Cleaning is a big chore this time of the year as we tackle our floors, walls, windows, and cars in earnest. It's time to wipe off that winter grime and make our homes spic and span. As many of you know, our store is a "green clean" location, meaning we use, stock, and sell different cleaning solutions that all have one thing in common: they are safe for the plant. And as we know, what's good for the planet is good for us as well.
In the last few years, there has been a major consumer shift in our communities: people are starting to shy away from using traditional cleaning products like bleach, ammonia, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Instead, they are embracing safer and more natural alternatives which work just as well.
I wanted to share several eco-cleaning tips I have picked up over the years and use regularly at home, in the shops, and anywhere I go:
1. Have the Right Tools
A lot of people think that green (or other) products "don't work" after they give a spritz and nothing happens. One thing to keep in mind is that different solutions, sprays, and powders are supposed to be used in conjunction with the proper tools like wipes, scrubbies or dishcloths. When you use something with a natural and mechanical abrasive, it means you can avoid using strong chemicals, etc. which literally break the dirt down (and who knows what else it "attacks").
I love using my bamboo pot scraper along with my coconut scrub pad for hard-to-remove bits on my pots and pans, and a Euro Scrubby for the rest of my dishes and many heavy duty messes. For windows I use the euroScrubby dishcloth which has a similar feel to paper towels but much thicker. For everyday light cleaning like wiping down counters or tackling other spaces, the wood fiber Mabu multi cloth is a real blessing, especially since it never gets that gross "rag smell" that many other alternatives get. When I'm away from home or just on the go and need something for one use, I reach for my cute "wipe tabs" to which you only need to add water and they unravel into a wipe! If it's something greasy I'm trying to clean, I add some lemon juice to the water to tackle it.
2. Use the Right Products
There are lots of "green" products out there in the market which claim to be biodegradable and good for the environment. However, not all of it is true and many of them still have ingredients like bleach or ammonia included, but by adding lemon juice they think they can fool us. I only use cleaning products that I know are devoid of bleach, detergents, ammonia, artificial fragrances, and volatile organic compounds. Most of the time they are based around ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, water, and essential oils. This makes them naturally effective cleaners and we use them at home all the time.
If you are looking to make your own cleaners (totally commendable), there are many recipes online you can use as a base or guideline. Some ingredients might be difficult to find in your local stores but can be ordered online or at specialty stores. Otherwise, we have a range of different products in stores, many of them refillable for minimal waste.
3. Make it Convenient
It seems like all the big name brands have made cleaning so much easier by making products that are convenient to use, like those wet wipes, toilet bowl "stickies," and more. Thankfully green companies are starting to tackle this gap and are starting to think about how to make Eco conscious people's lives easier. We just got a shipment of these nifty sticks to put in your drain to keep it clean and smelling fresh, toilet cleaner which you throw in the tank and lasts 2000 flushes as well as dishwasher and laundry machine cleaners you just need to run a normal cycle with. Though certainly there is still a ways to go, if we support these brands and continue to make our own little fixes until we can find alternatives for everything, we'll be on the right track.
Why do I use Eco Cleaning Products?
There are several reasons why using eco cleaning products is so important to me, however these two stick out to me the most:
- Better for the Planet
When I use green cleaning products, I am making a conscious decision to avoid harming the planet. All the cleaning products we use end up in our water systems and then in our ecosystems. Living in Ontario and being exposed to the beauty of the nature that surrounds us, I would hate to think that I was doing something that is hurting or disturbing it. I also like to refill my cleaning containers whenever possible to keep the containers out of landfills. You'll find that much of the packaging and products are either biodegradable or recyclable at the end of their usable life .
- Better for me
One reason to hate cleaning in general is that chemically scent that comes along with it and clings to my hands and clothes for a while after. I'm sure that I'm not the only one to face skin irritation from the strong chemicals found in conventional products. By using natural cleaning products and tools, I can enjoy the process and not have it physically hurt me like it used to. I'm also a lot more confident having my granddaughters around knowing that the surfaces they are touching or the plates they are eating off of are not covered in artificial detergents or chemicals which could harm them.
What are your experiences with eco-cleaning products? Do you have any favourites that we have yet to discover?