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It may come as a shock, but many cleaning products aren’t so, well, clean. “The vast majority of cleaning products contain highly toxic ingredients, and can lead to respiratory problems, skin irritation, nervous system damage, and organ toxicity, amongst other health issues,” explains Green Living host, Lauren Singer (@trashisfortossers). Not to mention the plastic packaging they’re often encased in, which is harmful to the planet.
Many cleaning products also contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which are a group of chemicals that can negatively impact air quality, water pollution, and human health, explains Singer. When VOCs are poured down the drain, they can affect viable drinking water and animal habitats. But while there may be a lot of not-so-great cleaning products out there, there are ways to clean your home sustainably, without all the harmful toxins and plastic waste.
Limit Your House Cleaning Products
Singer shares that contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a different cleaner for every type of surface in your home. In fact, one all-purpose cleaner can usually get the job done. Consolidating your household cleaning products not only frees up space in your home, but it also reduces waste, which is a win for the environment!
You can also use many items you probably already have at home to clean. Singer recommends liquid castile soap for floors, dishes, toilet bowls, and your hands! Baking soda is also great for odor and stain removal. Mix them together and you’ve got the perfect tile cleaner! Need to scrub in hard-to-reach areas? Reuse an old toothbrush!
Use Reusable and Refillable Packaging
Another way to limit the amount of waste created with cleaning products is to use reusable and refillable packaging. That way, you won’t have to dispose of the package after just one use.
Make Your Own Cleaning Spray
Reusable and refillable packaging goes hand in hand with making your own cleaning products. This not only reduces waste, but also gives you control over what goes into your cleaning products and allows you to eliminate harmful chemicals and toxins.
Singer makes her own DIY cleaning spray using a handful of simple products: water, distilled white vinegar, dried lavender and citrus peels (or essential oils of your preference), an upcycled spray bottle, and a funnel (optional).
First, fill a jar with 50% water and 50% vinegar. Then, using your optional funnel, fill your upcycled spray bottle with the water-vinegar mixture. Next, put in 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Singer shares that vinegar and essential oils are great alternatives to store-bought cleaning products “because they have naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.”
Use Zero-Waste Dish Cleaning Products
For a quick and easy way to jumpstart your zero-waste cleaning routine, try the Package Free Dish Cleaning Bundle. It comes with a bottle brush, a pot brush, a dishwashing brush, and copper scrubbers. The products all come in a package-free drawstring bag, and are 100% plastic-free, so they can all be diverted from landfills at the end of their life through recycling or composting.
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