Today is Earth Day and there are a variety of events around the city to help us celebrate, anything from concerts to community clean up events. This and the spring weather got me thinking how to live a little bit more “Green” in my home. As I sit on my sofa writing this post, after a full day of driving around the city (yes driving is part of my job, and no, my car is not a gas-guzzler) I look around my house and start thinking about spending a day on serious spring cleaning. Although my borderline obsessive personality would want to hose everything down with Mr. Clean, I know that there is a better and more environmentally responsible way to a clean home.
So how can you clean and detoxify your home without buying anything or by just using natural and basic household ingredients you might already have in the cupboard? I did a bit of research and found a few simple steps.
Open the windows – Did you know that VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels are higher indoors than outside? Opening your windows for even just a few minutes a day can significantly improve your indoor air quality.
Take off your shoes – There is a lot packed into your shoe treads – lead dust, animal feces, and chemicals, including fertilizers and pesticides. When you leave your shoes at the door, you’re also leaving these contaminants at the door instead of tracking them all over your home.
Kick your chemical habit – Switching to non-toxic cleaning and personal care products is a must. Embrace label reading and look to AVOID products with questionable ingredients like chlorine, ammonia, phosphates, SLS, parabens, BPA, synthetic fragrances / dyes, and petrochemicals.
Don’t Forget to Dust – Many of the products inside your home, and the materials used to make the building itself, are slowly degrading and breaking down into small, microscopic particles. Over time, what’s in them, becomes a part of your household dust. This dust can be contaminated with toxic flame retardants, in addition to heavy metals, pesticides, and countless other chemicals that make up our everyday surroundings. Wipe surfaces regularly with a damp cloth. Wipe hard floors with a damp mop and vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly. Also, swipe your screens. Some of the most contaminated dust is found on TV and computer screens.
If all this talk about clean living sparked your interest and you would like to learn more, a good way to start is by reading Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin.
Sales of natural household products have surged in the past few years and this book is about putting them to good use. It explains what green cleaning is, why it’s important and how to make it work in your home.
The authors take you through your house, room by room, and give you ideas for safer ways to clean and they list green ideas and recipes.
Thinking about making your own All-Purpose cleaner? Try this one from Annie B. Bond’s Home Enlightenment. Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake gently. Use on counters, cupboards, or any surface. For tough dirt, leave the cleanser on for few minutes and wipe off.
- 1/2 teaspoon washing soda (or 2 1/2 tsp Borax)
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid Castile soap
- 2 cups hot water
- 16 ounce spray bottle