On the heels of our previous post about organizing and simplifying during a move, it seemed appropriate to talk about about cleaning. After all, once you’ve tidied up your home, keeping it clean is the natural next step. These days, there are a wide variety of safe and effective cleaning products available, allowing us to have a sparkling space without using harsh or toxic chemicals. So, let’s get down to discussing the nitty gritty of green cleaning.
What to avoid
For homeowners who wish to use environmentally friendly cleaners, the first step is to take stock of the products you are currently using. Any cleaner that has a harsh or perfumed odor most likely includes toxic chemicals. Read the labels and check for any of the following ingredients. These are ones to avoid if you intend to use nontoxic, green cleaning solutions.
- Petroleum products
- Sodium lauryl sulphate
- Ingredients such as sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and quaternary ammonium compounds. These substances, called asthmagens, may result in asthma in normally healthy, non-asthmatic people not mention have negative affects on those with respiratory issues.
Don’t believe packaging claims
Many products have packaging that is designed to appear ‘green’ by using recycled materials as well as a universally recognized brown and green color scheme. Some cleaners claim to be ‘natural’ yet still include noxious chemicals from the list above. A good indicator of a green cleaner is the USDA’s “Certified Organic” seal of approval.
The truth about air fresheners
We all want our homes to smell clean and fresh. Many of us use either spray or plug-in versions of air fresheners to make our home smell good but the truth is, most of the fragrance you smell is not derived from natural ingredients.
When choosing air freshening products, look for those that don’t include harsh substances and use naturally scented derivatives, such as lemon, eucalyptus or peppermint oils.
Alternately, you can create your own aromatic scents by purchasing your favorite essential oils, placing a few drops on a cottonball and tucking away in discrete locations throughout your home.
Make your own
There are some basic household items from which you can whip up your own green cleaning products. One part white vinegar to two parts water works great as an all-purpose cleaner perfect for most surfaces. White vinegar is also a great deodorizer and can be added to your laundry to help freshen athletic clothing, towels and anything else that might need a boost.
Baking soda is a great option for bathroom surfaces such as tubs, tile, shower basins and sinks as long as there isn’t significant build up.
And to tackle dusting, use two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice applied to a microfiber towel. It will leave your furniture looking great and your home smelling sweet.
Green product recommendations
There are some great nontoxic, green cleaning products available. Below we’ve listed a few recommendations.
Bon Ami Powder Cleanser
Ecover Cream Scrub
Attitude All Purpose Eco Cleaner
Nature Clean Automatic Dishwasher Pacs
Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Powder
Seventh Generation Natural Tub & Tile Cleaner
Seventh Generation natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Flooring and Carpets
Simple Green Naturals Floor Care
Simple Green Naturals Carpet care
Going green when cleaning your home doesn’t mean giving up sparkling floors, bathrooms and surfaces. You can create your own effective, green cleaning solutions or choose from the many all-natural products available at local stores in Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and throughout the Silicon Valley that will clean your home and keep your living environment free of harsh chemicals.