How I’ve Switched to Green Cleaning

by Amy on September 30, 2017

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How I’ve Switched to Green Cleaning

GUEST POST by Emily Folk:

I don’t know if life feels this way for everyone, but sometimes I just get stuck in cleaning mode. You know, where you pick everything up in the living room, do the dishes, bathe the family pet and then by the time you’ve gone to bed, the house is back to being a wreck. It can be so defeating, especially when you have to pick up cleaning products at the grocery store so much you feel like the cashier knows you by name.

The only thing worse than cleaning constantly is the unending chemical smell of whatever you clean with that makes you think about what those products are made of. I was shocked to learn about how I was endangering my health by grabbing the first cleaning solutions I found. The cleaning wipes I used around the house to get a thorough, light cleaning actually put me at risk for asthma and reproductive issues. All because I wanted something strong to wipe away germs and bacteria!

What if I had massive stains in my tub, so I mixed what I had on hand to clean it? Imagine I had cleaning wipes and ammonia. I would never have known that mixing the two could cause chronic breathing problems and even death. I shouldn’t have to be afraid of what I’m using to wipe down the bathroom.

That’s what got me interested in going green when I clean, and the transition wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be.

I Used What I Already Had to Clean Green

Having to clean while keeping your health in mind may seem more expensive than the usual products you grab off the shelf, but in my experience it hasn’t been. My first move was to take out that eternal box of baking soda from my pantry that I use for maybe three recipes a year and mix some of it with warm water. Turns out, baking soda can clean anything from toilets to baby toys. It was a relief not to have my nose burn while I used it, too.

Then I Took a Deep Breath of Clean Air

Maintaining clean air in your home might not be the first thing you think of when you imagine yourself cleaning, but it’s super important. Not having fresh air available where you live, like when you keep the windows closed all the time, can put you at a higher risk for sick building syndrome. And what’s guaranteed to make those odds worse? The pollutants emitted by cleaning agents.

Now I put bamboo charcoal in burlap bags, storing them in areas where you don’t notice them. The charcoal removes toxins and odors effortlessly, and because I hide my stashes above the fridge and in the back of the pantry, I can forget that the purification is even happening.

And I Did Some Research on Green Cleaning Options

If nothing else works for you, do some research. Plenty of companies are hopping on the go-green bandwagon, so there will be options for you to choose from if you don’t want to use up all your baking soda. Supporting green companies shows them the market is looking for better, healthier cleaning products that are as easy to buy as their previous ones. Sometimes I get stuff at the store, sometimes I clean with what’s in my pantry. It depends on the day.

It also depends on where I am during the day. You can get green cleaning products almost anywhere, but it’s best to know your options before you check store after store.

Shop Online: sometimes I don’t have time to drop by the store, so I buy my cleaning supplies online instead. A great part of doing this is you can read up on different products and get reviews without having to spend your money first. The Environmental Working Group has a Green Cleaning Guide where you can find different products to test out.

Some of my favorites, which you can find at most stores as well as online, include:

  • Seventh Generation cleaning products (I’m a personal fan of their hand soaps that come in a wide variety of scents.)
  • Method home cleaning products (I use the all-purpose cleaner for my kitchen countertops and other surfaces in my home.)
  • Vermont Soap (I’ve always been a fan of bar soaps, but they have a wide variety of both bar and liquid and dental cleaning products and natural deodorants as well.)
  • Mrs. Meyers (Mrs. Meyers has a huge variety of cleaning products, and you can even buy them in gift sets in a specific scent.)

Overall, the most important part that helped me switch to green cleaning was my will to change and desire to learn. It’s going to take a bit of change, either to your shopping list or how you normally clean, if you want to change your lifestyle to be healthier for you and your loved ones. But it will be worth it in the long run when you can clean your house without worrying about what harmful chemicals are going into your body.


Emily is a freelance conservation and sustainability writer and blogger. You can read more about her passion for protecting our planet on her blog Conservation Folks, and you can follow her on Twitter.

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