Green and Chemical-Free Cleaning
**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.
Over the past few years I’ve transitioned to a whole foods, clean eating (and now Paleo) diet. I’m thinner, I’m healthier, and I feel better overall. Thank goodness for the specialty menus on Once a Month Mom!
The drastic change in my eating habits didn’t fully occur to me until a few months ago when I was wiping down my refrigerator to store a new batch of CSA veggies. With the exception of lunch meat and coconut milk coffee cream, every single item in my fridge was from an organic, local farm that doesn’t produce food for mass, commercial consumption.
That day a light bulb went off. I knew first hand how the change in eating habits had benefited my health. And I knew then and there that there was still one area of toxicity that I was allowing into my body – chemicals from household cleaning products.
Dangers of Cleaning Product Chemicals
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that many cleaning products include chemicals which may have short and long term adverse health effects. “Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system” are a few. Some are also “suspected or known to cause cancer.”
You may find that some commercial cleaners are difficult to replace because they work…and they work well. They do the job with minimal effort on our part. But, when it comes to the potential harmful effects they can cause on the health of our families, taking baby steps towards a green and chemical-free home will be worth it.
5 Products to Help You Transition to Chemical-Free Cleaning
One of the easiest ways to reduce exposure to these chemicals is to make your own natural cleaning products. In case you have the impression that making your own cleaning products take too much time, let me assure you that the following 5 products will help you clean 80% of your home without extra effort. In fact, it may even be easier.
The 5 Essentials:
- Baking soda
- Microfiber cloths
- Pan scraper
- Hard bristle brush
Baking soda and vinegar can clean just about anything. In fact, I’ve been compiling a list of 1001 uses for baking soda! Vinegar is a natural disinfectant so it can be used as an all-purpose cleaner. Just pour vinegar in a clean, empty spray bottle and use it to clean everything from countertops to cutting boards. Add a sprinkle of baking soda to vinegar and watch it work its magic when cleaning areas like your oven and garbage disposal.
A microfiber cleaning cloth is another rockstar when it comes to cleaning. The incredible capacity to hold liquid makes it ideal for wiping up spills. The microfiber also attracts dust like no other. It works wonders when dusting anything from your furniture to your blinds to your ceiling fans to your baseboards.
Using a pan scraper will cut cleaning time in half. It’s tough enough to get any dried up gunk off your floor, counter, or dishes, but it won’t scratch the surface. Scrapers are less than $2 each and are well worth stocking up to stash in every room.
A hard bristle brush will be your best friend when it comes to cleaning areas ignored too long. If you can’t get the soap scum off your shower floor, the brush should do the trick. If you need help cleaning the mud off the garage steps, this tool can help.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but these 5 essentials will get you started on your chemical-free journey.
Chemical-Free Cleaning Means More Frequent Cleaning
I’ve found that green cleaning does require more frequent cleaning. Since there aren’t harsh chemicals to do the work for you, you have to instill good cleaning habits into your routine. It may seem like more work initially, but you’ll actually spend less time cleaning overall since it won’t take as long to do the job.
Just like the process of changing eating habits, learning to clean without chemicals will take time. But it will be worth the effort!
- Stock up (or make) on the 5 products mentioned above.
- Put aside your usual cleaning products for one week and use vinegar and/or baking soda for as much of your cleaning routine as possible.
- Let us know how it goes in the comment section!
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