6 Tips for Eco-Friendly Cleaning
Make Your Own Cleaning Solutions
One of the best green tips for your bathroom is making your own cleaning solutions. We use gallons of chemicals to sanitize and deodorize our houses’ smallest rooms, but those chemicals’ effects don’t just stay in your home. They go out through the drains and seep into the local water supply. Baking soda and lemon juice work for tackling stains and getting rid of grime and odors. For dishes and clothes, seek out biodegradable options as detergents.
Use Sunlight as a Natural Germ-Killer
We’ve done great things about personal and public hygiene in the last century and a half. In the U.S., children have been taught for several generations about germs and how to stop the spread of infectious disease. But, sometimes we go overboard in stomping out bacteria and we forget some of the ways people have been cleaning for centuries work well today. For example, airing out bed linens, curtains and rugs outside on a sunny day is not only a way to get the moths out of them after storage. Sunlight helps kill germs resting in them and acts as a natural air freshener so you don’t have to spray them with cans of deodorizers.
Create Your Own Potpourri
For the areas you can’t drag outside on a blue-sky day, freshen the air with homemade potpourri. Just because you call it “potpourri” doesn’t mean it has to be dyed purple and include dried baby’s breath flowers. Two simple, affordable and environmentally friendly ways to get the house smelling good are coffee and vinegar, both common household items. A bowl of coffee grounds in the kitchen or living room sucks up bad odors and leave a pleasant, fresh aroma. Likewise, a bowl of vinegar in the bathroom or laundry room takes out bad smells. Use the vinegar afterward for cleaning bathroom fixtures; it’s a good cleaning agent, too. For your bedrooms or living room, a simple odor-beater is an apple studded with cloves and left to dry.
Investigate Your Water Usage
One of the most important things you can do to “green” your cleaning routine is to reduce the amount of water you use. Clean water is a precious resource. However, humans have been using water for cleaning since the dawn of time. If it’s in your budget, update your washing machine, toilet and shower to models that use less water. If that’s not possible, institute time limits for showering and hand wash delicates and small pieces of clothing. Cut back on using your dishwasher and remember to turn the tap off frequently when washing dishes in the sink.
Time Your Use of Electrical Cleaning Appliances
Electricity is another potential waste item during cleaning. Vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dryers … how many cleaning products do you own? Save the earth (and your money) by sweeping first, then quickly vacuuming. Wash clothes sparingly; drip-dry your clothes when possible.
Cut Down on Disposable Cleaning Tools
On any trip to the grocery store, you can find dozens of mops with disposable heads, pre-packaged rags for cleaning and buffing, and one-use wipes for quick spills. These disposable cleaning tools are wasteful — both of the materials they are made from and of your money. Keep torn and unwanted clothing for these purposes in the future. Cloth rags can be used many times if they are washed and dried. Mop heads can also be cleaned many times before need to be replaced.
About the Author: Laurel Grave is an environmental activist who is compiling homesteader solutions to modern problems with the idea of turning it into a book one day.