Cleaning is hardly anyone’s favourite job, and it’s fair to say we’re probably more interested in getting it over with than we are in trying to improve our cleaning game in any way… Something we don’t tend to address are the health and environmental flags that come with cleaning and products we use. Particularly the association with toxins, pollutants and waste. The truth is, a lot of the popular cleaning products on the market use thousands of potentially damaging chemicals. Chemicals we freely ingest the more we use these products in our homes. While they may be effective cleaners, the impact they have on the environment and us, by polluting our airways and natural environments, is pretty alarming. Here’s why you should make the switch to clean living products, how to do it, and where to shop:
What is green cleaning?
Green cleaning is a multi-layered term, but its main goal is to encourage the use of cleaning products and methods that are natural, environmentally friendly, safe and healthy. Overall green cleaning follows a single, number one rule. To reduce waste. For some, this might mean leaning on home-made remedies and household substances like baking soda, vinegar and lemons, while others might rely on certified ‘clean’ or ‘green’ brands. And guess what, both are equally positive changes to make to your home! Whether you’re mixing up home-remedies, or being smarter about the products you buy, these choices will work to detoxify your home and lifestyle and prevent waste.
Home remedies skip-out on the toxins, and avoid the excessive and draining manufacturing process that branded products undergo. While clean branded products often use biodegradable packaging, are fair-trade and use organically-grown and sustainable ingredients. However, there is a need to approach ‘green’ or ‘environmental’ brands with a little caution. Since there is little regulation of the household cleaning industry, many brands that claim to be ‘clean’ or ‘green’ may still be using harmful chemicals unlisted on their ingredients list. So be wary!
Why is it so important?
Detoxing your lifestyle has certainly become a trend in the wellness space, and for good reason. Switching to home remedies or clean products can reduce your exposure to noxious fumes that settle on surfaces and pollute the air. And with a large majority of us spending most of our time inside, due to work, school and other commitments, cleaning up our air indoors should be a priority, especially if we want to reduce potential health risks.
Certain chemicals used in conventional cleaning products present known or suspected problems for those that use them and can also be harmful to the environment once washed down the drain. Phosphates are an example of this, causing (to use a fancy term) eutrophication of waterways. This simply means lakes, rivers and other bodies of water are polluted by chemicals in your cleaning products, causing reduced water quality. On top of this, there are also many chemicals used in conventional products which we know nothing about. Since companies choose chemicals for their effectiveness, and not their healthiness, there are a multitude of risks we could be unknowingly exposed to. Not to mention that many on-the-market conventional cleaners have been found to be ineffective, and not worth your money. On the counter, natural home-made remedies have been found to be a cheaper and more effective option for many households.
DIY your way to a healthier home
Detoxing your home can be much easier than you think. A few simple household swaps and habit changes can lead to a healthier, safer home for you and your family.
Scented candles for essential oil blends. These natural scents are the perfect touch for any home, completely non-invasive and soothing. Try an oil diffuser or humidifier.
Plastic wrap and sandwich bags for natural beeswax food wraps. These waxy wraps are a greener alternative to single-use plastic cling wrap. Made from all-natural ingredients, they keep food fresh and can be easily washed and re-used over and over again.
For an inexpensive homemade cleaner…
Add apple cider vinegar to water and scent with essential oils of your choice.
For a quick and easy floor cleaner…
Add vinegar and tea tree oil to a bucket of warm water. This combo is an effective, natural disinfectant, with the tea tree oil leaving a clean, natural scent.
For an effective stain-remover…
Dilute lemon juice in water (1 part lemon juice to 3 parts water). Dab this mixture on the stain and let sit for 30 minutes. Then sprinkle a cloth with natural baking soda and give the stain a good scrub. For stubborn stains, you may to repeat this a few times.