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'New Green Clean' Suggests Cleaning Your Home With Only Water

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- What do you use to get your home clean? Would you try only water and a cloth to remove dirt and germs?

Products on the market are designed to do just that -- clean surfaces including kitchen counters and bathroom sinks with only water.

CBS2's Alice Gainer looks at the "new green clean."

Blogger Becky Rapinchuk is known as the Clean Mama and she's been using natural cleaning products in her home for quite some time.

"I make pretty much everything as a homemade cleaner," Rapinchuk said.

But  now, a growing number of cleaning tools are aimed at taking the "green clean" one step further.

The products on the market, many made of microfiber are designed to work with plain old water and without the need for chemical cleaners.

"For just every day wiping down the counters, cleaning surfaces, water and a microfiber cloth is sufficient," Rapinchuk said.

John Owen is a senior household analyst for a market research firm. Their research shows 37 percent of adults would be interested in using microfiber and water to clean dirt, grease and bacteria.

12 percent of people already use microfiber on a daily basis.

"And young adults, those who are sort of in their 20s and 30s say, are more than twice as likely and we think that's an indication that the market is growing and that there's a generational shift going on," Owen said.

It's a shift that has cleaning companies taking notice, Gainer reports.

Owen says manufacturers are responding to consumer concerns about ingredients in cleaning products.

"People are increasingly equating a clean home with a healthy home and a healthy family," Owen said. "But at the same time there's also concern about the cleaning product ingredients. So for these consumers, they still want their homes clean, but they're looking for alternatives."

But are alternatives designed to work without chemicals effective?

Microbiologist Dr. Michael Schmidt says microfiber, which is smaller than a human hair, is good at trapping dust, and even bacteria and viruses.

"It's this frizzy end at the end of this very small fiber that facilitates the pickup of bacteria and viruses from surfaces," Dr. Schmidt said.

But, for situations when a family member is ill or when it comes to cleaning up the kitchen after handling raw food, Dr. Schmidt says to "use a disinfectant and good old elbow grease to make certain that that material is gone."

One possibly drawback to skipping the cleaning solution in favor of water? The absence of that clean smell.

"People often tell that the home is clean by how it smells, so that's a potential barrier to the use of just water and a, a cloth," Owen said.

Rapinchuk usually uses a cleaner in her kitchen and bathroom, but for times when she sticks to water, she doesn't mind missing out on the scent.

"I'm OK with that when it's quicker and the mess is actually cleaned up," Rapinchuk said.


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