With controversy over the safety of products, and the hoots and ha’s about how well green products work, how do we live “green” and stay clean?!
Well, last month we made it our mission to explore how to clean in ways that are not toxic to the health of our bodies and planet. After some experimentation, research and contemplation, we decided…from dishes, counters and laundry, to deodorant, toothpaste and toilet paper…yes, clean as green as possible!!
It’s less expensive.
Despite popular perception, green cleaning is approximately the same cost as conventional cleaning supplies or much less if you use make-at-home products!
Concentrates (which most green supplies are) are about 27 times less expensive that aerosols (which many conventional products are), and as the demand for non-toxic products continues to increase, we see the price continuing to equalize.
At-home products are a fraction of the cost of either.
To make at home, use ingredients you probably already have! It doesn’t take much to mix vinegar and water, add some essential oils and voila!
Most stores now carry green products (non-toxic, non-plastic, etc.). Co-ops, natural food stores, and online vendors typically have a better selection however.
It’s less harmful and less wasteful
Did you know that within 26 seconds of exposure, the traces of chemicals in cleaning products can be found in every organ of the body?! These chemicals have been linked to asthma, endocrine dysfunction, ADHD, cancer… disease in adults, new-borns, pets, plants, and wildlife.
Plus recycled and reusable material (like a spray bottle) means less waste in your home, in the environment and from your pocketbook.
Plus use your counter-top again and smell the lemon that you cut directly on it!
Maybe we’re the only ones that think real lemon smells better than synthetic lemon. Likely… Not.
10 Strategies to Greenifying Your Cleaning:
Look past marketing and get to know ingredients in your products. “Natural,” “green,” and “eco-friendly” are used and abused everywhere…instead look for: Non-petroleum, phosphate free, non-bleach, non-chlorine, and biodegradable.
Use chlorine bleach alternatives. “Oxy-“ and “oxi- are prefixes commonly used for eco-cleaners and detergents. They use sodium percarbonate, a powder that combines soda ash with hydrogen peroxide.
Avoid air fresheners (most contain hormone disrupting phthalates, including some marketed as “all-natural” … and none list them on their labels).
Bring a plant into the room to clean the air. Research shows that plants are effective at counteracting off gassing chemicals and balancing internal humidity! (The most effective include: Florist Mum, Dracaena, Gerbera Daisy, Areca palm, Boston fern, Australian sword fern, Rubber plant, Dwarf date Palm, Bamboo Palm, Kimberly Queen Fern, Reed palm, English Ivy, Peace Lily, and Weeping fig).
Essential oils toothpaste, deodorant and other personal care products! We love ours. They work great, are packaged in glass, and not only aren’t harmful, they’re actually health enhancing!
Buy concentrates and in bulk: saves money and material.
Products with recycled material: there is so much material already made, so let’s use it. There is toilet paper, paper towels, and more made from 100% recycled material. Remember to avoid plastic wrapping!
Microfiber cloths and mops: which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years. Better value and less hassle than disposables.
Caution means caution: Take Clues from products labels! If it states a warning, there’s a reason for that. Many of the toxins found in products are bioaccumulative, meaning the chemicals do not exit easily from the body and over time even mild exposures can add up to toxic levels. Consider too that the most common methods of exposure are through the skin and respiratory tract (especially with children that are frequently in contact with the chemical residues by crawling, lying and sitting on the freshly cleaned surfaces.)
Create a home-cleaning kit! The average household uses and stores more than 60 hazardous materials! With just a few things that are probably already in your cupboards, you can make simple green cleaning supplies for your home. Simple vinegar and water does most tricks, but here are a few other useful spices to get you started.
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice
- Non-chlorinated scouring powder
- Liquid vegetable oil
- Distilled white vinegar
- Powdered soap flakes
- Scouring pad
- Re-used spray bottles
And download a wide range of recipes by visiting:
Want Evidence, Resources, Information?!
Scorecard is a chemical information service provided by the environmental Defense Fund
The US Right to Know Net provides access to many databases of environmental and related information, including the US Toxics Release Inventory
Adopting a conscious consumer mentality and practice of “As mindful as possible”, wherever and whatever context that is in, will make a big difference. Every purchase (or lack there of) is a vote, and each vote counts
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