In its most recent national survey, the American Cleaning Institute found that 60 percent of Americans regularly engage in the annual ritual of spring cleaning. But before you run out there with your bottle of cleaner and a squeegee — which, by the way, is sometimes known by the far more awesome-sounding term ” squimjim” — take a quick pause and glance at your cleaning solution’s ingredient label. Some of the most popular cleaning products out there contain harsh toxins and chemicals that can do damage to both your health and the health of the planet.
For example, take a glance at these ingredients that can be found in many commercial cleaning solutions:
- Ammonia: a powerful irritant that can cause kidney damage.
- Butyl cellusolve: a skin-penetrating neurotoxin.
- Ortho phenylphenol: a severe eye irritant.
Alas, the next best thing on the store shelves may not actually be planet-friendly, either. Label terms like “eco-friendly” and “non-toxic” don’t really mean anything, aren’t regulated by the government and are often forms of greenwashing that marketers use to draw your attention.
Save yourself time and money, and save the planet, by mixing up a few homemade green household cleaners. These can leave your home sparkling and smelling fresh, often just as good as the commercial stuff.
Multipurpose cleaner: Pour a cup of hot water into a spray bottle and add 1/2 teaspoon of borax, a tablespoon of white vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of washing soda and a teaspoon of liquid castile soap. Shake the bottle to mix its contents, then va-va-voom!
Drain cleaner: Clear out the hair and other nasties hiding in your bathtub or kitchen drain by mixing a cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of table salt. Pour it down the drain and let it sit for a few hours, then pour a cup of boiling white vinegar down the drain. After the fizzing has died down, rinse your now cleared pipes with lots of fres water to get rid of the acidic solution.
Air freshener: Got a lot of junk in your trunk, like sweaty gym equipment or a forgotten lunch? Deodorize your room, car or any other smelly spot with a cotton ball spritzed with essential oil.
Bathroom cleaner/disinfectant: Mix a cup of hydrogen peroxide with two cups of water and spray it on the surfaces you need to disinfect. It can even zap mold!
Window cleaner: Get rid of the grime that can accumulate over the winter and say hello to clearer, shinier windows. Combine a quart of water with two ounces of white vinegar. Spritz, shine, smize.
What are your own eco-friendly cleaning ideas? Send us a tweet and share your tips.