It seems as though house cleaning has been done the same way for years: with a little bit of elbow grease and a cabinet full of human-made cleaning products. While this routine is certainly effective, it’s not the best for the earth or your family, since so many supply toxins that can linger in the air or run into the water supply.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to make your cleaning routine gentler on you and the world around you. Here are six of them:
Replace Your Cleaning Solutions
We’ve already mentioned the fact that your go-to cleaning supplies are probably environmentally unfriendly. You have two options as to how you can fix that problem.
On the one hand, some manufacturers have realised that consumers want safer, less harsh options. As such, they’ve introduced non-toxic, non-petroleum-based cleaning products that work well. Or, you could go even more natural and mix up your own cleaning solutions. Four tablespoons of baking soda combined with a quart of warm water, for example, makes a great all-purpose cleaner and deodoriser.
Purge Products Properly
Once you’ve replaced your cleaning supplies with their greener counterparts, make sure you safely discard of your old products. Tossing them in the trash or pouring them down the drain will get them into your water supply, which is just the type of hazard you’re trying to avoid.
Most rubbish collection centres will have a depository for toxic materials. Along with your cleaning products, dispose of items like batteries here so that professionals can throw them away the right way.
Choose Natural Design Materials
Another way to make your home cleaning greener is to replace human-made materials with natural options. Often, your manufactured options — much like store-bought cleaning products — are petroleum based or include unsavoury chemicals.
By choosing a natural material — think reclaimed wood — you’re reducing the number of toxins you bring into the home. Not only is this an environmentally friendly choice, but you can use all-natural cleaning supplies to keep reclaimed wood sparkling.
Avoid the Dry Cleaners
As much as the dry cleaner improves the look of your clothes, their practices go against all of the green methods you’re making part of your daily life. In fact, the industrial solvent used at these establishments to clean your clothes creates smog. Fortunately, you have options — seek out a dry cleaner who uses green products to give your clothes the same crisp finish without the added pollution.
Open the Windows
Shockingly, something this simple can make a big difference in the cleanliness of your home. Without opening a window every once in a while, the same air circulates over and over — and, if that air contains toxins or other unwanted particles, that lingers, too.
But throwing open the panes allows a breeze to come in and refresh the air in your home. Plus, you’ll let natural light in, too, which has plenty of health benefits: sunlight can kill bacteria and reduce feelings of depression.
Reconsider Antibacterial Products
In the midst of winter, there’s a good chance you’re regularly washing your hands with an antibacterial cleansing formula to kill the germs that are undoubtedly swirling throughout flu season. However, these products are no more effective than good old soap and water. Plus, some bacteria can occasionally survive the wash and if those bacteria breed with other extra-strong strains, they’ll create antibacterial-resistant versions of themselves in the future. In other words, you’re more likely to get sicker later if you don’t stop now.
Now, Green Clean
These are just six of the many ways you can make your cleaning routine safer for you and the earth around you. All that’s left to do is get cleaning — no chemicals required.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work. And you can read her previous article here.
Great article on green living! After realizing the harmful effects of chemical cleaners, I have discarded using them for DIY homemade eco-friendly cleaners. Now, I feel proud of my decision.