I may not be the biggest green thumb, but I try to do my part for the environment. While you won’t find me at the local community garden, you will find me strolling the supermarket shelves for eco-friendly products. The number of ‘green’, ‘natural’, ‘eco’ and ‘organic’ cleaning products has grown over the years, and many think these automatically make them a better choice; myself included. So it came as a rude shock when I turned over my bottle of green cleaner to find a list of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Are these products actually safe and what are the best green cleaners to use in your home?

No doubt you take extra special care to avoid BPA in your tupperware and too many pesticides on your fresh food, so why wouldn’t you do the same for cleaning products?

According to Dr. Anne Steinemann, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Melbourne, many common consumer products, including those marketed as ‘green’ emit a range of compounds that could harm human health and air quality. However, most of these ingredients are not disclosed to the public. In the study, 37 different products were tested and analysed for their volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions, which can trigger asthma attacks, allergies, and headaches. Professor Steineman found a total of 156 different VOCs emitted, with an average of 15 VOCs per product. Of these 156 VOCs, 42 are classified as toxic or hazardous under US federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these chemicals. Yikes!

So what’s a health conscious cleaner to do? Simply make your own products! Some of the most powerful non-toxic cleaning products are things you’ll likely already have in your kitchen pantry. Here’s a look at five of the best GREENER CLEANERS you can whip up to make your home sparkly clean.

  1. Baking soda – acts a cleaning agent because it is a mild alkali and can cause dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water for effective removal.

Green cleaning solution: Instead of using bleach to deodorize your drain, pour baking soda down with warm water; it will neutralise the odours for a fresh smelling sink.

  1. Vinegarhelps remove inorganic soils and mineral deposits such as hard water films, and is also effective against a broad range of bacteria, destroying or reducing these organisms to acceptable levels.

Green cleaning solution: Unclog your shower head by soaking in white distilled vinegar overnight. You can also give your laundry a boost by adding 1 cup of white distilled vinegar during last rinse cycle; it helps dissolve the alkaline compounds in soaps and detergents to prevent build up in clothes and sheets.

  1. Olive oil – not just good for the heart and reducing inflammation, it also helps lift dirt and can be used as a furniture polish as well.

Green cleaning solution: Make your woodwork sparkle by combining 2 cups olive oil with 1 cup lemon juice or vinegar and rubbing thoroughly into furniture with a soft cloth.

  1. Salt – works as an effective yet gentle scouring agent and draws water out, making it a great stain remover as well.

Green cleaning solution: Attack wine spills by blotting up as much as possible then immediately covering the remaining stain with a pile of salt. This will help pull the rest of the wine away from the carpet fibre or tablecloth.

  1. Lemon – a perfect partner for making tasty drinks or desserts, but also great for cleaning due to their disinfectant properties.

Green cleaning solution: Clean the crevices of your cutting board by sprinkling with salt and scrubbing with a cut lemon. Let sit for 5 minutes before rinsing sparkling clean.

Image credit: followgreenliving

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