Tips For Creating A ‘Greener’ Household Cleaning Routine

Green cleaning routines are all the rage nowadays—as they should be! Effective, eco-friendly cleaning takes extra thought, so here are some tips to get you started.

The Right Products

If you want to make your cleaning routine greener in the easiest way possible, buy eco-friendly products. With so many people interested in keeping themselves and the earth healthy, lots of green brands have popped up.

The Environmental Working Group, otherwise known as the EWG, assesses a wide variety of products. This organization tests cleaners and rates ingredients. Check out the EWG guide to earth-friendly cleaning products.

Be Careful With Trash

When you replace your old cleaning products with green versions, you’ll have to get rid of the old ones. Don’t just throw them in with the rest of your trash. They could easily contaminate the environment once they leave your home. Definitely don’t pour them down the drain.

If you’re not careful, toxic chemicals could wind up in the ground or the water supply.

Look up local recycling programs. Your town likely has days when you can safely turn in toxic items like cleaning materials, batteries, electronics, and all sorts of other hazardous materials.

Open Windows

Environmental scientists keep track of air quality outdoors, but only you can control the air quality in your home. Since health and safety are two of the big motivations behind creating a green cleaning routine, you should think about everything you might be breathing in.

If you live somewhere with a lot of pollution, opening your windows won’t fix the problem. (In that case, purchase an air purifier.) However, in most places, the free flow of air outside is fresher than the stagnant indoor air.

Open your windows to help disperse mold spores and other harmful substances.

Skip Antibacterials

If a cleaning product has the word “antibacterial” on the label, research the product carefully. Though some items have natural antibacterial properties, many cleaning products have decidedly harmful ways of killing bacteria.

Triclosan is just one example. Some studies show it can harm your liver and thyroid. Though the FDA banned its use in hand sanitizers, it’s still an ingredient in many other cleaners. Not all products with triclosan even list it as an ingredient.

Another problem caused by antibacterial cleaners? They can create stronger bacteria strains by killing off the weak organisms and leaving behind the strongest ones.

Homemade Cleaners

Humans were cleaning their homes long before labs cooked up the things many of us use today.

The following ingredients are great in homemade cleaners:

Sometimes, people recommend borax as a natural cleaning product. You might want to steer clear of it, though. While it is a natural mineral—otherwise known as sodium borate—it’s not very safe.

Though it can kill microscopic critters, that’s because it’s also useful as a pesticide. Borax is especially harmful to young children and should never be used in the kitchen.

You might also see tips recommending lemon or lime juice as natural antibacterials. Though they’re helpful in cleaners, they’re not sufficient. Plain citrus juices do not kill bacteria such as E. coli.

Natural Air Fresheners

Avoid store-bought air fresheners. Instead, spruce up the scent of your home naturally. Try boiling sticks of cinnamon or using all-natural soy candles.

Be careful, though.

If someone advises you to spritz essential oils all over your home, do some research first. And by research, we don’t mean reading articles by a business that sells essential oils. Some companies care more about profits than safety.

You need to water essential oils down a lot because they’re so potent. Many of them smell horrible to the sensitive noses of cats and dogs. Some can actually kill your pets.

Slip Off Your Shoes

This might sound like a weird tip, but you shouldn’t wear shoes inside. By the time you get home, the bottoms of your footwear are filthy. You can track feces, chemicals, and countless other harmful things indoors.

If you have pets or children who play on the floor, this is an especially urgent guideline for you.

We hope these tips are helpful! Green cleaning is easy once you get the hang of it.