Chemical-based cleaning products have drawbacks: They’re pricey, they may trigger health issues and their manufacture, use and disposal can harm the environment. So if you’re approaching a spring cleaning of your home this year, why not consider these effective all-natural cleaning alternatives?
Common commercial cleaners are loaded with toxic and polluting substances designed to make domestic life easier. The cost of these chemical-based products can be high: long-term health concerns for the family and environmental pollution caused by their manufacture and disposal.
Here is a list of common, environmentally safe ingredients that you can use alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications. The vast majority of cleaning projects can be tackled with nothing more than vinegar, baking soda, soap, and water, but other ingredients are useful for specific jobs.
Healthy Home Cleaning Habits
Exchange Indoor Air
Many modern homes are so tight there’s little new air coming in. Open the windows from time to time or run any
installed exhaust fans.
In cold weather, the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide – windows and doors,
and let fresh air in quickly for about five minutes. The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as ‘heat sinks’,
and by exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.
Remove clutter that collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines. Try to initiate a ‘no-shoes-indoors’ policy.
If you’re building or remodelling a home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust that portable
vacuum cleaners recirculate.
If you or your children suffer from dust mite allergies, keeping humidity low and vacuuming regularly can help.
Dust mites tend to accumulate in bedding, so washing bed linens regularly in hot water is a good practice.
Keep Bedrooms Clean
Most time at home is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms, especially if they spend time outdoors.
Use Gentle Cleaning Products
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are
the most toxic.
Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory
irritation, headaches and other complaints.
Clean from the Top Down
When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last. Clean window blinds and shelves first and then work
downwards. Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.
Clean Up After Pets
Owning a pet means dealing with fur, dander, tracked-in dirt, and accidents of various sorts.
Keep your pet brushed to cut down on fur balls, vacuum often, and train them to use only certain pieces of furniture.