Taking a greener approach to cleaning your home doesn’t have to be difficult. While switching to vinegar and baking soda from harsh chemicals is the right approach for some, there are many little ways to clean your home sustainably.
Switching out your toxic cleaning products for greener ones has many benefits. Eco-friendly cleaning products are better for the environment and prevent nasty chemicals and toxins from going down the drain. They’re also safer for children and pets and a good option if anyone in your home has sensitive skin. Swapping disposable products for reusable ones reduces household waste and can cost less in the long run.
Here are some easy greener ways to clean your home.
While it’s tempting to throw out all your cleaning products at once and start from scratch, it’s better to take a slow and steady approach to go green. Throwing out products creates more waste, and buying something new (even if it’s reusable) isn’t always the right answer.
Throw out half-used products. Use whatever product is left and replace them with a greener alternative.
Buy everything new. You can cut up old towels or clothes for dusting cloths rather than buying new ones.
Consider your lifestyle. Consider whether you’ll make that extra trip to the store to refill your products when they run out.
Many people don’t have the time to make their cleaning products. A good alternative is swapping your disposable bottles for reusable ones or swapping plastic products for glass. Glass bottles can be easily recycled, whereas many types of plastic can’t.
Buying reusable products is a better alternative to recycling. You can take your original product back to the store for a refill when you run out. This can save hundreds of bottles from landfill over a single lifetime. These New Zealand-based brands make it easy to purchase and refill your cleaning products:
Home-made cleaning products are great for a few reasons, they’re far cheaper than buying new products each once, and you’ll never run out! Baking soda, white vinegar, lemons, and salt are just some staples that can be mixed together to clean everything from your kitchen to your bathroom.
While it can be tempting to clean with an anti-bacterial cleaning wipe or a paper towel, these products create a lot of avoidable waste. These wipes can also dry out if you don’t use them quickly enough or if they aren’t stored correctly, forcing you to throw out half-used products.
Instead, start using cloths that you can throw into the washing machine. Microfibre towels are great for picking up dust and dirt and polishing surfaces. They dry quickly and can be thrown into the washing machine with a regular load of clothes. You can buy reusable cloths from a sustainability store, any regular cloths from the supermarket or even cut up old cloths from towels and clothes.
Always buy new cloths for your kitchen and food preparation areas. It’s also a good idea to buy different coloured cloths for use in your bathroom.
It doesn’t take long before that kitchen or bathroom sponge starts to look dirty and needs to be tossed out. Most sponges aren’t made from natural materials and will take decades to break down in a landfill. You can switch your regular sponge to a natural sponge made from cellulose or cotton fibres. Once you’re done with the, you can cut them up and throw them in your compost or green bin so that they can break down into the soil. They work just as well as conventional sponges but are far less harmful to the Earth.
Eco-friendly laundry detergent isn’t just better for the environment. Most eco-friendly detergents skip the harsh chemicals and scents that cause skin allergies and irritations. If you, or anyone in your home, get rashes or itchy from washing powder, switch to a brand that doesn’t have any added dyes or scents. Your clothes will be just as clean and fresh after every wash.
Plastic toothbrushes make great cleaning brushes for other parts of the home, especially hard-to-reach places. You can use them to clean the grout between your bathroom tiles and around the edges of your shower or bath. They’re also a great tool for cleaning the soles of your shoes, dust out of air vents, or for scrubbing small carpet stains.
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