You might be wondering: what does cleaning green have to do with making a better life for myself? There are several compelling reasons to “green up” your cleaning routine:
1) Household chemicals can disrupt hormones, cause breathing problems, risk the potential for poisoning children and pets, and are downright dangerous. Read about it here. I first became interested in cleaning green when my son was a toddler; he could climb, unlock and satisfy his never-ending curiosity with alarming skill. I was convinced he would be poisoned and began seeking out safer alternatives.
2) Chemicals are bad for the planet. If you are like me, you can only block out the knowledge that we are polluting our planet at an alarming rate for so long without feeling a constant undercurrent of guilt. I have found that, even if it means some sacrifice, the closer I live to my principles and ideals, the happier and more content I am. You’ve heard the expression: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
3) It’s cheaper! The cleaning companies would have us believe we need to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per year to keep our houses clean, fresh smelling and germ-free. The truth is that you can effectively clean, deodorize, AND kill germs naturally, for pennies on the dollar. Who wouldn’t rather spend money on fun stuff than cleaning products?
4) It’s easier than you think:
- First, let me say this: if you are skeptical, I was too. My aunt had been telling me for years that you can clean your house with nothing more than white vinegar. (Ha! Maybe HER house, I thought – it stays clean all the time! I have kids, dogs, dirt! I must KILL GERMS!) Turns out vinegar kills bacteria, mold and germs. It is also a natural deodorizer. To use vinegar, just mix with equal parts of water and put in a re-usable spray bottle. Vinegar can also be added in the laundry or mixed with water for mopping wood or tile floors. Thanks, Aunt Shirley! *Note: if you have granite or marble, don’t use vinegar: the acidity can erode the surface. I did a little research and found that rubbing alcohol is safe for granite. Just mix with equal parts of water in a spray bottle.
- Don’t like the smell of vinegar? Buy a little bottle of your favorite essential oil from the health food store and make cleaning your house a spa experience! I like lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus.
- Need something with more muscle? Replace scrubbing cleanser with baking soda to scrub bathtubs, sinks or ovens.
- Replace carpet deodorizer with good old baking soda. It’s the main ingredient anyway.
- Clean the microwave: just put a coffee mug or measuring cup of water in and set the timer for 5 minutes. The steam from the boiling water loosens stuck-on food so you can just wipe it off.
- Invest in a steam mop and disinfect the floor naturally!
Though I’ve been cleaning this way for many years, I wish I had discovered all of these tips sooner. When I started cleaning green, my son’s frequent ear infections disappeared. Coincidence? Maybe, but I swear we are all healthier now. Plus, we’ve saved hundreds of dollars on cleaning products, aren’t washing harmful chemicals into our water system, and are re-using the same spray bottles, cutting way down on plastic to be recycled. Have any green cleaning tips of your own? Share in the comments!