscles and bold claims in the world cannot provide.