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Green Cleaning: Safer Solutions For Your Home

March 4, 2024

Green Cleaning: Safer Solutions For Your Home

Why Choose Green Cleaning Products?

Traditional cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and formaldehyde. These chemicals can irritate eyes and skin, cause breathing problems, and have been linked to long-term health issues like asthma, cancer, and reproductive harm. Green cleaning, on the other hand, uses plant-based, non-toxic ingredients that are safer for your family and the environment.

As a homeowner looking to make my house cleaner and greener, I decided to switch to green cleaning solutions. Here’s what I’ve learned after researching and trying various green cleaning products for the past year.

Evaluating Green Cleaning Products

When scanning the cleaning aisle of my local grocery store, I quickly realized there are a lot of products labeled “green” or “natural”. But how could I tell which ones were truly safe and effective?

I learned to look for third-party certifications on product labels, like the EPA’s Safer Choice label or the USDA Organic seal. These certifications verify that products meet certain standards for using non-toxic, sustainable ingredients. I also started checking the ingredient list and avoiding products with harsh solvents, carcinogens, or unspecified “fragrance” ingredients.

To compare green cleaners, I relied heavily on reviews. Consumer Reports and Green America publish great guides ranking green cleaners on their cleaning power and sustainability. Bloggers like Wellness Mama shared helpful first-hand reviews of DIY options. Resources like these helped me feel confident I was choosing the safest, most effective products.

My Favorite Green Cleaning Solutions

After much trial and error, I’ve settled on a roster of green cleaning staples that work great in my home. Here are a few of my favorites:

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Seventh Generation All-Purpose Cleaner – Non-toxic and powerful on grease and grime. I use it for cleaning counters, appliances, finished wood, and more. It earns top marks from Consumer Reports.

Glass + Window Cleaner

  • Vinegar – My go-to for streak-free windows and mirrors. I mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. It’s cheap, effective, and chemical-free!

Disinfecting Cleaner

  • Thymox Disinfectant Spray – Made from thyme oil, this EPA-approved spray kills 99.9% of germs without harsh chemicals. It’s great for disinfecting surfaces like doorknobs that my toddler loves to touch.

Laundry Detergent

  • Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent – Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, this gentle laundry soap cleans our clothes without irritating sensitive skin.

Dish Soap

  • Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap – Available in lovely scents like honeysuckle, this soap cuts through grease using plant-derived ingredients like soybean oil.

DIY Green Cleaning Recipes

In addition to store-bought products, I often whip up my own green cleaning solutions. Here are a few DIY recipes I rely on:

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄4 cup vinegar
  • 1⁄2 tsp castile soap
  • 10 drops tea tree oil (disinfectant)
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil (cuts grease, freshens scent)

Scrubbing Cleanser

  • 1⁄2 cup baking soda
  • Enough liquid castile soap to make a paste
  • 5-10 drops essential oil of your choice

This soft scrub cleans soap scum, counters, bathtubs, etc. without scratching.

Wood Furniture Polish

  • 1⁄4 cup vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 20-30 drops lemon essential oil

Polishes wood and leaves a fresh lemon scent. Shake well before each use.

Tips for Green Cleaning Success

Switching to green cleaning products can require some adjustment. Here are my top tips for success:

  • Read all labels – Don’t assume everything marked “natural” is non-toxic. Check for specific ingredients and third-party certifications instead.

  • Spot test new products – Test on a small inconspicuous area first to check for any damage or residue.

  • Use microfiber cloths – These reusable cloths clean better with less product than paper towels.

  • Mix up DIY cleaners – DIY cleaners are inexpensive and packaging-free. Be sure to label each bottle.

  • Switch gradually – Start with one room or product category at a time for an easier transition.

The Benefits Are Worth It

While green cleaning takes some extra diligence, the benefits for my health and the planet make it worthwhile. I breathe easier knowing I’m not exposing my family to harmful chemicals. And I love that these products are gentler on vulnerable groups like kids, pregnant women, and pets.

Have you made the switch to green cleaning? I’d love to hear your favorite products and recipes! Let me know if you have any other questions as I continue on my green cleaning journey.

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