Being eco-conscious does not mean being a slob. While certain amounts of dirt and bacteria are beneficial for the immune system, don't start licking doorknobs. There are just three simple ingredients that you need to clean your space:
What? Three ingredients? Turns out you don’t, and never did, need all those toxic bottles under your sink. Like so many things in our lives, companies fabricated different sorts of maladies to miraculously sell you their miracle solutions. Mouthwash, for example, was marketed as a solution to halitosis, a completely made-up “ailment” — having bad breath. Let’s get back to the basics.
Vinegar is an ancient cleaning product, and has been used for over 5,000 years. Humanity managed to thrive without toxic Lysol and Clorox Wipes, so it might be worth giving it a try.
Most commonly used is white distilled vinegar. It’s cheap, you can buy it in bulk, and it also works well in laundry, as a fabric softener and deodorizer. It’s very acidic, which is what makes it an ideal cleaner and inhospitable to bacteria. Combine 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water in a clean spray bottle, grab a rag/old t-shirt, and start cleaning. It cuts through grease, and all sorts of grime, if given the proper amount of time to soak. You can vary the amount of vinegar and water in solutions, but vinegar should be the main cleaning ingredient you use to keep your house as sparkling, or matte, as you wish.
This solution is also a go-to for pet stains and odors. For tough ones, use an enzyme cleaner first, then finish with vinegar spray. It will help remove the smell, which may not be detectable to you, but certainly still is to your cat or dog. If you don’t get rid of the smell, they will do their thang in the same spot, again.
If you aren’t convinced about the wonders of vinegar, find out here what else the miracle liquid is good for.
Baking soda acts as an exfoliator on dirt, because the grains, in addition to pressure from your hand, remove dirt and grime. Baking soda is a neutral, and cheap product that can be used in your toilet, on tile grout, or on other surfaces where there is dirt buildup. Buy it in bulk and store it in a dry place. Fun fact: sprinkle a bit of baking soda onto a grimy surface and hit it with vinegar spray to re-create your elementary school science project volcano. It will not only make cleaning fun, the reaction will start doing your work for you.
Lemons. Not only do they smell nice, lemons are naturally anti-bacterial. Lemons are a natural whitener, and add a nice fre$h scent to any cleaning mix. You can clean off counter tops with lemons, and use them to remove certain stains and odors.
But if you insist on utilizing store bought cleaning brands, the following list cuts down on certain chemicals that are harmful for your and the environments health, but likely don’t completely eliminate them. Cleaning Brands we prefer to chemical laden ones? Just a few of our favorites (all of which are natural and organic):
BioKleen: excellent for pet accidents, biodegradable, and concentrated products that reduce waste
Seventh Generation: has recycled packaging, sustainably sourced, natural products
Ecover: plant based/recyclable packaging, biodegradable, and natural scents
Common Good: has refillable products which cut down on disposable plastic, biodegradable, and made from essential oils.
Mrs. Meyers: arguably the best known brand, uses biodegradable formulas, partially uses post consumer plastic
Curious about how to cut down on the need to clean?
Ask everyone in your household to take off their shoes upon entering the home, and provide slippers.
If you have a pet, wipe off their paws before entering the home after walks (we do hope that you walk your dogs — ideally every day!) .
If you are already using a paper towel to try your hands, wipe off the counters. You won’t need to mop as frequently. Wiping heavily used surfaces regularly will reduce buildup, and make your total cleaning load lighter.
So stay sustainable, millennials, and implement some of these green cleaning tips the next time you realize that your shoes shouldn’t crunch when you walk through the kitchen. And P.S, ditch your Swiffer for an electric floor steamer with reusable pads that is far more effective than a measly pad anyways.