Updated: Mar 2, 2022
When it comes to cleaning, there’s really only one objective: well, clean. We often get the maximum strength cleaners that will get the job done, and ideally, the less amount of effort, the easier it is on us. Let’s face it, we are busy and we need fast-acting cleaners!
The convenience of the cleaner is at the price of quite a few things, though. Many store-bought products that keep your house squeaky clean could be contributing to the effects of climate change, and on top of this, some of these ingredients are not good for your health. Using more naturally-sourced cleaning products will benefit both you and the Earth, and we can help you make that easy switch!
For starters, think about all of the temporary-use plastics in which cleaning solutions are stored. In Packaging Strategies’ article, it was explained that people often have the good intention of recycling, but along the way, plastics can be misplaced and actually end up in a landfill. Many single-use plastics end up in the ocean as well, contributing to the 5.25 trillion particles of plastic floating in our seas. The amount of plastic in the ocean weighs about 250,000 tons! How can we help this problem, though?
It begins with holding ourselves accountable. While we may not be able to control what big corporations are wasting, we are in full control of what we personally use. Investing in a reusable spray bottle for cleaning is a good start. The cleaning solutions you get from the store are filled mostly with water and only have a small amount of cleaning concentrate in them. Due to this, many companies are making the switch to sell concentrated tablets rather than an entire bottle of solution.
Another great tip for being more sustainable with cleaning supplies is to look for natural alternatives. Making household cleaners yourself reduces waste and also makes you aware of exactly what you are using to clean your house. This tip serves as a 2-in-1, since harmful chemicals can harm you and your pets! Here are some common household chemicals and their natural, sustainable counterparts:
Bleach: Bleach can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems. Instead, use white vinegar. Vinegar helps with odors, mildew and wax buildup, and when paired with cornstarch, it makes a great carpet cleaner!
Window cleaner: many window cleaners involve harsh ingredients like ammonia. Instead, you can use cornstarch. Cornstarch is also good for polishing furniture too!
Kitchen/bathroom disinfectant: Many of the leading disinfectants contain bleach, ammonia, or other chemicals that irritate the skin and/or lungs. Instead, you can use hydrogen peroxide. This will not only get rid of bacteria, it will also get rid of stains!
By simply substituting our cleaning products with other ingredients, we can eliminate tons of waste—literally! Using products that contain less packaging and that have multiple purposes takes away from the overall plastic waste, and it could also cost you less. Talk about being sustainable and cost effective!