A thorough cleaning of your home doesn’t seem like it would have any effect on the outside world... you’re just cleaning indoors after all, right?
It is surprising, and slightly alarming, how some of the cleaning products that we use every day negatively affect the environment without us even knowing it. Many products that are praised for their ability to degrease, whiten, and sanitize can also introduce hazardous pollutants to both the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Research has shown that products containing phosphorus, ammonia, and nitrogen are the worst offenders when it comes to harming the environment. These chemicals are most commonly found in products such as:
In larger quantities, these chemicals can prove to be highly hazardous water contaminants. When cleaning toilets or kitchen sinks, these chemicals are washed down the drain or flushed; thus, introducing them to our water.
Normally, pollutants contaminating the water are removed at waste treatment facilities before re-introducing it to natural water sources such as rivers and streams. However, chemicals like phosphorus, nitrogen, and ammonia are not removed at these facilities; therefore, leaving them to accumulate in the water and lead to further environmental and wildlife issues.
Additionally, when we use these cleaners in our homes and leave windows open to air out the house, we are introducing these chemicals to the outdoors; thus, contaminating the air.
Your standard dishwashing detergent contains up to 30-40% phosphorus. Ammonia is a popular chemical used in almost every multipurpose cleaner, shining wax, and toilet bowel cleaner on the market. Both floor cleaners and glass cleaners often contain nitrogen.
So, with pretty much every cleaning product on the market containing one or more of these hazardous chemicals, what can be done? We certainly can’t just stop cleaning altogether. There is always the option of purchasing green cleaning products online, but some of these products can be expensive and ineffective in achieving their intended purpose.
Fortunately, rather than using dangerous chemicals or breaking the bank with so-called ‘green’ cleaning solutions – there is a third option; DIY cleaning products.
DIY cleaning products refer to the use of non-toxic ingredients, often things we already have in the pantry, to create homemade cleaning supplies. Solutions made at home are often the best, most environmentally friendly method of keeping your house clean and tidy without burning a hole in your wallet, or the ozone layer.
Often, these cleaning mixtures share ingredients. The products that are commonly used for making these homemade cleaners include:
Using these ingredients, there are numerous solutions that can be made to clean even the toughest surfaces.
We tend to use a large number of cleaning products when cleaning our bathroom.
When going down the cleaning supplies aisle in any supermarket, we find that there are tons of different products for cleaning toilets, sinks, mirrors, bathtubs, countertops, and tiles. These products often promise to make anything they are used on squeaky clean and free of any harmful germs or bacteria; however, they fail to mention that certain chemicals they contain, when mixed, can be highly dangerous to the individual using them. In fact, bleach and ammonia, which are found in numerous cleaning products, when combined, create an extremely dangerous gas.
This is yet another reason why DIY cleaners seem to be the best choice when looking for a safer alternative. Below are some recipes for creating your own non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning solutions.
Tile and Bathtubs Cleaner
The solution should now be finished and ready for use. Apply with sponge or cloth and rinse thoroughly.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Glass Surface Cleaner
Soap Scum Remover
Lime or Calcium Remover
When lime or calcium deposits are present on chrome faucets:
As previously stated, most of the ingredients that you need to create your own cleaning supplies can be found in the pantry. When making kitchen cleaning supplies, you will often need:
Stovetop and Sink Cleaner
To create this mixture, you will only require 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of water.
Carpet Cleaner and Stain Remover
Carpet spills are almost impossible to avoid. However, when those accidents occur, there are environmentally friendly and cheap methods by which you can rid your carpet of those unsightly stains.
All you will need is white vinegar, salt, and lavender essential oil.
There are hundreds of DIY cleaning recipes out there that you can try. However, it is important that you read over the ingredients carefully and ensure that what you are making is actually environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
For example, there are many recipes out there that contain borax, which is not eco-friendly and listed as a pesticide, fungicide, and poison. When opting for eco-friendly DIY cleaning, researching the topic is key. There are plenty of sites out there dedicated to educating the public about homemade cleaning supplies and how to make them.