spring cleaning, minus the toxins

Now that the time has changed, spring is fully in the air, and with that comes spring cleaning! I've been spending the past few weeks cleaning out unneeded items in my house, and now it's time to give the whole place a good scrubbing. 

One of the first things to do when you're ready to get cleaning is to look at the products you have. Many cleaning products include strong, artificial colors and fragrances and harsh cleansing agents like bleach, ammonia and acids. These chemicals can produce indoor air pollution by off-gassing toxic fumes that can irritate eyes and lungs. Think about the surfaces your children or pets can get on, and then think about what products you use on those surfaces. Do you want your two- or four-legged loved ones ingesting toxic chemicals? (I know I don't!)

There are many eco-friendly cleaning products out today, and many of them do just as good a job as their standard counterpart. Two of the biggest brands around are Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers. You can find items ranging from hand soap to dish soap, dishwasher detergent, countertop spray, carpet cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner and laundry detergent. Both brands take the toxins out of their products, and Mrs. Meyers products are plant-based. And they both WORK. Mrs. Meyers' countertop spray really does well in making my kitchen shine (well, as much as an ugly apartment kitchen CAN shine!)

Clorox has a greener line of cleaners under the name Green Works. The products are all plant-based and biodegradable. It's probably the most widely available alternative product line.

One brand I recently discovered and love is Ecover. Their dishwasher detergent works very well and gives me peace of mind that no gross residue is left on my dishes. (In fact, this is a good time to remind myself: You're running out of detergent packets...go buy more!)

The Daily Green features reviews of 7 top green cleaner labels, including Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation, Green Works and Ecover. Real Simple reviews 10 green cleaning products. And Oprah tested green cleaning products and found which ones work the best.

And when you are shopping for cleaning products, look for the Green Good Housekeeping seal. It was introduced in 2009 with the goal of testing the green marketing claims of many supposedly eco-friendly products on the market and "set a mainstream bar for consumers who want to live a greener lifestyle."

But maybe you want to be really crafty, and maybe feel a little like a scientist. If that's the case, dive in and make your own cleaning products! Vinegar, citrus and baking soda are staples of so many homemade cleaners that do all kinds of tricks. And here's a secret cleaner you will have never thought to use...vodka! It can do so many things around the house...or at the very least, drinking it while you clean can make the time go by a little quicker!

The Daily Green shows different homemade cleaner recipes for different purposes. And Apartment Therapy recently featured a tutorial on making a citrus cleaner that I would love to try.

Homemade cleaners can clean countertops, windows, tile and floors, all safely.

And beyond actual cleaning products, if you're looking for a new mop or broom, look for one made of recycled materials. I recently found a broom at Target made with recycled bristles and plastic. And if you're crafty, you can make your own broom! I recently found this tutorial on making a broom out of plastic bottles.

And don't forget to stock up on greener sponges and rags. One big key to being green is using reusable items instead of disposables. Use rags instead of paper towels. Even cut up old t-shirts to use as rags (just make sure they aren't water-repellant!) There are reusable Swiffer duster alternatives, which will drastically cut down on waste.

After you tackle spring cleaning the eco-friendly way, your house, family and pets will love you even more!


Unknown said...

I heart green cleaning!

Anonymous said...

It's so refreshing to not have a house that smells like chemicals, isn't it? :)

Back to Top