Environmental Household Cleaning
March 28, 2014
Spring is in the air! And with it comes spring cleaning, so here is our next blog post with Eco-friendly spring cleaning tips. This time we will look into ways to clean our homes while staying green.
Many household cleaning supplies contribute to indoor air pollution and can actually be quite hazardous when they come in contact with skin, are inhaled, or are ingested. Chemicals from cleaning products can be released into the air and linger because of the limited airflow indoors, exposing you and your family for longer periods of time. Standard cleaning products are often petroleum-based and have negative effects that extend even beyond indoor pollution and personal health problems. They keep their potency long after they’ve gone down the drain, and can potentially pollute waterways and negatively affect vegetation and wildlife. Luckily, we have some alternatives that are natural and will help you to avoid negative toxic side effects. Natural based cleaning products are widely available and usually work just as well as the old standbys.
It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living by Crissy Trask is a great resource for tips on how to clean green, from conserving water to using alternative cleaning products. Some of her helpful suggestions are:
- Use old towels and t-shirts as rags instead of paper towels
- Fill a bucket with water and mix it with an all-purpose cleaner for general scrubbing, rather than leave water running
- Buy products in concentrate when available to use less packaging
- Use oxygen or hydrogen-based bleaches instead of chlorine bleach and buy phosphate-free laundry detergent – companies that make products that do not use harmful chemicals include Country Save, Mountain Green, Method, Mrs.Meyers, and Seventh Generation.
- Make your own household cleaners – distilled white vinegar, baking soda, salt, club soda, lemons, and other household products can make effective cleaning products. The Mother Nature Network has recipes for homemade cleaning products here.
- Wash clothes in cold water, only using warm or hot water for oily dirt and stains (These days, detergents are formulated to work just as well in cold water.)
Small changes of habits and an awareness of the products we use can make a big impact on both our household health and overall environment. Lots of little things can add up to a big impact! For a more thorough review of the effects of toxins cleaning products and environmentally friendly alternatives, visit the OrganicConsumers Association website.