Green cleaning has come a long way in the last few years. Now you can clean your home effectively and economically without harsh chemicals or wasteful disposables. And no more chemically lemon or bleach smells - green cleaning products come in a wonderful array of natural scents, including mints, citruses, and my personal favorite, herbs.
7 Tips for Greening Your Cleaning!
ALL PURPOSE CLEANERS
If you want to go super simple and super cheap, I highly recommend white vinegar and baking soda for just about every cleaning project. I got by with just those two products - which you can get in bulk or refill at your local refill store or Coop - for years and years. I've only recently branched out to refilling a spray bottle with all purpose cleaner at We Fill Good because it smells so amazing, but I'm very intrigued by the all purpose cleaning tablets I saw at Witching Hour Provisions recently. You just add them to water and they make cleaning liquid. WOW. Want to make your own cleaners? I highly recommend CleanMama's website for recipes and techniques.
DITCH THE PAPER TOWELS
There are tons of different cleaning cloths on the market made from all kinds of different materials. You don't need any of them! The next time you are sorting through your towels, pull out the oldest and grossest and cut them into squares, then use, wash, and reuse. You can also rip up old clothes, sheets, and other fabrics for softer cleaning needs (and handkerchiefs), but towels work the best for scrubbing. You can even go to Goodwill and buy towels from there to cut up or ask your friends and family for their rejects. I've even gotten fancy and now use different color towels for different purposes (purple in the kitchen, yellow in the bathroom, etc).
IN THE KITCHEN
Green dish washing products have exploded recently and now is a great time to check out all your awesome options. Personally, I stick to my Norwex cloths because they are indestructible and very hygienic, but compostable sponges have come a long way and natural wooden scrub brushes are great for stuck on food. Dish soap can be found as a bar, a refillable liquid, or as tabs to add to water. Dishwasher soap is also available in several different forms. We Fill Good has the best selection of specific cleaners for the kitchen, including stove-top and wood cleaner.
IN THE BATHROOM
We now know that all those harsh chemicals and plastics found in our shampoos and soaps aren't good for our bodies, and cleaners containing those same things don't belong in our homes either. So, clean your bathroom with natural all purpose cleaners. Baking soda works really well in bathtubs to replace that nasty powder stuff and glass cleaner comes as a refill or a tab to add to water. Toilets can be cleaned using an all-purpose or a package free toilet bomb. I usually just squirt some liquid hand soap in there and swish it around with the brush unless I'm doing a big bathroom clean.
IN THE LIVING SPACES
Brooms and reusable mops work best for tile, linoleum, and wood floors. You can get a reusable cover for your old Swiffer mop at your local green goods store or make one yourself out of an old towel. Clean your hard floors with diluted all purpose cleaner or a refillable green cleaner specifically for the type of floor you have. Wood cleaner, carpet cleaner, upholstery cleaner, and just about every other specific cleaner you could want can be found at your green goods store, online, or made yourself using the CleanMama recipes. Or you can stick with me and just use the one all purpose cleaner because it's cheaper and easier. :)
Laundry is another area where recent innovations have changed the industry. Never again do you need to buy a giant plastic jug of laundry detergent. You don't even have to refill your giant jug anymore, like I do. Instead, you can use one of those new laundry pods, laundry sheets, or laundry tabs. I found an awesome package-free stain stick at We Fill Good, which I have been using for over a year now (with three kids) and it's not even halfway done! I love all these choices and hope you'll explore your options. To learn more about eco-laundry, visit Eco-Laundry 101, and to learn tips and tricks for using a clothesline in the 21st century, visit Clothesline Hacks 101.
REALLY GROSS STUFF!
I have two dogs and three kids and every now and again something really gross happens in our house that needs extra TLC. For throw-up and poop, I use compostable dog poop bags to pick them up and then use my handy supply of old napkins (you know, the ones they throw into the takeout bag even though you said no) and clean the area with all purpose cleaner and/or baking soda and vinegar. For pee, I use baking soda on rugs and vacuum once it's dry. And I do have a bottle of bleach way hidden in the depths of my closet that comes out on very special occasions. Sometimes I use a towel square rag for these messes and toss it afterward.