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Green Cleaning for Beginners: Getting Started

March 5, 2024

Green Cleaning for Beginners: Getting Started

Why Green Cleaning?

Going green with cleaning can benefit your health, home, and the environment. Here’s why I decided to start green cleaning:

Healthier Home

Conventional cleaning products often contain harmful chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and formaldehyde. These can cause issues like:

  • Headaches
  • Asthma attacks
  • Allergic reactions

Green cleaning uses natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils instead. This helps create a healthier home environment for me and my family.

Environmentally Friendly

Many conventional cleaning chemicals get washed down the drain and pollute waterways. I want to avoid this with green products that are biodegradable and safe for the environment.

Cost Effective

Green cleaners are easy to make at home using ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap. This saves money compared to buying conventional cleaners.

Non-Toxic for Pets

My cat likes to walk around while I clean. Green cleaners avoid toxic chemicals so I don’t have to worry if she licks a floor or countertop after cleaning.

Getting Started with Green Cleaning

Here are some tips to help beginners like me get started with green cleaning:

1. Replace Conventional Cleaners

First, I took an inventory of all my cleaners and began replacing them with green options:

  • All-purpose cleaner: vinegar, water, essential oils
  • Glass cleaner: vinegar, water, essential oils
  • Disinfectant: hydrogen peroxide, vinegar

2. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

DIY cleaners are inexpensive, effective, and customized to my needs. Here are some easy recipes to try:

  • All-purpose spray: mix 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and 15 drops essential oils in a spray bottle
  • Scrubbing powder: mix baking soda and 10 drops essential oils

3. Use Microfiber Cloths and Rags

Microfiber cloths are reusable, washable, and do a great job cleaning and polishing without chemical cleaners. I switched out all my paper towels and cloths.

4. Focus on Elbow Grease

Many green cleaners rely more on mechanical action (scrubbing, wiping) than chemical cleaners. A little extra elbow grease goes a long way!

5. Start with High-Use Areas

I focused first on high-use areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and family rooms to replace cleaners and products there. Over time, I expanded to the whole home.

Making Your Own Green Cleaning Supplies

Making DIY cleaners is cost effective, customizable, and eco-friendly. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 15-20 drops essential oil (eucalyptus, lemon, etc)

Combine in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe down surfaces. The vinegar disinfects while the essential oils add cleaning power and scent.

Scrubbing Cleanser

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops essential oil

Mix baking soda and essential oil in a container. Sprinkle on surfaces, add water, and scrub to clean and remove odors. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.

Glass Cleaner

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol (optional)

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. The vinegar breaks up dirt while the alcohol helps dry cleaner faster. Spray and wipe down windows and mirrors for a streak-free shine.

Disinfectant Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Combine in a spray bottle. Hydrogen peroxide naturally disinfects surfaces. Spray and let sit for several minutes before wiping. Great for sanitizing counters, toilets, and floors.

Tips for Effective Green Cleaning

After several months of green cleaning, here are some tips I’ve learned:

  • Use microfiber cloths: They clean better with less chemical cleaners
  • Open windows: Let in fresh air when using natural cleaners like vinegar
  • Clean sinks/drains weekly: Use baking soda and vinegar to prevent clogs
  • Sweep regularly: Remove dirt before mopping; avoids scratching floors
  • Sanitize sponges: Disinfect in bleach solution to kill germs
  • Change dish rags/sponges often: Bacteria accumulate over time

The transition to green cleaning wasn’t difficult. My house is cleaner and healthier than ever before. Give it a try and see the eco-friendly difference!

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