Every day we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals in the air, water and world around us. You may be surprised to learn that household cleaning products are among the biggest contributors.
With words like toxic, poison, corrosive, flammable, and explosive ominously displayed on on their packaging you would think we’d stay away, yet every day millions of Canadians reach for them to whiten, brighten and disinfect their homes.
Unfortunately, many of these household cleaners contain harsh fragrances and harmful chemicals like ammonia, bleach, solvents and parabens that can have a lasting impact not only on the environment, but on your overall health as well.
Thankfully, there are many natural products that do an amazing job of keeping your home sparkly clean. At West 5 we love to share ideas that further support our vision of a sustainable and earth-friendly community, so we’ve come up with a list of cleaning alternatives to protect your home and family while preserving the planet.
That’s right, plain old H20. You might wonder just how water could possibly measure up to the germ fighting heavyweights on the market today. The secret? Microfiber cloths. Investing in a high quality set of reusable microfiber cloths is an excellent eco-friendly way to keep your home clean while saving time and money. Different weaves, weights and designs easily wipe away and trap dirt and germs with impressive absorbency and scrubbing power. Best of all, there’s no residue left behind. If you find yourself missing that lemony fresh scent, a couple of drops of essential oil in the water will do the trick!
Did you know that many of the items you already have in your pantry are great for cleaning?
Baking soda does it all, it’s great for scrubbing and deodorizing. It can be used in place of dishwashing detergents, laundry soap, oven cleaners, bathroom cleaners and even freshening up your carpet.
Salt is a versatile stain fighter and disinfectant that can be dissolved in water and used much like an all purpose cleaner.
Vinegar cuts through buildup – use it on your mirrors, windows, sinks and showers. You can also use it as a fabric softener added on the rinse cycle – surprisingly the smell will not be there once the clothes have dried.
Lemon and grapefruit not only smell great, they’re natural disinfectants. They work well for cutting through grease, soap scum and dirt which makes them perfect replacements for bathroom and kitchen cleansers.
These items work amazingly on their own, but if you’re feeling crafty or looking for a unique gift idea there are tons of eco-friendly cleaning recipes available online, including this collection from the Queen of Green. Not the DIY type? There are a wide variety of these natural cleaners available at the local markets and handmade stores here in London.
A note on those store bought “natural” brands:
There are many brands found in the stores cleaning aisle that position themselves as being “eco” or “organic”, but this doesn’t guarantee the quality and safety of the cleaner. Don’t be fooled. Read the labels, look for those natural, ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients. Look at the packaging – is it plant based? Biodegradable? Made of post consumer/recycled materials? Taking the time to become aware of these things will help you to quickly weed out the chemical and petroleum based products masquerading as eco-friendly.
Making the switch:
So you’ve decided to make the change to a more sustainable, earth-friendly cleaning product. What do you do with all of the old stuff? Thanks to the Orange Drop program you can drop them off for no charge at London’s Household Special Waste Depot for proper handling and disposal.