11 planet-friendly ways to clean your home
Spring is one of our favorite times of the year! The days are brighter, the weather is warmer, and feelings of hope and new beginnings fill the air.
It’s also the time of year many of us decide to refresh our lives with a little spring cleaning. But before you start scrubbing every surface you can spot, consider making some planet-friendly changes to your cleaning routine.
Many household cleaning products are super wasteful (hello, plastic single-use jugs) and they’re also often filled with toxic ingredients.
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to the environment and public health, shows cleaning products can contain carcinogens, asthma instigators, and poisons. And the most troubling part is: the vast majority of products do not come with disclosures of what they’re made of. In fact, they found only seven percent “adequately disclosed their contents.” (This is an instance in which ignorance is certainly not bliss.)
But as we dove deep into planet-friendly cleaning practices, we’ve luckily found plenty of resources about ways to clean even the most hard-to-reach places without resorting to mystery liquids stored in single-use bottles.
From eco-friendly swaps to DIY non-toxic cleaners, here are some handy tips to keep in mind during your spring clean (or whenever you feel most motivated to get extra tidy)!
11 eco-friendly cleaning tips
1. Ditch paper towels
Did you know 13 billion pounds of paper towels are thrown away each year… in the United States alone? We can’t even begin to process how massive that pile would look (and honestly, we don’t want to).
Instead, use some old clothes, old sheets, and reusable towels. They make for perfect cleaning supplies without creating unnecessary waste.
2. Be BFFs with vinegar and baking soda
Vinegar and baking soda are cleaning wizards — if you know how to use them. They’re non-toxic and probably already in your pantry, which will save you an extra trip to the store.
Here are a few ways to clean with vinegar:
- A few squirts of vinegar can get rid of mold, scum, and mildew build up. It’s a particularly helpful ingredient when cleaning bathrooms or kitchen sinks.
- Vinegar and water can work as an awesome cleaner for windows, floors, and grout.
- Clean your microwave by boiling a solution of vinegar and water. Once steam forms, it’ll be easy to wipe away the residue.
Here are ways to use baking soda when cleaning:
- Scrub baking soda with water to remove mold.
- Baking soda can be used to scrub residue off of pots and pans.
- Baking soda has odor absorbing properties, so you can stick a box in your fridge to keep it smelling fresh or even sprinkle some in a trash can to avoid smelly wafts.
- Pour baking soda onto a grimy surface (like a stovetop), let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub it gently.
3. Make DIY cleaning products
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This cleaner has five ingredients (and one is water!) and it’s what we use to clean EVERYTHING in our house. Making your own natural cleaning products at home is a place where you can save big money! And they’re so easy. Get the full recipe for this Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner at the link in my profile. ▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸▸ #Naturalhome #Greenliving #Greenhome #Sustainableliving #ecohome #DIY #Ecoliving #Holisticlifestyle #Ecoconscious #Sustainablehome #Wellnesswarrior #mindbodygreen #wellnessblogger #ecofriendly #sustainablelife #greencleaning #springcleaning #fallcleaning #diycleaning #cleaningsupplies #housekeeping #homekeeping
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The best part of making products yourself is: you’ll know exactly what you’re using. That way, no hidden, toxic, and hard-to-pronounce chemicals will find their way into your home.
We love this DIY Cleaning Spray Recipe from Moral Fibres and this Citrus Cleaner from Wholefully. But be careful and do research before making your own products. Some ingredients don’t mix well together (like ammonia and bleach).
4. Love your lemons for polishing
A little lemon and baking soda (or salt) can keep stainless steel products looking as shiny as ever. How? Lemons have a citric acid that works as a cleaning agent.
Simply cut a lemon in half, add a little salt to the fruit, and use the lemon as a sponge to polish metal. Just don’t forget to compost afterwards!
5. Get creative with repurposing
Giving things in your life a second purpose is not only super easy, but also an awesome way to save money + waste. Budget-friendly and planet-friendly is our favorite combination.
Here are some of our favorite repurposing tricks:
- Old socks = dusters or cleaning gloves
- Old toothbrush = scrubbing tool
- Extra shoe box = organizing storage bin (perfect for sentimental cards)
- Used coffee grounds = cleaning scrub
- Old jars = desk organizer or dry food ingredients storage
6. Scent your home naturally
Fill your home with cozy smells that don’t damage the planet. So skip the chemically candles, and opt for essential oils and homemade potpourri. They’ll give you the aroma you want without any of the bad stuff (like paraffin wax).
Check out this post to find out more ways to scent your home the planet-friendly way.
7. Donate *responsibly*
We’re huge fans of donating items that no longer bring joy (thank you, Marie Kondo). And one person’s trash is often another person’s treasure. But we also think it’s important to clear our clutter without treating Goodwill (or other donation organizations) like a garbage can.
Goodwill advises givers to: wash clothing, confirm items are not broken or soiled, and stay away from donating items that have been recalled or banned.
8. Be bright with indoor plants
Indoor plants bring a room to life — perfect for spring, a season known for growth and new beginnings! And plants are also efficient air purifiers that improve air quality by absorbing pollutants through their roots and leaves.
In fact, a NASA study found that indoor plants can cleanse the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene. And some research shows that rooms with houseplants have up to 60% fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without greenery.
9. Make cleaning fun with an eco-friendly playlist
10. Find a favorite soap
The powerful duo of warm water and soap is highly underrated! Of course, be mindful of your water usage, but natural, non-toxic soap and hot water can rid dishes and clothes of potential hosts of bacteria.
11. Purchase products thoughtfully
If you’d rather buy than go DIY, be mindful of what you’re putting in the air and on your surroundings. The American Lung Association recommends reading labels, avoiding air fresheners altogether, and choosing products without VOCs, fragrances, irritants, and flammable ingredients.
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For almost 10 years our mission has been to reduce single-use plastic. These bottles are durable and just as refillable as our glass bottles. And if a cap breaks, we will happily replace it at no charge. That means each bottle can last a lifetime. #commongoodandco #refill #zerowaste #clean #sustainable #home 📷 @fighomeco 🖤
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Some of our favorite eco-friendly cleaning products include:
- Aunt Fannies: Between recyclable packaging and simple ingredients, Aunt Fannie’s is a super transparent company with a wide range of products.
- Common Good: We love the beautiful refillable packaging (yes, we did just say beautiful!). And all of the products are made with fully disclosed plant-based ingredients and 100% essential oils.
- Veles: The water in the products come from food waste, the ingredients are disclosed, and the bottles are made of refillable aluminum. Yes, yes, yes.
Check out more posts to make your home more eco-friendly, here:
- 7 ways to make your home pollinator-friendly
- How to make your bedroom eco-friendly
- 7 Easy ways to make your bathroom more eco-friendly