The threats of climate change and environmental destruction are ever-present existential worries for many people. However, whilst many of us want to do something about it, few of us really know what we can do. Though some of the following green cleaning tips may not single-handedly save the world, they will definitely improve the quality of your health and environmental conditions.
Table of Contents
- Use Baking Soda
- Use Natural Pest Control Solutions
- Improve Your Home’s Air Quality
- Use Green Cleaning Products
- Safely Dispose of Any Chemical Based Cleaning Products and Solutions
Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is a surprisingly versatile substance. Nowadays it is most commonly used as a leavening agent in baked goods such as cakes. However, baking soda or sodium bicarbonate as it is scientifically known has been used for thousands of years by humans for a variety of purposes.
One use it has is that it makes for a remarkably effective odour eliminator. If you have a strange smell coming from your otherwise clean fridge, leave an open container of bicarbonate soda in there. This will absorb and eliminate the odour and prevent new ones. For the best results, replace every three months.
In addition to fridges, baking soda can also remove odours from fabrics such as carpets and clothing. Simply sprinkle some bicarbonate soda over the affected area and wait for a bit before cleaning it off.
It can also be used for a variety of cleaning jobs. An effective oven cleaner can be made by mixing baking soda with water. This will form a paste that if left in the oven overnight will make scraping away stains significantly easier.
Another homemade cleaning solution that uses bicarbonate of soda is as a homemade toilet bowl cleaner. To make this simply add sodium bicarbonate and white vinegar to your toilet bowl. The resulting fizzy substance will remove stains and leave your bowl looking nice and white.
Pests such as rats and mice can often bring pathogens into your home. As such having a way to exterminate them in an eco-friendly manner is important for keeping your home safe. Sodium bicarbonate is toxic to rodents as it can create gas that becomes trapped in their digestive system. Eventually, this will kill them.
In order to make them consume the baking powder bait must be used. Common examples of which can include mixing it with peanut butter or with cocoa powder.
Use Natural Pest Control Solutions
Sodium bicarbonate can make for an excellent form of natural pest control. However, it is far from the only option available to you in this area.
Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring sedimentary substance which when of food-grade quality is harmless to all but insects. This is because it will naturally dry out the exoskeletons of critters such as fleas. To effectively deploy diatomaceous earth scatter it on a hotbed of insect activity such as carpets or pets beds and leave for a few hours before cleaning. If done repeatedly, this will significantly reduce insect populations in your home.
An alternative to using bicarbonate of soda for rats is to deploy plaster of Paris in a similar manner. This is because the plaster when mixed with water in the rat’s stomach will harden and expand. One issue with this method though is that whilst this method will likely work more quickly, it will also be dangerous to use around pets or children.
Like how we humans have smells we are naturally averse to, the same is also true for the vast majority of vermin and pests. There are plenty of store-bought solutions based on chemicals you can buy. However, many simple home remedies or natural products are better for human health and can be just as effective. Unfortunately, these natural repellents are unlikely to repel every pest. Despite this though, using a combination of repellents in tandem will cover a wide variety.
A good example of this is citronella oil, the scent of which spiders can’t stand. Citronella can either be deployed as scented candles or via essential oils burned in oil burners. The aroma of citronella despite being repulsive to spiders, however, is quite grassy and floral which most people find pleasant.
Rats and mice on the other hand will be repulsed by the scent of peppermint or spearmint. Like citronella, these smells are pleasant to humans whilst being less so for rodents. Additionally, they are also easily deployed, either as herb pots or cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil.
Moths on the other hand are repulsed by the scent of herbs such as lavender, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Simply leave a small breathable bag of these ingredients in at-risk locations such as wardrobes and pantries and moths will tend to avoid them.
In the case of flies, one of the main things they can’t stand is the smell of cinnamon. To effectively deploy this aroma around your house boiling cinnamon sticks will release their natural smell.
Improve Your Home’s Air Quality
An additional benefit of deploying these pest repelling fragrances around your home is that they will naturally make your house smell more pleasant. However, these additional aromas won’t necessarily improve the air quality of your home by themselves. As such deploying them in tandem with the following will help dramatically.
Avoid Air Fresheners
Many air fresheners, whilst they will make your home smell fresher and nicer, will dramatically reduce the overall air quality. This is because the majority of these products will come in aerosol forms which contain chemicals and additives which can be harmful in high quantities.
A great alternative to this is to use naturally occurring fragrances. We’ve mentioned boiling cinnamon in the context of pest control. However, boiling cinnamon or indeed any other source of natural fragrance you are fond of will eventually cause the smell to waft through a well-ventilated home. Along with cinnamon, other good choices are cloves or lemons.
Keep Your Home Well Ventilated
Homes often contain all sorts of unhealthy substances in them. These substances can include mould, chemicals or pet dander, with stagnant air exacerbating the health problems they can cause. Houses being more well-insulated nowadays only makes this issue worse, since despite trapping more heat, this insulation also restricts airflow.
To alleviate this issue somewhat, keep as many windows and doors as possible open. This will allow the air to circulate around your home more effectively and prevent it from becoming stagnant. An additional benefit of increased airflow is that your home will likely smell better, especially if employing the air freshener alternatives mentioned above.
Cultivate Some House Plants
As mentioned above, some house plants like potted spearmint or peppermint make good pest repellent. However, in addition to this house plants can improve the overall air quality of your home. They do this by breathing in and neutralising toxins that may be lingering in your home. Subsequently, they then breathe out fresh oxygen.
An additional bonus of having house plants is that they act as great decoration and in some cases release pleasant fragrances. For the best air quality improvement, broad green leaf plants are very effective.
Use Green Cleaning Products
A simple way to effectively do more green cleaning is to use cleaning products that are more eco friendly. In the modern world, many businesses are opting to sell their products on the idea that they are green cleaning products.
Identifying Green Clean Products
Not all green cleaning products are made equally, so knowing which qualities to look out for is crucial when choosing who gets your business. Authentic green cleaning products will typically have the following qualities:
- Biodegradable or Recyclable Packaging
- No Artificial Flavours or Fragrances
- No Phosphates
- No Chlorine
- Contains Organically Grown Ingredients
- Ingredients are Grown Using Sustainable Farming Practices
An additional way to see how green these products are eco friendly is to see if they’re EPA approved. The EPA is the environmental protection agency for America. As their name suggests, part of their job is taking steps to regulate whether or not products such as cleaners such as different dish soap pose a problem to the environment. The activist group, the EWG or Environmental Working Group also does similar work in America.
One potential issue with buying a greener product is that these cleaners tend to be sold for a higher price than traditional cleaners. However, there are methods you can employ to reduce this price:
- Buying in bulk: if the option is available, buying multiple of the same product at a discount will save you money in the long run. Even if it is initially more expensive.
- Buying concentrated products: Many consumer cleaning products are available in concentrated forms. These are typically slightly more expensive but will again save you money in the long run as they will last much longer. Additionally, the smaller packaging these products often come in is better for the environment.
Make Homemade and Eco-Friendly Green Cleaning Solutions
Whilst there are many excellent green cleaning products you can buy in stores, many can be replicated simply with home ingredients. As mentioned prior, bicarbonate of soda can be used to make excellent improvised green cleaning supplies. However, other ingredients such as lemons, white vinegar or borax can also be effectively used for green cleaning.
Lemons can be used in a variety of ways in homemade green cleaning products. Their antibacterial and antiseptic properties make them excellent sterilisers. Rubbing a slice of lemon on a chopping board can remove germs. Additionally, lemon peels left in white vinegar for a few days can create a potent all-around cleaner, just remember to sieve out the zests first. For particularly stubborn scrubbing, lemon halves dipped in salt can be effective for giving shine back to your pans.
White vinegar specifically is also a fantastic natural cleaning solution due to its powerful antibacterial properties. Additionally, when diluted with an equal amount of water it can make an incredibly effective stain remover. When sprayed on windows, this solution can also make windows glistening clean. Another tip for using white vinegar is to simmer some in a pan whilst cooking particularly pungent food, such as fish. The reason for this is that the white vinegar will absorb the odour.
An all-purpose cleaner can also be made with a mixture of white vinegar, borax and hot water. With a bit of laundry detergent, some essential oils of choice and the rest as boiling water, you can make a versatile cleaner for all corners of your home. Borax in general can also restore the shine to bathroom tiles along with clothes in the washing machine when mixed with detergent.
Employ Green Cleaning Services Who Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Most dry cleaners or home cleaning services will likely use more traditional chemical cleaners. These commercial cleaning products such as a floor cleaner don’t have any considerations in design for the environment. However, some companies specialise in using green cleaning products. Others who don’t may still be willing to use them, however.
Avoid AntiBacterial Cleaning Products
There is no actual evidence that supports the idea that antibacterial cleaning products are any better than other cleaning products. At least not outside of a medical context. This is because both regular and antibacterial cleaning products will both kill dangerous germs. Antibacterial products, however, will kill pretty much all bacteria they come into contact with. The problem with this though is that this process eventually breeds bacteria that are more and more resistant to antibacterial cleaning products.
Safely Dispose of Any Chemical Based Cleaning Products and Solutions
Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to make and purchase new cleaning products that are better for the environment, one question remains. What should you do with your old products and cleaners that contain all these harmful chemicals? Surely if you don’t want to expose your home environment to these chemicals and products; then you don’t to harm the greater environment by dumping them down the drain or into landfills.
The remedy to this situation is to search for if your local community has a program in place to help people safely dispose of these products in safety. Some may also be able to be exchanged for products and services which are healthier for the environment. Additionally, many a waste disposal site may also have spaces that are safer choices to dispose of such potentially harmful material or even ways to recycle them.
Fundamentally, all it takes to clean your home in an environmentally friendly way is some preparation and little determination. However, once you get the hang of it all you’ll find it incredibly satisfying, along with feeling better both physically and mentally