The Art of Cleaning (and Greening!) Up

It’s almost spring…time to RENEW, to dig out from the piles of dirt and clutter we accumulated over the winter and get everything glowing again.

Are your cleaning products as healthy as your diet? According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research organization, 53 percent of cleaning products they reviewed contained lung-harming ingredients; 22 percent have been shown to cause asthma. In addition, carcinogens like formaldehyde and chloroform were found in several cleaners.

DIY Cleaning
In an effort to minimize the negative effects of chemical cleaners in your own home, common household items can be great substitutes. Here are some must-haves to keep in your DIY cleaning supplies arsenal. Stock up on the basics, then use these simple recipes to create everything you need to make your house sparkle, naturally.

Lemon: Super effective against household bacteria (and smells fresh and lovely!)

Olive Oil: Makes a great base for leather furniture cleaner and more

White Vinegar: Safely cuts through grease, and removes mildew, odors and stains

Baking Soda: The ultimate green cleaning weapon—cleans, deodorizes and scours

Tea Tree Oil: An excellent natural disinfectant and natural mold fighter

Make These Products Extinct
Once you’ve greened up all your necessary products, let’s dump the ones the EWG says we don’t need anymore, EVER. These include:

  • Air fresheners (open windows instead, or diffuse your favorite essential oils)
  • Anti-bacterial products, which can spur the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs. Good old soap and H2O does the trick every time!
  • Fabric softener or dryer sheets. Instead, use wool dryer balls or add a little vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Drain cleaners (use a plunger or snake instead) and oven cleaners (make an inexpensive paste of baking soda and water).
Better Products Abound
Not a DIYer? The good news is there are safer versions of all your favorite household cleaners. We’ve got a whole bunch of eco-friendly household supplies on sale this month, including Ecover Dish Tablets, Biokleen Stain and Odor Remover, Earth Friendly ECOS Dishmate Dish Liquid, and Seventh Generation Auto Dish Powder and Gel. For more info on safer household cleaning products, check out the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, a database of more than 2,500 everyday household cleaning products.

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