Let's talk about green cleaning. Every home has on average 62 different toxic chemicals present at any one time. This is worrying for obvious reasons, but more so because we spend 90 percent of our time indoors according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This means we are constantly touching, breathing in and ingesting these chemicals. Whether you’re at home or at work, going about your daily life usually includes getting your daily dose of volatile organic compounds which are typically found in your cleaning products.
What can be done about it? Unfortunately, the U.S. hasn't made many labeling laws for toxic substances. No one knows the true depth of exactly how devastating these products can be on your health and food sources. However, there is good news. It’s not hard to eliminate these toxic chemicals from your cleaning regime and your life. Here’s a look at how to do it.
Single-Ingredient Green Cleaning Products
Arguably the most important point in using single-ingredient cleaning products is that they can help revolutionize how you interact and treat your living space. You will find most of these ingredients in your cupboard, so they’ll not only be better for you, but they’ll be cheaper, too! The following ingredients can be used in various combinations to replace the majority of conventional cleaning cans and sprays:
- White Vinegar – Its anti fungal properties which are especially useful in the kitchen and bathroom
- Baking Soda – Baking soda gets rid of all lingering smells and used as a scouring agent.
- Lemon Juice – It’s an ideal stain remover — without harmful effects on your or your fabrics like you’d get from bleach.
- Liquid Castile Soap – This is a naturally rich and effective soap, making it perfect for cleaning.
Check out these recipes on DIY cleaning concoctions. These substances do the job and are largely non-toxic, biodegradable and petroleum-free. They’re not bad for the Earth — or you.
Poor air quality inside your house is often more harmful to your body than what you might find outside. Once again, this is due to the presence of 62 toxic chemicals in your house.
How can you remedy this? Along with switching to non-toxic alternatives for cleaning, ensuring you have frequent and effective ventilation is non-negotiable. Keeping windows open often is a must, as is limiting the use of your store-bought air fresheners. You might also try different combinations of spices, herbs and essential oils to fill your home with a natural carefree and healthy aroma.
While it’s sometimes difficult to insist upon in some social situations — and sometimes guests are just so insistent! — employing a no shoes policy in your household immediately cuts down on the worst offending chemicals which are traipsed in from the outside.
Think about the excrement — human and animal — the antifreeze, pollution and general oil you most likely accumulate on your shoe soles over the course of a day. Keeping your shoes on while in the house pollutes the lives of your children and pets — and anything or anyone else who has contact with the carpet or flooring.
Following the above tips on how to clean your home in a greener way will drastically change your home and transform it into a much more neutral and less damaging space for you and family. Given the fact that we spend most of our lives indoors, reducing any amount of toxicity is going to have major health benefits.
This article was written by Emily Folk. Emily works as a freelance blogger and writer on conservation and sustainability. Her mission is to make the world a better place to live and encourage others to do so also. To read more of her work, check out her blog, Conservation Folks, and follow her on Twitter.