Have you thought about making your home more eco-friendly but don’t know where to start? Well, start by ditching your toxic cleaning habits for eco-cleaning products. Products that we all grew up on, that seem to get the job done, are not beneficial when it comes to our health and the environment. Eco-conscious products are products that are naturally produced, recyclable or reusable, which means they have a lower environmental impact. Green cleaning holds a lot of benefits, one of those being protecting yourself, the health of your family, and the planet.
To get started on your green cleaning journey, here are 4 eco-friendly tips for your home.
The term “green cleaning” refers to the process of using cleaning products and cleaning methods that is free of toxins and that are safe for the people and the environment. Green cleaning also refers to cleaning your home in a way that reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfills. Constant exposure to chemicals and toxins can do damage to our bodies, release pollutants in the air, contaminate the water and hurt our ecosystem. Products like vinegar, essential oils and citrus are considered natural and effective cleaning agents.
Being more conscious of your cleaning routine and products minimizes the release of harmful chemicals and antibacterials into your air and surfaces. The use of traditional cleaning products can contribute to a high level of pollution indoors. This can contribute to an array of health problems such as damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The products are not only damaging when you use them, but they can linger in the air long after use. Guarantee that you are safe in your own home with sustainable cleaning. Another plus is that green cleaning is cost-effective and allows you to bring out your creative side by making your own eco-friendly products.
- Incorporate Everyday Items
Switching to sustainable cleaning products and methods can make cleaning in general easier. You can often tackle your cleaning with items you already have at home, which will save you an extra trip to the store. Lemons, baking soda, and vinegar are 3 effective ways to get your cleaning done, naturally. With these items, you don’t have to worry about which cleaning products you shouldn’t mix or about bleach stains getting on your clothes. They are also child-safe and pet friendly.
Vinegar is a great cleaning agent that can easily be used for getting rid of mold, cleaning multiple surfaces, and more.
Lemon is an essential part of cleaning when it comes to having an all-natural sanitizing item. Lemons contain both antibacterial and antiseptic qualities. To get rid of germs, slice a lemon and rub the slice on the contaminated surface. If you have copper in your home that needs some shining, try dipping lemon halves into salt and scrub the pot.
Take advantage of the baking soda in your home by removing any odors or strange smells that may be coming from your fridge or carpet. For example, spread a little on your carpet, let it soak up those odors, and then vacuum it up.
Unlike regular cleaning products, you can mix these items together and get a great result. Try your hand at making a DIY cleaning spray. Here are some steps on how to make a cleaning spray with just lemons and white vinegar. Out of all the vinegar varieties, white vinegar has the best antibacterial properties that you need for your home.
- Using lemon rinds and white vinegar, combine these items into a glass container.
- Let these items sit and steep for at least a week.
- After a week, strain and pour the mixture into your reusable spray bottle.
- The mixture will need to be diluted, which can be done by adding water to the mixture before using it.
- Use Essential Oils
Who doesn’t love a good-smelling home? Skip the toxins with candles and air fresheners by making your home smell fresh with essential oils. Essential oils are a great way to get rid of odors in your home with the release of harsh chemicals. Instead of just being a scent in the home, it holds benefits that connect to our brain, health, and emotions. Set your tone at home by the certain scents you put into the air. For example, Rose oil has a sweet, floral scent, but when inhaled it can help reduce anxiety.
There are a several of ways to boost the scent of your home with essential oils. For example, apply your oil to raw wood. Unfinished wood is a great material to absorb your favorite scents. Keep in mind certain oils do have the ability to stain. If you don’t have raw wood decor, try taking clothespins, placing a few drops of essential oil on them, and then hiding them around your home. Ideal places to hide the pins are in your kitchen cupboards and bathroom cabinets. Another great way to ensure the oil travels through your home is with a diffuser. Diffusers have become popular in the last couple of years.
Here is another chance to get creative. Create your own air freshener for your home with the use of your favorite essential oil, baking soda, and water. Again, these are products you may already have at home which is a huge plus when it comes to saving money and getting the job done effectively. Here are the steps you’ll need to create your home air freshener.
- Combine 1bsp of baking soda and 5-6 drops of essential oil into a container.
- After combining the baking soda and essential oil, pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
- Fill the rest of the bottle with water to dilute the mixture.
- Shake the bottle before using.
Be mindful of the essential oil that you choose for this project, to ensure that it is safe for both pets and children. Oils like peppermint and Clove may not be suitable for this.
- Invest in Reusable Cleaning Cloths
Paper towels can be very convenient. You wipe something and then mindlessly reach for another because there are plenty on the roll. Try ditching those paper towels for reusable cloths.
“Reusable cloth for cleaning can make such a tremendous impact in the reduction of waste,” says Martha Hernandez, who, along with husband Sal, founded their eco-friendly cleaning business, Beyond Eco in Austin, Texas in 1991. “Between packaging and the paper towels themselves, there is a lot of excess trash to avoid in changing your cleaning habits with this simple step.”
Many people have already made the switch from paper towels to microfiber cloths, now it’s your turn. This will help eliminate the waste from paper towels as well as their plastic packaging. Using reusable cloths is cost-effective and doesn’t leave residue behind on mirrors or dark colored furniture. Reusable cloths are also more durable than paper towels and can be used to clean the floor as well. Keep a stack under your sink in bulk to have plenty, like you would with paper towels.
Before going out to buy cloths just for cleaning, see what you have at home. Any natural cloth that no longer serves a purpose can be reused for a cleaning. Items like cotton towels and blankets are good options. Even an old t-shirt or old socks will do the trick.
- Use Multipurpose Cleaners
A natural multipurpose cleaner is a secret weapon to keep amongst your cleaning supplies. As the name suggests, these cleaners are designed to be used on any surface from wood to marble. Non-toxic multipurpose cleaners are widely available and are a great way to reduce the number of cleaning products you need. Another benefit of multipurpose cleaners is that it reduces the exposure to the number of toxins being released into your home. Having one bottle of cleaner that does the job for everything, cuts down on waste and plastic. Not to mention it is also cost-effective.
You don’t have to go all-natural just with what’s at home. Companies have now come out with non-toxic products, you just have to know how to pick the correct version. Here are a few ways to spot a sustainable cleaning product.
To spot a sustainable product by its label, the label should:
- Be straightforward on how the product was made and where it is shipped from.
- Avoid using terms and language that are unclear.
- Express clearly how the product is eco friendly .
- Phrases like “phosphate-free” and “chlorine-free”.
To spot a sustainable product by its ingredients, the ingredients should:
- Be natural and free of any artificial coloring.
- Free of chemicals with bleach alternatives.
- Natural fragrances rather than artificial scents.
- You should be able to recognize the ingredients listed.
- Made from organically grown ingredients.
To spot a sustainable product by its packaging, the packaging should:
- Be minimalistic.
- Display clear instructions on how to recycle, reuse, or compost the packaging materials.
- Should not include any heavy metals, BPA, or phthalates.
- Be biodegradable.
Green cleaning doesn’t have to be challenging, it just takes a bit of thoughtful planning. By being aware of the products you bring into your home will lead to a healthier you and a healthier environment. For more tips on green cleaning for your eco-friendly home, check out the infographic below.