Believe it or not you don’t actually need 15 different cleaning products to clean every surface in your house, I know this might come as a surprise to some people! In fact, there are a few very versatile products that can be used to green clean your home – without filling it with unnecessary chemicals.
How to Green Clean Your Home
It started out with purchasing cleaning products that were labeled “green,” “eco” or “natural,” but after reading the ingredient list on these products I was still pretty shocked by how many ingredients weren’t very good for us or the environment.
When I first started living on my own I began buying a cleaning product for pretty much every purpose: toilets, sinks, floors, glass… the list goes on. After years of wasting my money, some time spent on Pinterest and my growing interest in minimizing the amount of unnecessary chemicals in my life I decided to try out some more natural cleaning products and recipes.
First, let’s take a look at some of the most well-known and touted green cleaning ingredients.
The must-have ingredients to properly green clean your home:
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Vinegar is one of the first ingredients that come to mind when the idea of green cleaning your home pops into your head, and yes it definitely does have some benefits but only when used correctly! Unfortunately there’s a lot of misconception surrounding the efficacy of vinegar as a cleaning product.
White vinegar is very acidic which makes it great for tackling grease, but not necessarily removing dirt. It’s effective against M. Tuberculosis but does not kill many other forms of bacteria and therefore should be used in conjunction with other cleaners in the kitchen and bathroom.
Baking Soda is a fantastic green cleaning ingredient! it deodorizes and works to help scrub grime off of surfaces. A paste of baking soda and water effectively helps to get filth off of sinks and other surfaces. When blended with vinegar, baking soda makes a lovely fizzing action that sounds like it’s doing a lot… but don’t be fooled because you really shouldn’t blend the two.
In short, baking soda and vinegar just neutralize each other and create glorified salt water. The only benefit you have from blending the two is to help remove hard water stains and build up. If you do have hard water this will help suspend the particles, but that’s it.
Hydrogen Peroxide is the disinfectant of green cleaning. It is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, so if you’re looking to get rid of salmonella or other nasties in your kitchen this is the go-to product. Keep in mind though that hydrogen peroxide needs time to work it’s magic and therefore should be kept in an opaque spray bottle and once applied should have time to sit on a surface and kill the bacteria.
Hydrogen Peroxide is also great for removing stains, it’s essentially a lighter version of bleach and can be used to clean grout, carpet and clothing stains.
Castile Soap has so many different uses in the home! It’s a non-toxic and eco-friendly surfactant that effectively removes grease and grime. However, you should never ever blend it with vinegar (or you’ll get a nasty curdled mixture that won’t do any good.)
You can buy castile soap that is scented with essential oils, or if you prefer you can use your own blend of essential oils to help clean your home. There are certain essential oils that are known to be much more effective for disinfecting and cleaning such as: tea tree, lemon and peppermint essential oils. Each of these have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Using essential oils for their disinfecting properties can be costly, but if you really want it to smell good this is an option.
Green Clean your Home: What I use
Okay, now that we’ve gone over the must-haves and the common misconceptions of each, I’m going to share my favourite recipes/tactics for each cleaning product.
- Spray Bottle
- 1 Cup White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Water
To clean glass and mirrors my go-to blend is a 1:1 dilution of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and some newspaper or a coffee filter to leave a streak and fuzz-free surface (trust me, these work better than paper towels!)
Kitchen & Bathroom Surfaces
To clean gunk off of a surface; sprinkle surface with baking soda and spray soap solution over top. Scrub.
- Spray Bottle
- 1 Cup Castile Soap
- 3 Cups Water
To disinfect a surface; spray liberally with undiluted hydrogen peroxide and allow to sit for a few minutes. Wipe clean.
- Opaque Spray Bottle
- Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
- 1 Cup of Baking Soda
- 10 Drops of Essential Oils
If you have pets this is a must have! We only have one carpet in our house, luckily. Blend Baking Soda with your favourite essential oils, spread liberally over your rug and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Vacuum clean.
*If you have a dark rug, you may get white cast.
- 2-3 Tablespoons Castile Soap
- 3 Litres of warm water
Castile soap is highly concentrated – don’t be thrown off by it’s rather watery texture. It doesn’t take much to create a sudsy bucket of floor cleaner.
If you have wood floors, I recommend spraying a mop bonnet with the castile soap and water blend. Do not spray it directly on the wood; you may saturate your wood floor with too much moisture and cause the wood to cup.
Green cleaning your home isn’t difficult, but it’s important to know what ingredients work! Up until a few months ago I thought that vinegar and water were adequate disinfectants for the kitchen (they aren’t) which is why doing your research is really important. If you’re not cleaning properly, then you’re not going to have a healthy home either!