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Everyone wants a clean house, but the products and methods we use can affect our family’s health and the environment.
Many household cleaners are dangerous when they enter the environment or when we are repeatedly exposed to them.
And, unfortunately, the toxins build up in our homes over time and from repeated use.
We all want cleaning products safe for babies – cuz if they’re safe for babies, they’re safe for all of us.
The good news is that there are environmentally friendly ways to clean your house and keep your family healthy!
And it doesn’t have to be expensive, hard to find, organic cleaners either.
One of the biggest issues with buying natural cleansers is that sometimes they don’t seem to work as well as the commercial cleaning products.
But there are so many options for cleaning with natural products that you’re sure to find something that works just as well (if not better!).
Here are some ideas to go beyond organic cleaners
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Recycle and donate unwanted items
Decluttering and tidying up are the first step to, not only cleaning, but making your house feel clean.
Toys are often overwhelming and you can find out how I downsize toys here.
As you clean, separate unwanted paper and unwanted plastics for recycling.
If you run across an item you no longer want, consider other uses you or others may have for it.
An old shirt may be a fine cleaning cloth, while an old backpack might be just what a family shopping at Goodwill needs.
We can greatly cut down our waste and be more environmentally (and budget!) friendly by finding multiple uses for things we already have.
Buy non-toxic and green cleaners
I’ll totally admit that I’m not a very good DIYer.
So I usually look for products that are non-toxic, green, and as close to all natural as I can.
Cleaning without chemicals is a lifestyle choice that often comes with a higher price tag, but it doesn’t have to!
For non-toxic floor cleaner I’ve been super impressed by this hard floor cleaner – works amazing on my wood AND tile (yay for only 1 product to do both!).
The bathroom is an area of the home that I try to find natural products – but they have to really WORK.
I switched to this natural toilet cleaner and haven’t looked back! It works just as hard as the conventional stuff I used to use and leaves a much better (and natural!) scent.
I really like this non toxic all purpose cleaner for cleaning the toilet seat, counter tops, sinks, as well as lots of other areas of my house (yay for multi use products!!)
The best thing about these products is that they are very affordable and can often be used throughout your home – you don’t need to go broke to clean green!
Avoid using paper products for cleaning
Despite the convenience of items like paper towels and disposable floor cleaning pads like Swiffer, these products are not environmentally-friendly or wallet-friendly.
Instead of spending ten dollars or more on a bulk package of paper towels or Swiffer refills, invest in a mop that can be used wet or dry with washable pads like this one.
Already have a Swiffer? Just get some reusable pads like these that will fit!
Most of the reusable pads and mop heads can even be washed in the washing machine for easy, quick cleaning.
Although you can purchase towels for cleaning, it would be greener to recycle those old t-shirts, bath towels, and sheets.
Simply cut them into appropriately sized pieces and use them as you would paper towels.
If you need to buy cleaning cloths look for biodegradable and reusable options like these.
You can wash them over and over again.
And, really, no one will care what your cleaning towels look like!
If you have a particularly nasty spill like a pet mess, there will be no loss in throwing them away.
You’ll save money and quite a few trees.
Avoid cleaning products or air fresheners containing ‘fragrance’
Avoiding fragrance in your home cleaning products and air fresheners will make your home far more environmentally friendly as well as healthier.
‘Fragrance’ is a term that the Food and Drug Administration in the United States does not regulate.
The ingredients in one fragrance may differ greatly from another because the term is considered proprietary.
Companies can merely list ‘fragrance’ on their labels without listing the contents of the fragrance.
Often, fragrance contains petro-chemicals, which means the chemicals are made from petroleum.
In addition to the harm caused by the extraction of this limited resource and the political turmoil it causes worldwide, exposure to petro-chemicals has also been linked to hormone disruption in humans.
Whether you believe these health concerns or not, avoiding fragrance will reduce reliance on petroleum and keep it out of the ground water.
Use natural ways to keep the air in your home fresh.
Need some ideas?
Don’t miss my Natural Air Freshener post here
Instead of fragrance to freshen the air in your home, bring in some houseplants.
They will clean the air naturally without any harsh chemicals.
If there is a particular odor you want to get rid of, open a box of baking soda and leave it near the offending odor.
The baking soda will absorb the odor naturally.
Leave windows open to improve air quality and purchase an air purifier for days when windows can’t be left open.
Make your own house cleaning products
Using home-made cleaning supplies will cut down on the toxins that seep into the ground water, help avoid aerosols, and keep petroleum-containing fragrances away from your family.
An investment in vinegar, baking soda, borax, cornstarch, rubbing alcohol, lemon juice and unscented, petroleum-free soap will make your home cleaning cheaper and greener.
These are the basic ingredients for most home-made cleaning supplies.
I love these recipes (especially the videos!) to make your own all natural products.
I’ve also found some awesome books to help you find just the right recipe every time you need it!
The Organically Clean Home: 150 Everyday Organic Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself–The Natural, Chemical-Free Way
by Becky Rapinchuk
Becky Rapinchuck is a fellow blogger at CleanMama.net.
She’s been featured on Oprah.com, HGTV and has one of the top organization blogs online.
Her book, The Organically Clean Home, has 150 easy to make recipes for cleaning products with all natural ingredients.
From no bleach laundry whitening to antibacterial wipes this book has everything you need!
101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home: A Nerdy Farm Wife’s All-Natural DIY Projects Using Commonly Found Herbs, Flowers & Other Plants
by Jan Berry
If you’re looking for a book that includes recipes for cleaning products not just for your house but also yourself this is the one for you!
In it, you can find recipes from fellow blogger Jan Berry for herbal cough drops, pet products, shampoo, and of course cleaning around the house.
The book even gives you tips on how to create your own recipes.
It is filled with gorgeous photos so you know exactly what you’re making.
This is the perfect book for someone who is just getting started and is looking for one book that covers all their non-toxic home needs.
by Karyn Siegel-Maier
Karyn Siegel-Maier is an author and frequent contributor to Natural Living Today and Mother Earth News.
Her book focuses on the natural cleaning power of herbs, fruit, and other natural materials.
In the book, you can learn to clean your oven with orange or use rosemary to restore your rug.
Even how to wax your car with beeswax!
The book also shows you which herbs and essential oils can be substituted for others and which ones work well.
While this book does have some fantastic recipes in it there are a few things missing.
This is a great book for someone who already has the basics down and is looking for a little bit more.
Natural Cleaning Recipes: Essential Oils Recipes to Safely Clean Your Home, Save Money, and Protect Your Family (Essential Oils Books Book 1)
by Becki Andrus
42 natural recipes based on essential oils that will keep your house smelling fresh, looking clean, and pest free.
The recipes are all cost-effective and fantastic for beginners.
You may even find that you have most of the ingredients in your house already!
Leave shoes at the door
Avoid carrying in what you’ve stepped in all day by leaving your shoes at the door.
While this is more of a preventative measure, it will go a long way toward keeping dirt and toxins out of your home.
Be mindful of dry cleaning
Chemicals used by conventional dry cleaning can be hazardous to your home and health.
Dry clean as little as possible, but when it is unavoidable, take precautions.
When you bring dry cleaning home, take it out of the bag before you get into your house and let it air out for a few minutes.
Wind will blow away some of the chemicals before you bring them into your home.
Hiring cleaning services
When I worked, we had a cleaning service.
Because there just wasn’t time or energy to do deep cleaning regularly.
There are so many green cleaning services out there now that if you need a little help with the cleaning you can still have all natural products used in your home.
Simple and natural cleaning products will keep your home clean and your family healthy.
Many of these tips were commonly used just a few decades ago, but modern life has convinced us to rely on harsh chemicals and wasteful habits to keep our homes clean.
A few extra minutes and some research will help you clean your home in an environmentally friendly manner that’s better for your family too.