If you would like to get started cleaning your home in a greener (and cheaper) way, here are my suggestions:
- If you don't already, it's time to make the switch to reusable cleaning implements (I'm not sure if you can tell, but I didn't know exactly what word to use there). For instance, and I have been guilty of this in the past, using paper towel to clean counters, mirrors, or anything else, for that matter, is a complete waste. Get yourself some cheap cleaning rags to use. If you also stop using harsh chemicals to clean with, you could even wash them in your normal laundry or with your towels, so you won't even have to answer for the extra load of laundry. Also, if you use a Swiffer (sorry everyone!), the reusable heads and the cleaner that are used are both bad for the environment. You can buy reusable mop-heads and then just wash them in the laundry as well. We got e-cloths and they work great with just water (I actually use the handle from my old Swiffer with the e-cloth mop-head). If you're looking for something with a little more power than just plain water, you could always add vinegar.
- Embrace vinegar! It's cheap and it works much the same as a multi-purpose cleaner. The next time you run out of a cleaning product in a spray bottle, clean the bottle out thoroughly, then fill it with a mixture that is half white vinegar and half water. This will clean almost everything in your house, but keep it away from marble surfaces and make sure to dilute it, otherwise it could eat away at the grout in your bathroom. That's right folks - diluted vinegar is a strong enough deodorizer and disinfectant to clean your bathtub, toilet, sink and countertops. You can even use it (undiluted) to clean the inside of your toilet. And... it does floors!
- Baking soda is not just for baking. It is great for scrubbing anything that would require a non-abrasive cleaner, such as toilets, sinks and bathtubs. I also use it to clean my hair. It's great stuff!
With these three tips you should be able to clean about 99% of all household surfaces and messes. I encourage everyone to try these techniques because they truly are better for your wallet, your environment, and your health, so what do you have to lose?