You've heard of green energy and green cars, but now there's a green cleaning movement as well.
[WEB EXTRA: See microfiber products mentioned in story]
Products are being sold that claim to clean germs off your kitchen counter with just water and a cloth and no disinfectant.
Diana Palmar owns City Maid Green in College Park. Palmar’s business, dedicated to keeping homes clean with green products, is booming.
“A lot of people are just wanting to know, ‘How can I clean my home with safer products because of my baby or because of my pets and just my family's overall health,’” said Palmar.
Becky Rapinchuk is among the growing number of people using natural cleaning products at home.
"I make pretty much everything as a homemade cleaner," said Rapinchuk.
But the green cleaning movement has been taken a step further.
Instead of using vegetable-based soaps like those sold at City Maid Green, some people are ditching soap altogether and using products designed to work with plain old water and microfiber.
"For just every day wiping down the counters, cleaning surfaces, water and a microfiber cloth is sufficient," said Rapinchuk. "It's this frizzy end at the end of this very small fiber that facilitates the pickup of bacteria and viruses from surfaces."
But are alternatives designed to work without chemicals effective?
Microbiologist Dr. Michael Schmidt suggests you don't ditch the disinfectant during times when you're cleaning after handling raw food in the kitchen.
"Use a disinfectant and good old elbow grease to make certain that that material is gone," said Schmidt.
Palmar agrees that water won't cut it.
A lot of bacteria and viruses are growing on your countertops and especially on your bathroom around the toilet and sinks and tubs, so you're going to want a good disinfectant to be able to not get sick.
She suggests using a green disinfectant with essential oils.
“They have antibacterials and anti microbial properties right in them so we don’t have to use harsh chemicals or petroleum solvents in order to actually kill viruses and kill bacteria,” said Palmar.
Schimdt also points out that while microfiber can trap germs, it doesn't kill the bugs. So, it's important to clean any cloths you may re-use to get rid of bacteria and viruses.