As society moves towards adopting more and more clean alternatives for energy, transportation, and industry, more households are looking for ways to clean their home with products that do not have adverse effects on their health or the environment.
The following article is a brief guide to environmentally friendly green cleaning around the house.
The Risks of Using Harsh Cleaning Products
It is estimated that over 100,000 marine animals are killed due to plastic pollution from commercial cleaning products. Animal and marine life is also devastated by toxic pollution from cleaning chemicals enter waterways.
Air pollution, especially in the home, can also be increased by the use of chemical cleaning products. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that indoor air pollution from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be 100 times over the level of pollution occurring outside.
Bathrooms, laundries and kitchens are the areas of the house most likely to attract the use of hazardous or toxic chemicals for cleaning.
Green Cleaning Tips
There is an old saying that goes, 'everything can kill you, what matters is the dose'. A lot of common cleaning products are not particularly harmful to yourself, your family or the environment when used in limited quantities. The problem is that many people simply apply the more is better adage and use too much product, creating excess emissions, odours, runoff and residue.
It is important to remember manufacturers have a vested interest in getting you to use more of their product. As such, the manufacturer’s instructions may still recommend too much product. Experiment and find out how little product you can use while still getting the results you need.
Allow More Time
If chemical cleaners are given more time to work, you will need less of them to do the job. Soak items that have been stained or marked as long as you can. Leave pots, pans and clothes to soak overnight. Toilets can be left to soak until next used. Stains and grime on countertops and stoves can be soaked by placing a cloth wet with the dilute cleaning solution on the stain overnight.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Prevent dirt or stains causing a problem in the first place. Regular light cleaning will prevent a build up of dirt and remove a stain before it sets permanently. In wet areas like bathrooms, ensuring adequate drying and ventilation will prevent the growth and build up of mould and mildew.
Better Tools Mean a Better Job
Often the best way to clean something is with old fashioned elbow grease. To do this effectively you will need a good brush, scourer or cleaning cloth. You can find cleaning tools made out of natural materials to reduce your reliance on plastic. Cotton microfiber and bamboo is often used in eco-friendly cleaning tools, along with natural fibers for bristles, or biodegradable alternative plastics. Some modern microfibre cloths are designed to do specific cleaning jobs with water alone, no cleaning products required.
Creating Your Own Green Cleaning Products
There are eight ingredients that can be used to make a huge number of eco-friendly cleaning products. These products include:
- Distilled white wine vinegar
- Baking soda
- Olive oil
- Eucalyptus and lavender oil
- Corn starch
- Sodium borate.
Sources and Further Reading
This article was updated on 23rd May, 2019.