If you wish your cleaning routine was a little more green, I’ve got great news for you. It’s easier than you think to go green!
There are plenty of reasons to adopt a greener cleaning routine: perhaps you’re hoping to reduce waste, or maybe you want to avoid chemical-filled products around pets or children. Going green can even help you save money in the long run.
It can be hard to figure out where to start, so here are five simple ways to start making the switch.
Every green cleaning routine starts with smart shopping. Check each and every label before you purchase cleaning products — even products labeled “green” or “eco-friendly.” Those are marketing terms that are not strictly regulated.
There are also a couple of third-party certification logos to look for that can help you find greener products. For instance, the Green Seal ecolabel, which shows that the product has met certain standards for sustainability. There’s also the ECOLOGO, which certifies the product has a reduced environmental impact, or USDA’s seal for “Certified Biobased” products.
Make Your Own
If you really want to ensure a greener cleaning routine, you can try mixing up your own cleaning scrubs and solutions. By devoting a little extra time, you’ll know exactly what’s in them — and more importantly, what’s not.
You likely have many DIY cleaning supplies in your home already, like vinegar and baking soda.
Avoid Disposables When Possible
This one is pretty straightforward. While disposables like paper towels and sponges are convenient, they certainly aren’t the greenest solutions.
Instead, ditch the disposables for reusable options. Swap paper towels for washable cleaning cloths and dish towels. And opt for a durable bristle brush and sturdy pan scrapers, instead of that stinky kitchen sponge you have to toss once a week.
Skip Scented Products
More often than not, cleaning products — including sprays, detergents, air fresheners, and more — contain synthetic fragrances. Sure, it might smell like lavender fields every time you open that detergent, but it’s actually made with chemicals.
These synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates, the same group of chemicals that is used in plastics, and sometimes even used as a dissolving agent for other materials. Researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, ADHD, breast cancer, neurodevelopmental issues, and fertility issues.
Skip the Fabric Softener, Too
Fabric softeners and dryer sheets aren’t good for you, your clothes, or even your dryer. They leave behind residue that builds up on your clothes and affects your dryer’s operating efficiency. Plus, they contain harmful chemicals — endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) like phthalates — that vent into the air, adhere to your clothes, and rub off on your skin.
There are still plenty of greener solutions to keep your clothes soft. Stock up on natural wool dryer balls, which could also help speed up drying time. Or, try adding half a cup of white vinegar to your washer during the rinse cycle.