$100-500 / $50-100 / Cleaning

Spring Clean & Green Pt. 3: The Right Tools for the Job

springclean-logoNow that you’ve properly disposed of all the extra junk that was cluttering up your home and eliminated all the toxic chemicals from your stash of house cleaning products, you’re more than halfway through with your spring cleaning. But there’s still a couple of tasks left to tackle, including one of my least favorite of all time: vacuuming. The other is getting in all those nooks and crannies where dirt resides that we don’t usually touch. You should also consider hiring a pressure washing nashville company for exterior cleaning. Here are a couple of gadgets designed to make those tasks easier.

Eureka Envirovac


More and more companies are taking a hard look at the way they make products and trying to do so in a more sustainable way. Eureka, for example, introduced it’s Envirovac last year. This model is touted for its energy efficiency, as it claims to use 33% less energy than comparable uprights, but I am more impressed by another often-overlooked feature when shopping for a vacuum. Have you ever tried to buy a replacement filter for a vacuum, only to find that a) a replacement is incredibly difficult to find or b) a replacement is incredibly expensive?

The Envirovac eliminates this issue altogether. The filter and all the vacuum components can simply be rinsed and reused. I swear, replacing the filter was one of the most frustrating parts of vacuuming for my family, so even if this were its only green feature, I’d still be impressed. My husband, who actually enjoys vacuuming, has rinsed and replaced the filter a couple of times since we received the Envirovac, and they are still going strong. This a convenient feature, but it also will eliminate a lot of waste over its lifetime. The vacuum is also powerful, pulling up dirt, hairs and other debris from a recently cleaned carpet. Yes, I had to use the detachable hose to clean along the floorboards of every room, and yes, cleaning the filter can be a slighty messy and tricky process the first time you try it. But considering our old full-sized vacuum recently went belly up, it is a welcome addition to our household and one we’ll be keeping around for a long time.

Price: $68.64-72.22

Oreck XL Power Team

oreck-cleaningAnother company trying to green its cleaning arsenal is the gold standard of the vacuum industry, Oreck. They sent me their Oreck XL Power Team Gold vacuum to test and review. On their face, these vacuums don’t appear to be terribly green, but there are some high points. They are made in the U.S., which is always a plus, as its carbon footprint is tiny compared to the one created by imported products. They also claim to require only a third of the energy of comparable vacuums. If that holds true, it would be even more efficient than the Envirovac. Lastly, Oreck vacuums are known for lasting a lifetime, and there’s nothing greener than a product that is unlikely to need replacing. Of course, there’s the glaring fact that Oreck vacuums require bags — disposable bags — that will be landfill bound. But how did it perform?

To put it simply, it’s an Oreck, and for the price, I was certainly happy it lived up to its reputation. It was loud, but offered superior performance to any other vacuum I’ve ever used. It picked up minuscule objects that I couldn’t even see, even with the light attached to the front of the vacuum. I also appreciated the fact that both the low and power settings offered stellar performance. Definitely impressive.

But I still can’t resolve that with the idea that I’ll have to throw away bags full of dirt. Granted, the bag does appear to have a fairly large capacity and should last about a month with regular vacuuming. But there are a great many bagless uprights that use canisters, so it’s hard to understand why Oreck still insists on using bags. There’s the argument that sealed bags eliminate the possibility you’ll have to come in contact with the dirt and dust you’ve just cleaned up. I can buy that, but that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to waste all those bags, especially since you’d been living with all the dirt before it was vacuumed anyway.

Overall, the XL Power Team Gold performed incredibly well. For the price, it definitely can be considered an investment. Given their track record, any Oreck vacuum should last a lifetime with proper maintenance. For that reason alone, they are definitely worth considering…if you don’t mind a bag.

Price: $299.95-599.95

Steam cleaning

We don’t have a steam cleaner, but I’d really, really like to try one. I love the idea of using steam to clean and disinfect surfaces without the use of any cleaning products, natural or otherwise. Even without a machine, I know the power of steam cleaning. When the microwave really needs a thorough cleaning, my husband and I have a simple strategy. We put a bowl of water, perhaps with a drop or two of dishwashing liquid, in a bowl (glass, not plastic) and nuke it on high for between 10 and 15 minutes. This bathes the inside of the microwave with steam, loosening any food particles or steam that may have been baked onto the inside surface, including the inside of the door. Most, if not all, of it will simply wipe away after that. It also eliminates nasty microwave odors, like the lingering stench of burned popcorn.

what about you?

Has anyone tried a traditional steam cleaning machine? What did you think of it? Leave a comment and share your green cleaning experience with the rest of us!


About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Bernadette Cooper
    May 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I, too, use water in the microwave, but with a slice of lemon. I put the bowl on a plate so I can remove it without burning myself, and wipe the interior while the “gunk” is still damp.

    I had a shark steam cleaner, until my mom “borrowed” it. I used it all the time in my old house. sinks, floors, doorknobs (especially during cold & flu season!), but not much in the microwave. The power was a little much for such a small space (think backsplash). With a small attachment like the one for floors, though, it would be great!

    Since we’re in a transition phase homewise (getting ready to close) I’m preparing to buy another one. The ease of use is incredible, and everything is just CLEAN! I still will use my green cleaning products, but the steamer is a definite must as far as I’m concerned for sanitizing, especially in the bathrooms!

  • Samantha from GreenAir
    April 12, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Hi Jennae, that’s an interesting method of cleaning to know about. I never use steam cleaning process but I will try this. How can I use this? I too think that machines like vacuum cleaner and so on are also a good way to keep your home clean. I have used them and they are perfect for saving time and cleaning the home precisely. Looking forward for more such blogs. Thanks.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.