Chemical-laden household cleaners don’t live up to all the hype they get. Sure, they can clean and sanitize your home effectively. However, they can also release toxins into your abode and the environment when you dispose of them.
Are you looking for ways to make your cleaning regimen a bit more eco-friendly? Good news — it’s not nearly as difficult or expensive as it sounds. Instead, it can be an easy and cost-effective option that makes you feel even better about having a clean house. Here are eight tips to get you started.
1. Crack Open the Windows
Sometimes, the air quality inside your home can be more toxic than the air quality outdoors. Everything from pet dander to pollen to mold to chemicals can flare up a person’s allergies or asthma, thus making the air unhealthy.
To keep things fresh, open your windows every so often to let in the outside. As a little bonus, you get to enjoy the scent of crisp air wafting into your home.
2. Try Baking Soda
Who knew this pantry staple had so many uses? Fold baking soda into your cleaning routine to tackle smelly carpets, for starters. Sprinkle it on, let it sit, then vacuum up the powder — and all the odors it trapped. You can mix baking soda with water to create an oven-cleaning paste you leave overnight and scrape off with all the gunk it collected. Or, combine baking soda and vinegar to create a fizzing toilet bowl cleaner, much like the build-your-own-volcano experiment you probably did as a child.
3. Grab a Lemon
Lemons have both antibacterial and antiseptic qualities, so they’ll be an essential part of your all-natural sanitizing regimen. Rub a slice of lemon on a cutting board to remove germs. Or, place lemon peels in a jar with vinegar for a few days. When you strain out the zests, you’ll have a powerful all-around cleaner. You can dip lemon halves into salt and use them to scrub a copper pot back to its signature shine.
4. Choose White Vinegar
Of all the vinegar varieties out there, only one should be part of your green cleaning regimen. Simple, white vinegar has the antibacterial properties you need to scour your home. Diluted white vinegar is a powerful stain remover, and spraying a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water will bring windows to a shine. You can also simmer some vinegar simultaneously while you cook an aromatic fish dinner, for example. The vinegar will absorb all the odor.
5. Bring in Borax
Scooping some borax in with your laundry will aid your detergent by softening the water and brightening the colors of your clothes. It can do the same if you use it as a bathroom scrub — restore shine to tiles and tubs with a bit of borax.
Or, you can mix up an all-purpose cleaner in a spray bottle with just a teaspoon of borax, two tablespoons of vinegar and a bit of hot water. Add in a few drops of dish detergent and your favorite essential oil before filling the rest of the bottle with water. With that, you have an effective cleaner for all different areas of your home.
6. Skip Air Fresheners
You strategically scour your home in parts or in one fell swoop. Either way, when you finish, you relish in that clean smell that wafts from your abode. Some people keep that pleasant scent lingering with the help of air fresheners. However, store-bought mixtures tend to come packed with unnatural additives that can reduce air quality, in spite of the pleasant scent. So, opt for a natural version instead. Boil cinnamon, lemon or any other plant you like and wait for that all-natural scent to waft through your home.
7. Cultivate a Houseplant
Houseplants provide more than just decorative flair. For one thing, having greenery in your abode has proven mood-boosting capabilities. But some houseplants can improve air quality, too. They breathe in and neutralize the toxins lingering in your home. Then, they breathe out fresh oxygen for you and your family to enjoy — whether you realize it or not.
8. Buy Green Products — and Thoughtfully Get Rid of the Rest
You don’t have to go all-natural all on your own. Plenty of companies have come out with nontoxic versions of your go-to cleaners. Purchasing premade solutions can simplify the transition from traditional to green products.
On that note, once you’ve made your routine eco-friendlier, you’ll want to get rid of the products that no longer serve your household. If you don’t want to use a particular product in your home, you shouldn’t want it ending up in the water supply or landfill, either. So, find out if and when your community hosts a recycling day for such solutions. At the same time, you can likely recycle other potentially toxic items, such as batteries.
That’s all it takes to make your home-cleaning routine green — a bit of thoughtful planning. But once you buy the supplies, whip up the solutions and carefully dispose of your old products, you’re ready to scour your abode without damaging the earth or your health.