The Eco Guide to Home Cleaning Products

eco home cleaning guide
Some essential and basic “green” cleaners for the house – for wood, the kitchen sink and even the toilet bowl.

Cleaning out the house is not everyone’s favourite job, but with all the different products available on the supermarket shelves, it can also be an expensive one.

Here are a few tips to cleaning your house in a more economical, greener way. With essential ingredients like white vinegar, lemon, and olive oil, it’s a snap. Some of us want to use greener products to be gentler on the earth, the city’s water recycling systems. Some of us can’t stand the toxic, synthetic odors. Some don’t like the way caustic cleaning materials affect our skin and lungs. Read on for all the great tips.

Sustainable cleaning shopping list:

• White vinegar- just use the cheap white distilled vinegar
• Lemons
• Olive oil- the most basic will do
• Bicarbonate soda/baking powder works just as well – it’s a mix of bicarbonate of soda and starch.

Sustainable cleaning equipment

Natural, reusable rags- old shirts, cloths.

Stick to reusable mops and rags instead of throw disposable paper and sponges that contain chemicals and soaps for cleaning. They are more expensive and often more toxic.

How to eco clean the windows

Take two to three tablespoons of vinegar to three litres of warm water in a spray bottle. Make sure it is a new bottle or cleaned well from any toxins hat might have been in it before. You will inhale microdrops of the spray.

Dry with crumpled newspaper. (And yes, please still buy actual newspapers. It keeps the printing presses and journalists in business.)

Green clean your floors

foundation repair eco laminate

Take eight tablespoons of white or cidar vinegar diluted in a gallon of hot water is great for mopping vinyl, laminate (not an eco option) or ceramic tiled floors. We often add half a lid of Ecover floor cleaner to the mix which gives a great citrus smell.

Toxin free sink cleaning

Get a clean spray bottle and fill it with pure vinegar, do not dilute it at all. White vinegar works the best. Spray all over the sink and leave for a few minutes and then wipe away with a rag.

This is a great way to get rid of all those hard water stains.

Cleaning microwaves and ovens

A cloth dampened in equal parts of vinegar and water usually does the trick. Microwave odors can be removed by placing some lemon slices in a bowl of water and putting on high for a few minutes. We are not against the self-cleaning ovens that burn out grease and grime. The catalytic function on ovens made in the last 10 years work well, do take an unreasonable amount of energy, but on the other hand you won’t use toxic chemicals to melt away the grime.

Do make sure to leave the home and open the windows if you are using the self-cleaning option on your oven. It off-gases and the byproducts are not good for your lungs or health.

Eco cleaning bath, shower, tiles

Mix two parts bicarbonate soda to one part vinegar. This forms a thick paste that can be applied with a damp cloth. Leave this on the surface for 10 minutes then rub with a brush or sponge.

Rinsing the mix of these surfaces and down the drains will clean the drains too.

Eco clean the toilet

To clean the toilet and cistern, just sprinkle some bicarbonate soda onto a damp cloth, scrub area and then wipe with another wet cloth.

To eliminate stains in the bowl- you can place three cups of undiluted vinegar in the bowl and scrub it with a toilet brush.

Eco clean wood

Mix one part olive oil with one part lemon juice. You can rub it on furniture or apply with a spray bottle, then polish with a dry cloth.

Eco clean mildew and mould

-Prepare one part vinegar or lemon juice to one part baking powder. Apply to affected area and leave for one to two hours or even more depending on the severity of the mould or mildew. After this, it can be rinsed off.

An eco air freshener

By mixing eight tablespoons of baking soda with three drops of any essential oil, you can eliminate lots of bad odours. Just place the mix in a decorative bowl or vase.

Another option is to add a few drops to some table salt or kosher salt and aerate this mixture over a votive candle. Try calming, natural and essential oils. You can dig into our herbalist’s medicine cabinet for some ideas.

Quick shopping list for essential oils:

  1. Organic lemon oil
  2. Tea Tree Oil
  3. Organic lavender oil
  4. Bergamot oil
  5. Roman Chamomile
  6. Peppermint essential oil
  7. Rosemary essential oil
  8. Sweet basil essential oil
  9. Rose absolute oil
  10. Ylang Lang oil
  11. Ginger oil

Dusting the sustainable way

Desert areas and Middle East countries are especially dusty so it is important to develop a method that cleans the dust without moving large amounts back into the air. Try soaking your dusting rag in two parts water, two parts vinegar and two drops of lemon and oil, then wring it out and store in a covered glass jar until you need it.

Look into HEPA filters that can clean the air as well so much less of the dust from diesel fumes and building materials get into your lungs.

Eco laundry ideas

The eco friendly detergents are well concentrated and are often very economical. I have found that I need to use little to get a good wash, especially with the brands Ecover, ECOS and Eco-Friend.

For a fabric softener you can use vinegar mixed with your favourite essential oil. But fabric softeners are not really necessary and are usually full of conditioners and fragrance that irritate the skin. If you have bad stains you can soak your clothes in a bucket with some bicarbonate soda for an hour before washing.

Cleaning your clothes with warm or cold water washes are the best for the planet, along with opting to use your machines on off peak hours to avoid overloading the grid on hot or very cold days. Some places like in Canada over incentives and 50% discounts for using appliances after 7PM, so see what’s out there. Saving money, means saving time, means using your time for love, creativity and exploring nature.

Happy Cleaning, Happy Breathing!

Read more Green Guides:
The Bedroom
The Kitchen
The Living Room

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4 thoughts on “The Eco Guide to Home Cleaning Products”

  1. Rugs are so imperative in certain houses. They are the ones which remove mess on the shoes and slippers we are using. Same with rugs, carpets are also important inside the house. The fact that they add beauty in the house, carpets also too removes dust. But it would be tough to remove dust and stains on the carpet. So it is important to choose the best carpet cleaner.

  2. Ronley says:

    I love your ending. “Happy Cleaning, Happy Breathing!”

    Thanks for the great solutions.

  3. One more thing–a damp dustrag works better than a wet one.

  4. For the toilet, use only one cup of vinegar (at least for an Israeli toilet that has a small amount of water in the bowl. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then brush.

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