Put down the bleach and step away from those toxic and abrasive spray cleaners. Cleaning your home shouldn’t require a hazmat suit.
Of course, you want everything to smell and look clean, but what if you could get the same results without all of the harsh chemicals? Conventional cleaning products are usually petroleum-based. They are harmful to your health, and they have environmental implications, but cleaning products don’t need to annihilate everything to be effective.
With a little prep work, you won’t find yourself aisles packed with hundreds of brands of cleaners wondering which one is best for your family.
Here are some natural products and methods to keep your house clean and fresh without all the toxic side effects.
1 The many uses of baking soda and vinegar
These two substances are partners in crime designed to clean your home from top to bottom. The chemical reaction from mixing baking soda with vinegar makes it useful for more than classic childhood science experiments with paper mache volcanoes. It is also great for cutting through grease, unclogging a drain, cleaning a bathtub and other types of chores.
The technical term for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It’s a type of salt, and like all salt, it is a neutral compound formed from a positively charged ion and negatively charged ion. It isn’t acidic, which is why it is such a good cleaning. Most odors are acidic, and baking soda can neutralize the smell.
White vinegar alone can extract stubborn carpet stains or help with hard water stains in a sink. Vinegar also fights mildew, bacteria and germs. It is a great alternative to chemical cleaners for countertops and bathrooms.
2. Natural air fresheners don’t disappoint
Aerosol cans of air freshener are convenient, which is why approximately 75 percent of U.S. households use them. Are they worth it? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most store-bought air fresheners consist of formaldehyde, petrochemicals, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol pollutants.
These chemicals can irritate eyes and skin as well as exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms Before you grab another can of freshener consider alternatives.
You can boil a pot of cinnamon and vanilla extract. Use cotton swabs, and essential oils or create your own spray. Open the windows to allow a cool breeze to improve the indoor air quality. Put a citrus peel down the garbage disposal. Hang eucalyptus in the shower, and use baking powder in the places where foul odors are common like the refrigerator or near the trash bin.
Don’t always be on the defensive when it comes to smelly situations. Wash dirty dishes sooner rather than later, throw out bad food before it starts to grow mold or go sour, take out the trash daily and keep dirty laundry out of the bathroom. Little habits go a long way in keeping your home from smelling foul.
3. Limit antibacterial cleaners
Germs are often the enemy, especially if you have young children running around the house, but how necessary are antibacterial cleaners? For most of your household messes, gentle dish soap is sufficient to kill viruses and eliminate the dirt.
While there is some concern overuse of antibacterial cleaners will lead to super viruses, there isn’t any conclusive evidence. However, in 2016 the FDA began banning chemicals in antibacterial soaps because they didn’t prove to be any more effective at preventing illnesses and some experts were concerned the chemicals could affect hormonal balances and cause other side effects.
If you have to make a decision between cleaners, don’t reach for antibacterial options. They don’t kill germs any better than regular soap.
4. Opt for recycled or biodegradable products
Before you rip off another paper towel, grab an old t-shirt and cut it up into rags for doing the dirty work. Use old newspapers to wash windows, and if you absolutely need a paper towel, purchase a brand that uses recycled paper.
If you aren’t excited about making your own cleaners, there are eco-friendly brands available. The Good Trade provides a list of products for “conscious homes.”
5. Stock up on the classics
Of course, you know vinegar and baking soda will tackle almost any messy challenge you throw at it, but there are other natural cleaners too.
Keep your home stocked with:
- hydrogen peroxide for stains
- borax for laundry, disinfecting and stain removal
- corn starch
- liquid soap
- rubbing alcohol
- Lemon juice
Consider things you think smell nice too like cinnamon, lavender or citrus. You can usually purchase high concentration oils (essential oils) at the local grocery store.
A clean home is great because you will feel less stress and enjoy your space. Sometimes, cleaning is easier said than done, especially when you are a glorified chauffeur for your kids and managing a demanding work schedule. How can you worry about eco-friendly cleaning supplies when you can hardly find the time to wash the dishes, much less make your own dish soap?
A 2 Green Chicks, we can give you more time in the day by tackling the house chores on your todo list. Give us a call at 405.928.8535 for a quote on cleaning services to fit your needs and lifestyle.