I know you’re busy – I am too. I know it’s easy to gravitate toward whatever product promises to solve your problems the quickest. But it is possible to show the Earth some love fast (and well) with these simple eco-friendly house cleaning tips. You might not realize the impact your cleaning methods can have on the environment and your family.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Phosphates are found in many detergents and can cause eutrophication. This upsets the balance of nutrients in rivers and streams.
- Many products that come in aerosol cans contain a propellant gas called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Although non-toxic and chemically inert, they are proven to damage the ozone layer.
- In 2000, cleaning products were responsible for nearly 10% of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers, accounting for 206,636 calls.
- 120,434 exposures involved children under six. They can swallow or spill products stored or left open inside the home.
- Drain and oven cleaners are amongst the most problematic cleaning products.
- Leftover or improperly disposed-of chemicals can pollute streams or rivers. This takes years to degrade into harmless products. Some never break down at all and remain in the environment.
A little scary, right? If you want to change your methods to a more eco-friendly – not to mention more people-friendly – routine, I can help. Here are just a few tips to makeover your cleaning chores to be more eco-friendly in small ways every day!
Eco-Friendly House Cleaning Tip #1: Reuse and Recycle
Many people don’t realize the amount of waste they’re going through every day, particularly using products like paper towels, napkins, and plastic bags. When carrying out your green cleaning routine, try to use sponges or recycled items as rags whenever possible. You can use old cloth for wiping down surfaces, cleaning up after kids, even cleaning your floor.
Designate towels in your kitchen and bathroom for spills rather than reaching for a paper towel. Use a broom instead of Swiffer cloths, or for deeper cleaning, attach an old towel moistened with olive oil.
Paper products can be so convenient – but they contribute so much to waste. Try one month of swapping out convenience supplies for reusable household items and see if it hampers your cleaning routine at all. Chances are, you won’t even miss those products!
Eco-Friendly House Cleaning Tip #2: Go Natural
I’ve written extensively about natural products, both homemade and commercial, that are much better for the environment. You can find my thoughts here. For a quick overview, here are a few of my favorite eco-friendly products that can be useful for all sorts of cleaning around your house:
- Baking soda – the basis of many household cleaners, this product is so versatile! A gritty scrubber, you can also mix it with acidic liquids like vinegar for powerful reactions.
- Lemon juice – this juice is a powerful natural disinfectant, but also cuts through grease and leaves a great smell. It’s an ideal ingredient for kitchen cleaning.
- White vinegar – a disinfectant that loosens dirt, this product is also great for whitening and can be added to many other products for cleaning throughout the home.
- Olive oil – you can use this to polish wood. It also helps to loosen and pick up dirt.
Eco-Friendly House Cleaning Tip #3: Get Vocal
Maybe you’re already using green cleaning routines at home. If so, we as a society can always do more!
Don’t be shy about being vocal with businesses you work for or patronize. Ask your company leadership if any residential cleaners they might hire are using green methods. Ask the dry cleaner you use about their products, and don’t be afraid to speak up on any committees or associations you’re a part of, where you might have a voice in cleaning practices or vendor hire.
Caring for the environment is truly a lifestyle commitment. It takes little changes, day in and day out, to have an effect. If you’d like to learn more about my own process for green cleaning, or my favorite products, feel free to reach out!
As the only house cleaner in the Boston area who is a registered Actionista for The Women’s Voice on Earth, an organization whose purpose is to “stop the toxic assault on women’s health and the planet by engaging, inspiring, and mobilizing women to call for a thriving, toxic-free future”. These are issues I care deeply about and maintain in my business practices every day.