A guest blog all about how to clean your home sustainably, written by Jade Piper.
Thoroughly cleaning your home can not only be done by chemicals and environmentally dangerous products, there are plenty of great natural alternatives. Below is a guide to keeping your home green while cleaning and how it helps to protect our enviornent.
Stop Using Disposable Products
Antibacterial wipes, paper towels, and plastic bottles add up quickly during a Saturday of housecleaning or for daily tidying up. However, these can be easily replaced to make room for less wasteful products.
Old towels can be cut to size to make your own antibacterial wipes. Not only do you keep from throwing out used wipes/ towels, but you can also control the ingredients and use more sustainable containers. While glass is probably the best thing to swap your plastic container for, you can also reuse plastic bottles once they are empty.
Don’t Forget to Recycle or Upcycle
When you are cleaning or tidying up, separate paper and plastics from trash for recycling. This is a given in most environmentally-conscious homes. However, we sometimes forget to recycle or upcycle clothing, shoeboxes, and plastic food containers.
Fast fashion has come under fire for its environmentally irresponsible behavior, so donating or upcycling old clothing can combat some of the damage already being done.
People have been cleaning tough stains and surfaces for centuries. Though we have powerful chemical cleaners now, the natural cleaners first used in kitchens all over the world are better for your health and the environment.
For example, many harsh chemicals cannot be used on food preparation surfaces or near children or pets. While some natural cleaners may also have this issue, natural cleaners are much safer. Here are a few of those cleaners with info on what they work best to clean.
Vinegar has been used as a disinfectant since its discovery, it seems. It cleans many household surfaces, and since it is formed from fermentation and alcohol, it is a natural disinfectant.
Distilled white vinegar is the variety used for cleaning. Other varieties of vinegar have other household uses, but you should leave the cleaning to the white vinegar variety. Though you can use it undiluted in some situations, you will almost always dilute it with water only or add another cleaning agent such as borax or dish detergent.
A combination of vinegar and water is excellent for many kitchens and bathroom floor surfaces. Mixing a cup of vinegar to about a gallon of water is the most commonly used combination for most vinyl and linoleum.
If you have tile, stone, or some other floor type, check your manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaners. Many of them also recommend natural, non-toxic ingredients, so finding the appropriate ratio should not be a problem.
Adding a little vinegar to washing your whites can brighten them up. Be sure to use white vinegar this time without exception. Other kinds of vinegar, like apple cider vinegar, often contain colourising agents that can discolour your clothing.
You can even pour a little vinegar in your dishwasher and run it on an empty cycle. It will remove soap scum and any mould that may have been deposited in the dishwasher. Your next dish cycle will thank you.
Your microwave might be your most frequently used cooking appliance at times, but it’s also a germ and grime magnet. Things explode, spill, and leak with nearly every run and even if you wipe up these mishaps, germs and fungus still take hold.
One of the fastest ways to clean a microwave is to put a bowl of water (with a wooden spoon) in the microwave and heat it for five minutes. This loosens stuck-on foods that you might miss with a simple swipe. Add a quarter cup of vinegar to a cup of water, and the solution becomes antibacterial. Next, use a clean cloth to wipe down the interior.
General Kitchen Surfaces
The outside surfaces of appliances, countertops, and cabinets can all benefit from a little vinegar scrub. For most surfaces, a ratio of one part water to two parts vinegar is best. A good wipe down can kill germs just like your antibacterial wipes would, but you don’t leave behind potentially toxic chemicals.
Like vinegar, baking soda is an excellent cleaner. However, it can be more abrasive, so you will need to be careful with the types of surfaces that you use it on.
Baking soda can do a fantastic job cleaning your bathroom tiles. You can mix it with other agents such as liquid detergent (but not vinegar).
This same mixture can also get stains out of clothing and works especially well with Blue Dawn. A good scrub, and your tiles will look like new.
If you are cleaning your tiles and the grout is being stubborn, try a mixture of baking soda and peroxide. Be careful, though, as this will fizz too.
Though it seems vinegar should be used all over the kitchen, baking soda shines here too. Degrease your oven with a paste of baking soda and warm water. You may need to let it sit on a warmed oven surface for a few hours.
These are just a few ways you can use eco-friendly cleaners around your house. Cleaners, recycling, upcycling, and eliminating single-use plastics are great ways to convert your home to an eco-friendlier place.
You can also start to recycle through composting and growing your own fruits and vegetables. Converting to becoming more eco-friendly through cleaning products will take time but you can take baby steps and make constant improvements to your process.
Don’t dispose of non-eco friendly products all at once. As you use them up, replace them with eco-friendly alternatives such as vinegar, water, and detergent in a glass bottle ready to fight germs.
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