10 Ways to Green Your Cleaning Routine in 2016

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Homemade Cleaners 2016

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.

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.


About Katie Vance

Katie is a wife, mother, aromatherapist, and lover of all things DIY. She offers consultations and gives simple aromatherapy advice at Katie Vance, Aromatherapy Simplified. You can also find Katie on Facebook.

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  1. Cherryl Mcnutt says

    I am also trying to ditch the toxic cleaners and start cleaning with only natural products at home. I can say that I did a lot in this direction during the last year and tried many natural cleaning recipes. For the new year I want to toss all the toxic cleaners that I still use and switch to only natural cleaners! Thanks for the motivational post! 🙂

  2. Julie Krajack says

    Thanks so much for sharing all these great recipes….I can’t wait to try them….my future sister in law and I have migraines and she has a partial seziure disorder all the cleaning chemicals make it hard for us to clean without the headaches…so far we have been making our own laundry soap for about a year now (I use zote without any dyes because she has skin allergies to most soaps)

  3. Victoria Gill says

    Hey Katie! Thank you so much for sharing all those useful green cleaners. I am using some of them like vinegar and baking soda.

    • John Mark says

      The best and least expensive basement ventilation system on the market is Breeze. It replaces a dehumidifier and costs about $12 per year (continuous use) to run. It expels moist, toxic air (and Radon) from the basement and replaces it with dry, fresh air from the home’s living quarters. Other systems (like Humidex, EZ Breathe, Wave Ventilation) sell for over $1,500 and work on the same principle. The Breeze does the same thing and costs only $299. Check it out at BreezeSystemsInternatioanl.com Ebay, or Amazon.

  4. Michelle says

    Simple DIY All Purpose Cleaner happens to have been linked to the carpet cleaner. Could you please post the link for the all purpose cleaner? I’ve been looking for ideas for an all natural all purpose cleaner.