In reading up on various ways and areas of my life where I can improve my sustainability, I have been very happy to note that in the categories of work/office, electronics, health & beauty and fashion, I am pretty darn green. In household and food areas, I practice a lot of sustainable habits but have learned about so many more that can be easily incorporated.
One area that was a huge concern to me, the more I read about it, was all the cleaners that we use. Did you know that, in spite of pollution, the air inside the average American home is five to ten times more toxic than the air outside? Indoor air is typically contaminated by between 20 and 150 different pollutants – most of which come from petroleum based cleaners. (I will add this to my easy Rule of P’s – avoid Plastics, individual/excessive Packaging, Processed foods, and now Petroleum based products).
These are so dangerous that the New York Times recently ran an article about it. Not only that, but they are actually less effective than those made naturally and organically. There must be a reason why S.C. Johnson & Son has recently announced that they are putting out a new version of Windex that contains vinegar instead of ammonia – but it can’t be because that and other chemicals are bad for you, can it?
It’s unbelievably easy, and cheap, to make your own cleaning products. You can save hundreds of dollars a year, be greener on the environment, and much healthier for your home and family. For example, a typical make-at-home recipe for glass cleaner costs about 25 cents – compared to an average of $4-6 for a bottle of toxic chemicals at the store. The bottom line is, use plant-based products as opposed to petroleum or chemical based.
At the bottom of this post I share several proven natural recipes for making your own cleaning products. If you don’t want to make your own cleaners, here are some good on-the-shelf products to try:
- Meyer’s – I have used their countertop cleaner and laundry detergent for years – fabulous and they smell divine! My favorite is geranium, and apparently there is a new rosemary scent.
- Seventh Generation (I have only used their paper products, but hear good things)
- Imus Greening the Cleaning products
1-1/2 to 2 cups water
1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (70%)
All-Purpose Cleaner (Countertops, bathroom etc)
8 cups water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
Wood Furniture Polish
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp Borax
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
Bathroom Tile Cleaner
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
Soap Scum Remover
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup baking soda
Carpet Stain Remover
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup Borax
1/4 cup salt
Basic Disinfectant and Odor Remover
1 cup water
20 drops essential oil (try thyme, eucalyptus or lavender)
Optional: 3 drops Castile Soap
I will never use toxic, expensive cleaners again. Instead I’ll use that money to treat myself to a glass of organic wine or a delicious local farmers market meal after all that cleaning!