If you’re concerned about cleaning products containing harsh chemicals that might harm the environment but even your health, there’s an easy solution. These eco-friendly cleaning tips will help you green up your whole home cleaning routine.
Get the sparkling clean you deserve, but with ingredients you can feel good about! And literally feel better about. I don’t know about you, but I have allergy symptoms every time I use a lot of popular cleaners.
They do a great job, but they give me a sore throat or stuffy nose. They’re full of chemicals that
By making small changes in the way we clean, we can make a big impact on both our environment and ourselves.
The Power of Green Cleaning
You may be wondering if these eco-friendly cleaners are as powerful as the ones in your grocery store aisle. The answer is: they can be.
Especially when you brew up recipes that use 2-3 of them for powerful cleaning. Eco-friendly cleaning harnesses the strength of natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide to effectively clean and disinfect our homes without leaving behind harmful residues.
Why Go Green? Are Traditional Cleaning Products That Bad?
There are several reasons why someone might decide to start using more green and eco-friendly products in their home cleaning routine:
1. Healthier Home: Eco-friendly cleaning products can help reduce health risks by eliminating harmful chemicals from your home, which can lead to fewer allergies and chemical sensitivities.
2. Child and Pet Safety: Non-toxic materials are safer for children and pets who might get in close contact with surfaces cleaned using such products or accidentally ingest them.
3. Green Living: Green cleaning products have less negative impact on the environment, including reduced pollution to waterways and the air, less ozone depletion, and a reduction in global climate change.
4. Improved Indoor Air Quality: According to several studies, using standard cleaning products can contribute to a higher pollution rate inside homes than outside. Green products contribute significantly less to air pollution.
5. Less Expensive: In many cases, green cleaning solutions can be created from common household items like vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice. This makes them a cost-effective alternative to traditional cleaners.
6. Biodegradable Materials: Most eco-friendly cleaners contain biodegradable materials which don’t contribute towards environmental waste unlike their non-biodegradable counterparts. Many store products, on the other hand, contain ingredients that, when washed down the drain, end up in our water systems, ultimately polluting rivers and oceans.
Plus, the production and disposal of these cleaners contribute to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. By understanding the environmental impact of traditional cleaning methods, we can take steps towards adopting eco-friendly practices that minimize harm to our planet.
7. Supports Responsible Manufacturing Practices: Many companies that produce eco-friendly cleaning supplies also engage in socially responsible practices that benefit workers and communities.
8. Reduced Antibacterial Resistance: Overusing antibacterial cleaners could potentially lead to the development of resistant bacteria strains over time. Most green cleaning products do not contain antibacterial agents.
What if I don’t Do All The Things?
It’s okay! There are some commercial cleaners you may find irreplaceable. If you can use them less often, or just use less of the other commercial cleaners that are easier to replace, you’re helping.
Reducing your environmental footprint isn’t about being perfect. It’s about doing at least some things better some of the time.
And the longer you work at it, the easier it gets, and then you may find you can do even more.
Are Eco-Friendly Cleaners All Natural?
“Natural” is a meaningless buzzword in product marketing. Everything ultimately comes from nature – including poison ivy, which you don’t want in your home.
Instead of trusting the marketing, look for products with fewer ingredients – or make your own with simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice or baking soda.
How to Get Started with Eco-Friendly Cleaning
Take a look at your current cleaning products. Read the labels carefully and identify any potentially harmful chemicals they may contain.
Make a conscious decision to replace these products with greener alternatives that are biodegradable and free from harsh toxins. Look for certifications such as “Green Seal” or “EcoLogo” to ensure the legitimacy of the eco-friendly claims.
Heading 1: Easy Swaps for a Chemical-Free Clean
By making simple swaps in your cleaning toolkit, you can create a chemical-free haven that promotes both cleanliness and sustainability.
Consider swapping out conventional all-purpose cleaners containing toxic chemicals for natural alternatives. A few suggestions:
- Replace Windex with diluted vinegar. You can even put the new solution in your old Windex bottle, which keeps it out of the landfill or recycling.
- Vinegar can also effectively clean surfaces such as countertops, glass, and even floors.
- Baking soda can replace Bar Keeper’s Friend. It’s not as powerful, because Bar Keeper’s Friend is an extremely powerful cleaner. But baking soda is safer for surfaces, you and the environment, and it can do a lot of the same jobs plus a few more.
- Make an all purpose cleaner to replace any non-disinfectant cleaner you use. Simply mix lemon juice with water and vinegar to create an all-purpose cleaner that will leave your surfaces sparkling.
For most jobs, you can just mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Just like that, you have an eco-friendly solution ready to tackle dirt and grime without leaving behind harmful residues.
Is Vinegar Disinfectant?
Not really. It kills a lot of germs, but not like commercial cleaners do. Still, it’s great for everyday cleaning when disinfecting isn’t completely necessary.
Is Vodka Disinfectant?
Again, not really. It would need to be even higher proof to kill a lot of germs. But like vinegar, it’s good to clean your home, although vinegar is a lot cheaper.
Is Lemon Juice a Disinfectant?
Lemon, a zesty citrus fruit bursting with freshness, is an excellent cleaning agent. And deodorizer. But it’s not a true disinfectant. Its acidic properties make it perfect for cutting through grease and stains.
Hydrogen Peroxide is a Disinfectant
Hydrogen peroxide actually is a disinfectant. It’s considered effective against many different types of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and spores.
Air Freshener Alternatives
The air we breathe plays a crucial role in our overall well-being, so it’s important to keep indoor air clean and fresh. Instead of using synthetic air fresheners that release harmful chemicals into the air, you can use natural alternatives.
Bring home some indoor plants. They’re known for their air-purifying qualities. Plants such as aloe vera, spider plant, and peace lily not only add beauty but also filter out toxins like benzene and formaldehyde.
You have probably heard you can also use essential oils to improve the smell of air in your home. Not all essential oils are created equally
What About Essential Oils?
You may have heard that essential oils are great environmentally friendly ways to (a) make your home smell nice and (b) clean. This is mostly true, but there are a few things to be aware of.
Essential Oils for Scent
Using essential oils to freshen the air in your home has a few potential downsides:
- Allergies and Sensitivities: Some people may experience allergic reactions or sensitivities to specific essential oils. This can lead to symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and difficulty breathing.
- Impact on Pets: Certain essential oils can be harmful or toxic to pets. For example, eucalyptus oil can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested or applied topically.
- Quality Concerns: Not all essential oils are created equal. Some may contain additives or contaminants that aren’t healthy to inhale.
- Overuse Issues: Overusing essential oils can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body because they are metabolized by the liver.
To minimize potential issues:
- Only use high-quality, pure essential oils.
- Use them sparingly and properly diffuse them.
- Keep away from children and pets.
- Check for any known allergies among household members before using.
And remember: if you have an odor you need to cover, that says things aren’t as clean as they need to be. Look into your cleaning routine to see if there’s something you could be doing better.
Essential Oils for Cleaning
A few specific oils can be quite effective in household cleaning due to their antimicrobial properties.
- Tea Tree Oil: Known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties, it’s great for bathroom cleaning.
- Lemon Oil: It has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. Plus, it leaves a fresh scent behind.
- Eucalyptus Oil: This oil is a natural germicide and can be used in your kitchen or bathroom.
- Peppermint Oil: Effective at deterring ants and spiders.
- Always dilute essential oils properly before use.
- Test on an inconspicuous area first to make sure that the oil does not discolor or damage the surface.
Transform Your Cleaning Tools for an Eco-Friendly Makeover
If you’ve already got some tools that aren’t eco-friendly, that’s okay. Using them until you wear them out is better than putting them in the landfill!
But in the future, you can opt for brushes made from sustainable materials like bamboo or recycled plastic bristles. These options are not only durable and effective in tackling dirt and grime, but they also minimize your ecological footprint.
Similarly, choose brooms with handles made from renewable resources and bristles composed of natural fibers like corn or plant-based materials.
And you can swap paper towels and other disposable cleaning tools for microfiber cloths and mop pads.
Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips: From Stain Removal to Dryer Sheets
Laundry day doesn’t have to be an environmental burden. By adopting eco-friendly practices, you can ensure that your clothes come out clean while minimizing the impact on the planet.
When it comes to stain removal, skip the harsh chemical-laden products and opt for natural alternatives. For oil-based stains, sprinkle some cornstarch or talcum powder onto the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes before brushing it off.
Note: not all liquid dish soaps are considered eco-friendly, but many are.
- Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid: This brand is well-known for using plant-based ingredients. Their dish soap is biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and does not include any dyes or synthetic fragrances.
- Ecover Zero Dish Soap: Ecover’s products are made with plant-based ingredients and packaged in recycled plastic. Their dish soap is biodegradable and has been dermatologically tested for sensitive skin.
- Method Dish Soap: Method uses a biodegradable formula and their bottles are made with 100% recycled plastic. They offer a range of scents derived from natural ingredients.
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap: While not specifically a dish soap, this highly concentrated liquid soap can be diluted and used for many cleaning tasks including doing the dishes. It’s made with organic, vegan ingredients and comes in 100% post-consumer recycled packaging.
- Biokleen Dish Liquid: This brand uses plant-based surfactants to clean effectively without harmful residues. Their products are free from artificial fragrance, colors, preservatives, and chlorine.
Look for soaps that are phosphate-free, as high phosphate levels can cause water pollution when they enter rivers and lakes.
Replacing Fabric Softeners and Dryer Sheets
Now, let’s tackle fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Try adding half a cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle as a natural fabric softener.
If you miss that fresh scent from traditional dryer sheets, add a few drops of essential oils onto wool dryer balls before throwing them in with your clothes.
By embracing these eco-friendly laundry tips, not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint but also providing tender care for your garments.
Unveiling the Secrets of Zero Waste Cleaning
Zero waste cleaning is not just about keeping our homes spotless; it’s a mindful approach that minimizes waste and fosters a healthier environment.
The first step towards zero waste cleaning is to reevaluate our traditional cleaning products. Say goodbye to single-use plastic bottles and hello to refillable, eco-friendly alternatives.
Making your own homemade cleaners is probably the very best thing you can do here. But if you want to buy cleaning products that claim to be environmentally friendly, look for bulk options and companies that use recycled plastic or carton materials for containers.
Instead of buying lots of specialized cleaners for each area of your home, opt for multi-purpose eco-friendly cleaners. Look for products with easily biodegradable ingredients and minimal packaging, preferably in refillable containers.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning for Every Room in Your Home
Your journey towards an eco-friendly home doesn’t stop at the front door. Let’s explore how you can implement sustainable cleaning practices in every room, ensuring a healthier and greener living environment.
The Kitchen: Start by ditching single-use plastic products and opting for reusable alternatives like glass containers, silicone food wraps, and stainless steel straws.
Embrace homemade all-purpose cleaners with simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils to keep your countertops sparkling clean without harmful chemicals.
The Bathroom: Swap out conventional cleaning products for eco-friendly alternatives that are gentle on both your surfaces and the environment.
Install low-flow showerheads and faucets to conserve water consumption. Choose biodegradable toilet paper made from recycled materials.
Utilize natural remedies such as white vinegar or lemon juice to tackle limescale buildup without harsh chemicals.
The Bedroom: Opt for organic bedding made from sustainable materials like bamboo or organic cotton to create a sleep oasis free from harmful pesticides.
Use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets to reduce waste and eliminate exposure to synthetic fragrances. Dust regularly using microfiber cloths or natural fiber dusters to minimize allergens without relying on disposable wipes.