Clever Cleaning Tips for Green Living
One of the most holistic ways we can adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle is to clean our homes mindfully. Oftentimes, the cheapest and most popular cleaners contain harsh chemicals that are bad for our bodies, our homes, and the earth.
Fortunately, cleaning with eco-friendly products doesn't have to complicated, time-consuming, or expensive. In fact, it's none of those things.
First, let's break down what you can expect in a quality cleaning solution. Then, we'll cover insider tips related to eco-friendly cleaning, from repurposed cleaning supplies to knowing which areas of the home to target.
Tip One: Search for Plant-Based Solutions
Anyone who googles 'eco-friendly home cleaning' will come across a few staples: lemons and baking soda. In terms of chemical composition, both are tough on grime while also being non-toxic.
Lemons are used for their citric acid content, which is antibacterial, has a low pH balance, and smells nice. Baking is also known as sodium bicarbonate, which is an alkaline substance that's effective and gentle. Keep a lookout for these ingredients, which are used as a base in nearly all earth-friendly cleaners.
Looking for a few more eco-friendly cleaning solutions? Try these:
- Vinegar can be mixed with water to clean floors of all types
- Chamomile tea can be used a spray-on fungicide
- Cucumber centers can be used to shine stainless steel
- Clove oil can be mixed with baking soda to treat mold
- Boiling water can be used to unclog drains
Tip Two: Use Microfiber for Micro-Messes
Finding the right cleaning solution is of utmost importance for eco-conscious consumers. However, as with all things earth-friendly, less is more. When it comes to daily tidying, a microfiber cloth will go the distance.
The tight weave in microfiber cloths makes them perfect for trapping dirt and bacteria. In fact, a high-quality microfiber towel will pick up 98% of bacteria with just water. Stronger solutions are necessary for issues like grease and calcium, but microfiber towels are great for small stablets.
They're also useful for:
- Getting rid of smudges on glass and reflective metallic surfaces
- Dusting (from baseboards to electronics)
- Daily wipe downs of countertops, tables, and other high-traffic areas
Tip Three: Repurpose At-Home Supplies
There's no need to buy plastic brushes and paper towels on cleaning day. In fact, many standard household items can be repurposed as cleaning supplies. Not only does this minimize waste and carbon emissions related to transportation, but it also saves consumers a trip to the supermarket and a few extra dollars.
Household items you can repurpose for cleaning
- Rather than paper towels, use recycled newspaper to clean glass and shine metals
- Rather than paper towels, use microfiber cloths to clean surfaces like countertops and cabinets
- Rather than buying plastic brushes, reuse toothbrushes or baby bottle brushes for hard-to-reach areas, like shower corners and in-between appliances
Tip Four: Target the Bathroom and Kitchen
Professional cleaners target two main areas in every home: the bathroom and the kitchen. Not only are these areas the germiest, but they also tend to be the places where we're most susceptible to bacteria.
In the kitchen, we touch surfaces and then our mouths without a second thought. In the bathroom, a hot shower opens the skin's pores and the lung's airways. As such, keeping both areas clean is of utmost importance.
As mentioned above, plant-based products that contain citric acid and sodium bicarbonate are safe for the body, home, and earth. In the kitchen, a multi-purpose cleaner is all that's needed for areas like countertops, stovetops, and handles, such as stovetop dials.
The bathroom is a bit tougher, as many residents face issues related to air circulation and, therefore, mold. The key here is prevention. Ventilate the bathroom with an open window or a de-humidifier, while also making sure drains are unclogged. Use a bathroom-specific product to target potential areas for mold growth on a regular basis.
Already have a mold problem? Consistency is often a great substitute for harsh chemicals like bleach. Leave a solution on the problem area overnight, then come back and get to scrubbing — this is a perfect time to use a repurposed toothbrush!
Tip Five: Clean Smarter, Not Harder
As we've highlighted, cleaning solutions can be incredibly simple in terms of ingredients and usage. Still, adopting an eco-friendly cleaning regime might seem like a big undertaking for many. When it doubt, clean smarter, not harder.
This means targeting areas that are more susceptible to bacteria like the kitchen and bathroom, as highlighted above. In terms of the entire home, one easy tip is to follow your hands, then target these areas with a multi-purpose cleaner often rather than doing a deep-clean every Sunday.
Can you remember the last time you sanitized these spots?
- Light switches
- Doorhandles, faucet handles, drawer and cabinet handles
- window ledges
- Appliance buttons and remote controls