Even before I became a mom, I was always interested in living a more natural lifestyle. From buying organic foods to reducing toxins in my beauty products, I try to be aware of the products entering my home.
However, there was one area that fell short in my “green” lifestyle: our cleaning products. No matter how many times my husband tried to get me to ditch the bleach and fragranced cleaners, I just couldn’t imagine that homemade cleaners and natural products would leave my home sparkling and germ-free.
When I was pregnant with my first child, someone shared with me an article on just how toxic bleach can be, especially for pregnant women. From then on, I was pushed into a journey of finding the best and most effective ways to keep my house clean AND green. It’s been a long road, but I’m excited to share with you some of the wisdom I’ve gained along the way.
Homemade Cleaners and 10 Cleaning Tips
These 10 tips are sure to help you green your clean in 2016.
1. Dump your toxic cleaners
Most commercial cleaners are made with harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances. These cleaners contain VOCs which find their way into the soft surfaces of your home and can stay there for years! Learn more about VOCs here.
Find an easy swap for your current cleaner here: Use This Not That: Household Cleaners Spotlight
2. Grab the vinegar
Vinegar has so many household cleaning uses. It helps give a streak-free shine to windows and glass, softens laundry, and even helps repel ants!
Learn some other great uses for vinegar here: White Vinegar for Cleaning and So Much More
3. Go for essential oils
Not convinced vinegar alone will work? I wasn’t either. I have always used essential oils for health and wellness, but I quickly learned that they have so many uses when it comes to cleaning. Certain essential oils are antiviral, others are antibacterial, others antimicrobial, and still others will kill mold and fungus. Check out this list of essential oils broken down into their cleaning purposes: Essential Oils for Cleaning
4. Homemade cleaners to try
Making your own cleaner is easy and will save you so much money! Not to mention it eliminates waste from plastic bottles. Check out this list of awesome DIY cleaners.
- Simple DIY All Purpose Cleaner
- Homemade Carpet Cleaner and Stain Remover
- Homemade Glass Cleaner
- Homemade Dusting Solution and Wipes
- Homemade Cleaning Wipes that Disinfect
- Homemade Dish Soap
- Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- Homemade Toilet Cleaner
You can also purchase the DIY Natural Household Cleaners Book with 60+ tried and true natural cleaning recipes.
5. Try unconventional methods
Sometimes I’ll get an idea in my head that sounds a little crazy, but I give it a try anyway. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. After having family over for a party last year I decided to use the leftover soda to clean my toilet. (I’ve heard people say it can take off car paint, so why not?) To my chagrin, it left my toilet sparking! Here’s proof!
My point: don’t be afraid to invent your own DIY cleaning methods. Do your own research and give it a try.
6. Scrub with baking soda
Need a little extra elbow grease? Try baking soda. It works really well as a mild abrasive, helping to lift up dirt and grime. Added bonus – it’s an amazing deodorizer.
Check out this super easy DIY Natural Powdered Scrubbing Cleanser
7. Ditch your air fresheners
If you are working this hard to green up your cleaning routine, don’t ruin it by using synthetic air fresheners. First, they contain VOCs (see #1). Second, these air fresheners can be dangerous to young children as they are often plugged into outlets or sitting on low tables.
Instead of using air fresheners, try a simmering pot or an essential oil diffuser. Both are super effective (and super green) alternatives.
8. Get some houseplants
Not only do houseplants brighten up the atmosphere of your home, but many houseplants actually help filter the air of pollutants (including VOCs). There are so many low-maintenance plants available, even for those without green thumbs.
One of my favorite ways to add plants to my home is with an adorable terrarium! Check out this guide on How to Make a DIY Terrarium
9. Upcycle for organization
Remember that glass spaghetti sauce jar you threw away after dinner? Dig it out! There are so many organizational ideas on Pinterest using upcycled glass jars and other household items. There is nothing more green than recycling! (Be sure to follow DIY Natural on Pinterest.)
10. Open your windows
This is probably my favorite tip. By opening the windows in your home, you are allowing fresh air to circulate through your home. There are numerous other benefits to keeping the windows open, including helping eliminate VOCs and other stagnant chemicals in the home.
Do you have any other tips to add to my list? I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.