Maintaining a clean and healthy living space is important to every family. While cleaning routines will certainly vary from one home to another, there are some tactics that are beneficial to everyone. The harsh products that graced cleaning cabinets in the past are now known to pose hazards both to your personal health and the environment. While there are many things you should get rid of to keep your home green, your cleaning standards aren’t one of them. Maintain a safe and sparkling home with these eco-friendly cleaning methods.
Use Products from the Pantry
Some of the most effective cleaning methods are probably sitting in your pantry right now. They’re not the bottles with poison labels or hazard warnings, but rather those waiting for incorporation into a tasty recipe. White vinegar is mildly acidic, making it a great choice for scrubbing countertops and shower walls. It’s a natural deodorizer and dries without a trace of its signature smell. Baking soda is a powerful scrubbing agent that can battle tough grime. Combined with a splash of vinegar, it will foam away at any stain.
Add a fresh scent to your homemade cleaning products with a splash of lemon or orange juice squeezed right from the fruit. A sprinkle of salt in your cleaning compound will give it tougher scrubbing action.
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Look for Eco-Friendly Labels
While homemade products offer a powerful start to your daily cleaning regimen, sometimes you want the added effectiveness or sheer convenience of a store-bought cleanser. You can find green cleaners on the shelf when you know what to look for. Standout products are those that are committed to protecting the environment every step of the way.
Amway made the Forbes list of top private companies in part by distinguishing itself in this manner. It partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Design for the Environment program and participated in the International Association for Soaps, Detergents, and Maintenance Products (AISE) Charter for Sustainable Cleaning. Efforts like these help truly green products stand out.
Open Windows as You Clean
Opening your windows periodically is an excellent way to ventilate your home and release built-up toxins and allergens including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust mites, and dander. If your cleaning products do contain chemicals, opening the windows when you clean will help them dissipate so you’re not keeping these hazardous compounds sealed in the house with you. Get into the habit of opening your windows to clean even if you use safe products, and you’ll ensure that the home is aired out regularly.
Clean the Air Naturally
Most traditional air fresheners contain hazardous chemicals. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 12 of the 14 air fresheners they tested contained phthalates, which can cause reproductive problems, birth defects, and other abnormalities. This was true even of products labeled “unscented” or “all-natural.”
Instead of using air fresheners to artificially clean the air, try an all-natural method. House plants can remove many toxic compounds from the air including formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and xylene. Some of the top performers include spider plants, dracaena, peace lily, bamboo palm, and Boston fern. The ideal ratio is one plant for every 100 square feet of space in your home. Gather them in decorative clusters for a cleaning method that’s as attractive as it is healthy.
Stop Dirt at the Door
While you can do a great deal to limit the chemicals and pollutants that come into your home, there’s little you can do about those that linger outside. Family members can track any number of hazards into the home on their shoes, distributing dirt and debris on floors and carpets throughout the house. Place a basket at the door for shoes and ask everyone to remove theirs when they enter the house. This will keep these pollutants at the door where they belong and eliminate some floor scrubbing.
With the right products and cleaning methods, you can keep your home clean without putting anyone at risk. Protect the planet, your family, and your home at once with these efficient green strategies.