With the climate rapidly changing and those in power seemingly unwilling to do much about it, the burden falls on the shoulders of the people to make small, incremental changes to their everyday lives in order to help extend the life of our precious planet.
Of the many harmful products we all use every day, the ones we use to clean our homes are laden with chemicals that are both dangerous to you and the environment, but also simply do not work much better than their safer alternatives.
If you are looking for ways to make your house and planet cleaner and eco-friendlier, look no further. It is not as hard as you think! And with the help of some experts, we have you covered with a list of ways to do it. Check out these tips to help you get started on your path to a more environmentally friendly home.
Baking Soda is King
Is there really anything in your home with more uses than baking soda? When was the last time you even used it for baking? “Baking soda is a must-have if you are a homeowner,” says Justin Soleimani, Co-Founder of Tumble. “It can be added to your cleaning routine and seriously help make a dent in your environmental impact. To further reduce your impact, you can find it in plastic-free packaging.”
Try using it in your cleaning routine as a solution to carpet odors, toilet bowl stains, fridge odors, and so much more. “There are few cleaning situations that can’t be handled by incorporating baking soda.” Mix baking soda and water to make a paste and use it to clean your oven. Combine it with vinegar and it works wonders in your bathroom.
It is cheap and environmentally friendly and just one box will last you a while!
Use Multi-Purpose and Multi-Use
Some companies make it easier for you to minimize your impact by offering multi-purpose and multi-use options for you to purchase. “We are seeing a rise in ‘green’ cleaning products that will give you the same results you would get from those that aren’t,” says Ryan Rockefeller, Co-founder of Cleared. “If you have the choice between the two, always go green.”
Multi-purpose cleaners make it so you buy fewer cleaners for different messes, cutting down on the number of cans and plastic bottles that will ultimately end up in a landfill, or worse, an ocean. “If you really want to get green, use the old cleaning bottles and fill them with natural cleaning supplies like vinegar. If you have too many to reuse, see if you can find a recycling center to drop them off at to ensure that they are properly disposed of.”
Look for cleaners that can be used for carpet stains as well as shirt stains to help minimize the number of bottles you need to have,
White Vinegar Works!
“Vinegar is another healthy and green alternative to conventional cleaners,” says Dawn Kendall Co-Founder of 8 Sheep Organics. “It has natural antibacterial properties and acts as a powerful stain remover too.” If you dilute white vinegar with water in a 50 to 50 ratio, you can replace your bottle of Windex along with many other products.
For sour smells, vinegar will work wonders as well. Much like baking soda, this simple ingredient has many uses you can take advantage of.
When Life Gives You Lemons…
Use them to clean with! “Lemons have both natural antiseptic and antibacterial qualities and they smell great to boot,” says Michael Van, CEO of Furnishr. “There is a reason why so many cleaning products are lemon-scented.”
To incorporate lemons into your cleaning regimen, use them to disinfect or to clean up messes. They also have a natural ability to clean copper; a notoriously difficult to scrub material. “Mix lemon slices with vinegar and leave it alone for a few days. After that, strain the solution and you will have a perfect environmentally-friendly all-purpose cleaner.”
Air Fresheners Aren’t Fresh
Nobody wants to be known as the person with the smelly house. Unfortunately, the commercials are right, nose-blindness exists. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need chemical-laced air fresheners to fix the problem,” says Juan Pablo Cappello, Co-Founder and CEO of Nue Life. “The brands you most commonly see on store shelves are often unnatural and do more harm than good. They might attack the smell, but they have a negative effect on air quality.”
If you really want to make your house smell great, look no further than your kitchen stove. “The smell of freshly-baked cookies will flow through your whole home and linger. It’s also known to have a positive effect on your mood. Just try not to eat them all yourself!” If you want to cut out the temptation altogether, opt instead for boiling cinnamon or lemon or any plant with a nice scent and set up a fan to help it travel to every room.
Plants Are Perfect
Bug sprays are some of the worst kinds of sprays to use because they are generally in aerosol cans, one of the biggest contributors to climate change and the issues in our ozone. Additionally, they are toxic and can interact with people and bugs alike.
“If you can avoid [bug sprays], you should,” says Ben Hyman, CEO of Revival. “One of the best ways to avoid needing bug sprays is to reduce the population of bugs in your house naturally by using plants.”
Citronella is known for its ability to fight off bugs. Having the plant in your home that produces the oil and candles can help keep bugs out naturally while simultaneously improving your space with plant life and the benefits that come along with having them in the house. You can also use citronella scented candles in the home to naturally scare off bugs and pests.
“Bugs aren’t the only unwanted house guests that can be kept out with natural solutions,” says Michael Jankie, Founder of The Natural Patch Co.. “Mice also hate certain plants and can be kept at bay by using peppermint in any form.” A simple plant and its leaves will do if you don’t know the rodents’ origins, but if you see the hole that they are hiding in, use some mint-oil-soaked cotton balls to block their exit and scare them off for good.
Borax is a wholly natural substance that is non-toxic to humans. Much like its cleaning cousin baking soda, borax has many household uses. “Scooping a bit of borax into your load of laundry will brighten your clothes’ color,” says Liza Kirsh, CMO of Dymapak. “You can also use it on your floors to help boost the shine of your tile or on the walls of your shower and tub.”
You can also mix borax into an all-purpose cleaner by adding it into one of your recycled spray bottles along with some vinegar and hot water. There are many ways to make borax work in your home and help keep it green and clean.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Now that you know it is possible to go green and can be done so without breaking the bank, you might want to scrap the old cleaners you plan on replacing. We recommend finishing up the bottles of your current supply so as not to be wasteful. Once you have, find out where in your community you can safely recycle and drop them off.