Give your home a bit of TLC with an eco-friendly cleaning routine
Get the dusters out, your sleeves rolled up and put your marigolds on – it’s time to do your spring clean. But, before you head to the shop and fill your basket with products that will make your home sparkle, take a look at the packaging and check if it’s an eco-friendly cleaning product. Choosing products that are kind to the planet offers a whole host of benefits, not just for the environment, but for ourselves and our families, too.
Bottles covered in labels warning us that they are toxic and flammable give a pretty clear indication that they include a number of chemicals that will not be good for our health. Using eco-friendly cleaning products, or homemade products, is an easy way to rid your home of these nasties. This is especially important for those who have children and animal companions, as they will be more at risk of falling ill from these chemicals due to their small size. They can also still have a negative impact on adults, too – you’re likely to see a reduction in the number of sneezes, rashes and headaches you have if you ditch the ready-made toxic concoctions and opt for green alternatives. A number of cleaning products have a high vapour pressure – known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – meaning they emit higher levels of pollution than green products, both in and outdoors. VOCs can linger in the air, and have been linked to a number of serious health problems, such as kidney and liver damage. It has been suggested that switching to greener products can help improve the air quality across the globe, while reducing the impact of respiratory irritation. By cleaning with eco-friendly products, you’ll be able to breathe a little easier, too.
As a general rule, companies that produce eco-friendly cleaning products will often be more mindful of the environment, meaning they are less likely to test on animals, and their packaging is more sustainable. Of course, each company will differ, so before you take the plunge and purchase a new product, check the back of the pack to make sure it’s cruelty-free and in recyclable packaging. Most will avoid non-biodegradable, hazardous chemicals which can harm human health and the environment, but it’s always best to double-check. In recent years, more people have been purchasing eco-friendly alternatives as they have become aware of what goes into their cleaning solutions, meaning they’re competitively priced.
If you fancy getting creative, you can try making your own eco-friendly cleaning products at home. Not only is this a great way to ensure you avoid harmful chemicals, as you will be in complete control of the ingredients used, but you’ll have peace of mind that they are totally cruelty-free and eco-friendly. There are a whole host of recipes available, which use common household ingredients that are safe, such as white vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Use these as guidelines to help you find the perfect product to suit you and your home – for example, you can mix and match the essential oils to fit your taste. By visiting your nearest zero-waste store and bulk buying ingredients to make your own, you’ll also be reducing your plastic footprint. Zero-waste stores usually allow you to buy as much or as little as you want, so if you’re just experimenting with recipes to begin with, you don’t have to commit to buying large amounts of an ingredient until you’re sure it’s the right one for you. Many recipes can be used for a number of different purposes, for example cleaning the floors and the windows, so you’ll reduce the need to buy tens of different products that will clutter your cupboards.
This article first appeared in Issue 2 of Be Kind magazine, published March 2019