Looking for some eco-friendly products and tips for cleaning your homes for the next few months till is safe to have the cleaning crew come through? Me too! Thanks to Miss. Rona, we have added one more item to our endless to-do list – cleaning our homes. I HATE cleaning, hate the dust mites, hate the spiderwebs… HATE the smell of cleaning products, but someone has to do it! Gone are the days when the housekeepers would come through with all the cleaning supplies and tools and turn a messy house all spic and span. Now like everything else life we have to do it ourselves. If you are cleaning your house, hope you will consider these eco-friendly and all-natural alternatives for cleaning your home.
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A Clean & Green House Improves Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality refers to the quality of the air in our homes, schools, office, or other building environments. With everyone spending more time indoors (we spend approximately 90 percent of our time indoors), it is important to keep these spaces clean and safe. The EPA has named the indoor air quality as one of the top threats to our health and estimates that concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher indoors than typical outdoors.
Some of the health problems associated with indoor air pollutants include irritation of eyes, nose and throat, headaches, dizziness and respiratory diseases. Harsh chemical exposure over long periods of time is said to even cause heart disease and cancer.
Some of the factors that affect the indoor air quality are energy-efficient building construction (when it lacks sufficient mechanical ventilation to ensure adequate air exchange) and increased use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners. We can take control of some of these issues and improve indoor air quality by removing pesticides, reducing synthetic materials and using the right household cleaners. Here are some eco-friendly products and tips for cleaning our home.
Use the 3 Natural Cleaning Products: Lemon, Baking Soda & Vinegar
Lemons have powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties and are a natural deodorizer due to their high acidic content. You can use a bit of lemon juice with baking soda to remove stains from plastic containers. After I make my morning lemon ginger tea, I save the peels for cleaning. You can use lemon peel to polish copper bottles which are btw great for drinking water. Rub the lemon peel across your chopping board to disinfect the surface.
Use a halved grapefruit and a coarse salt to remove soap scum. The citric acid and the rough salt will react with the soap build-up in the and get it up easily.
Baking soda, just like lemon, is another great natural cleaner. It is mildly alkaline and functions as a gentle abrasive. A thick paste made of baking soda and water can be useful in removing rust. You can use it to clean the oven. Let it sit for a couple of hours or overnight for tougher spots and then you can wipe the surface clean. A liquidy mixture of baking soda and water can be used as an all-purpose cleaner that is effective on removing grease.
Put a cup of white vinegar and baking soda into the toilet bowl and let it sit for about an hour. Brush it and flush! A simple, easy and eco-friendly way to clean bathrooms. No harsh chemicals bleaches needed. It is natural deodorizer that can be used to freshen up the dishwasher, laundry machine and even coffee pots. You can add a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water into your kettle or coffee pot, allow it to boil, then rinse the kettle out once it cools down a little.
These tips are some ways to use eco-friendly, natural cleaning products to clean our homes but they do require some elbow grease.
Buy Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
When everyone was stocking up on toilet paper, we stocked up on cleaning supplies. We bought anything we could get our hands on and into our e-shopping carts. Bleaches, disinfectant wipes and all the works! But after using them, and seeing how harmful they can be we now look for products that do not have ammonia, chlorine, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, phosphates or petroleum or artificial colorants or perfumes.
It is a learning process but we are buying a few commercial green cleaning products. While lemon and baking soda gets most jobs done, you have to know to mix or measure, and it does involve a good amount of effort ( aka elbow grease). It does take some scrubbing to get surfaces clean.
You can find good quality, green and eco-friendly cleaning products. Look one that has biodegradable formulas and have plant-based ingredients. Brands like Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s, Simple Green, GreenWorks, Ecover, Biokleen, Method carry window, oven, floor, bathroom, kitchen and all-purpose cleaners that are eco-friendly and natural cleaners that don’t compromise on cleaning power.
I have been loving Branch Basics, a plant based biodegradable multi-purpose concentrate. It makes cleaning simple, affordable, and eco-friendly. When you buy their starter kit, it comes with their signature concentrate and a few refillable bottles. They are marked with the amount of water and concentrate you need to add for a multipurpose kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner and a streak-free glass cleaner. You can even make a foaming handwash. (See here for a discount code)
Another great Planet-friendly product is Dropps. They ship laundry pods and dish detergent pods to your door in a 100% recyclable, repulpable, and compostable cardboard box.
I love the simple yet effective dishwasher detergent pods. No fancy colors and unnecessary ingredients, the pods are free of dyes and phosphates. The pods are tough on stuck-on food and grease but gentle on Mother Earth!
Establish a Cleaning Routine
Instead of waiting till you see dust mites and grease dripping off appliances, establish a cleaning routine. While you can never clean to professional housekeeping standards, start small. Declutter, clean one room a day. Clean the high traffic areas like the kitchen and living room often. Keeping a home clean and orderly is something that can be attained by those with busy lives. Having some sort of regular cleaning and straightening routine helps give an order to our lives, and it ensures that things don’t get out of hand that you must spend the entire weekend cleaning just to bring them back to some sort of normal. Whatever that normal is these days!
Small Tweaks to Squeaky Clean
While the aim is to have spotless counters and squeaky clean bathrooms – let’s be real, its never going to happen. By the time you clean one room, the other gets dirty, the kitchen floor needs mopping and someone needs to tackle the mountain of mail! Some small tweaks that I find helpful are keeping a counter cloth for the kitchen sink and bathroom sinks. So you can wipe the water right after use. No water spots to wipe later!
Lately, Mr. Suburbia does all the heavy lifting (I pretend that the vacuum cleaner is too heavy) and cleaning around our house. But I do a quick 15 minute clean up every day to wipe counters, appliance and fill the soap dispensers. We should be washing their hands more often these days.
I bought these Foaming hand soap glass containers and just refill with Meyers Lavender Handwash soap or Branch Basics. Did you know using foaming soap is considered to be easy on the environment? You can mix 1 part soap and 5 parts water and even add some fragrance to your foaming soap, a few drops of your favorite essential oils are all you need. It is an affordable, efficient, hygienic, and an all-around sustainable option.
Buy Organic Sheets and Wash them often
An average a person sleeps for 8 hours in a day, which averages to about 229,961 hours or basically one third of their life. Make sure your beds are fitted with good clean sheets! Sleeping on organic cotton sheets are better for you since they are hypoallergenic due to the lack of chemical additives. Organic cotton sheets are durable, bio-degradable, and produced with sustainable methods, which means it is better for the planet. It is always good to wash your sheets before your first use because they may feel a bit rough right out of the package. (See more Organic Bedding here)
Another one of my Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips is washing those sheets often in an eco detergent like this lavender scented one or this unscented one by Seventh Generation. Even the popular laundry detergent Tide comes in a Plant-based version. Wash the sheets at least once every two weeks. Use these wool dryer balls made from premium New Zealand Wool instead of the dryer sheets.
Freshen up with Flowers
It is amazing how a simple bunch of flowers can freshen up your mood, your home and your well-being. A vase, some pretty blooms and a bit of water is all it takes. Bonus, the house looks lovely and put together! You can get whatever is in season and get creative with the flower arrangments. There is a reason why we send flowers as gifts. Studies show that those who are exposed to flowers have lower blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction. They do more than just look pretty and smell good!
Hope you find these simple Eco-Friendly tips for cleaning your home helpful. If you know of other tips and green and safe products do let me know. Let’s ditch the chemical-based cleaning products that harm the environment, our homes and our planet.
Wishing you a spotless, sparkly, and safe home!
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