Due to the lock down or should I say ‘thanks to’, I have not been to a major supermarket for the past 5 months. I buy my groceries at the vendors just around the corner, cause that’s the only thing we are allowed to do in the city of Buenos Aires.
Do I miss the shopping? No! Are there products hard to get within my perimeter? No! I have sustainable cleaning products delivered and some I fabricate myself. I save on packaging, time and money and I am preserving my environment for the future.
What is an environmentally friendly cleaning product?
Eco–friendly cleaning products are made using sustainable manufacturing practices and naturally derived, safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients that don’t negatively impact the environment or your family’s health. A fully sustainable product
- does not contain toxic chemicals
- has biodegradable ingredients
- is made from plants
- does not involve single use plastic
- is entirely plastic free
- is refillable
- does not create waste
- is vegan and/or cruelty-free
- and the packaging is recyclable
I can see you are being skeptical. I reviewed the best sustainable cleaning products readily available on the market. Also, golden tips to make ones own shouldn’t be a secret.
- How to home make cleaning products without chemicals for your house to be sustainable clean from the cellar to the roof !
- Where and which ones to buy.
ECOVER : a Belgian leading eco-friendly household cleaning brand available in most European countries and in the USA. Ecover products can be bought online on Amazon, Waitrose, Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s, Ecoverdirect, Homebase and Morrisons.
You should know …
What goes into a commercial cleaning product?
Maybe my above arguments are not convincing you enough. Here is an overview of the chemicals and acids present in conventional or commercial detergents.
1. Hydrochloric acid (H Cl)
is found in most commercial toilet cleaners in fairly large quantities. Also, known as muriatic acid, Hydrochloric acid (H Cl), it has a corrosive effect on human tissues and can cause irreversible contact damage to the skin, eyes, lungs and other internal organs upon contact.
2. Sodium lauryl ether sulfate (or Sodium Laureth Sulfate, SLES)
With properties similar to soap, SLES is used to clean stubborn stains in the bathroom – the acid is known to reduce the surface tension of water. However, SLES is a known irritant, that much like H Cl, can cause damage to eyes and the skin. It is advised to wear protective wear if you are handling the synthetic acid in a concentrated form.
3. Cetrimonium chloride (CTAC)
Another example of a chemical widely used in our toilet cleaners, Cetrimonium chloride or Cetyl trimethyl ammonium chloride can also irritate skin and eyes. Extremely dangerous if swallowed, it is recommended that you remove your contact lenses and consult your physician immediately if even a couple of droplets come in contact.
4. Sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
Sodium hydroxide is a highly corrosive acid that can cause serious burns to your body. One should always keep a safe distance from the acid and wear protective gear while handling it for NaOH is known to decompose proteins and lipids in our body tissues.
If it comes in contact with eyes, sodium chloride has the potential to blind you! And although used in trace quantities, toilet cleaners are a surefire way of letting this hazardous chemical enter our homes.
5. Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach)
The bleach comes with a clear warning to keep away from eyes, ears and nose. Of course, you won’t use sodium hypochlorite directly, but as an ingredient in your toilet cleaner, it still has the potential to severely irritate your skin and eyes. In such a case, it is best to rush to your physician and seek expert guidance.
You may trust the packaging when applying it, another caveat is even after flushing out the liquid, traces of acid may remain on the seat even after.
Worst, the toxic chemicals go down the gutter and in the lakes, rivers or sea near you and pollute the water bodies, posing as a threat to the ecosystem there.
Worldwide eco-friendly cleaning brands are more and more available. With the criteria you’ll find in this article
What is needed to make your own?
Cleaning without harsh & polluting chemicals can be easy and even handy! Most of the ingredients you need to clean and deodorize your home are already in your kitchen.
Vinegar is a byproduct of making wine. Vinegar contains acetic acid and is the one that makes vinegar acidic. In fact, with a pH of 2.4, distilled white vinegar is a pretty strong acid, more acidic than coffee or orange juice, but still less acidic than your stomach juices or, say, the liquid inside batteries.
White vinegar is the most acidic, which can make it a potent cleaner, but it can also make it too strong for some types of cleaning, in which case you can dilute it with water — or go with something milder, like apple cider vinegar.
old cloth, sponges
one or more spray bottles ( recycled if you can )
Eco-Cleaning your home step-by-step
KITCHEN & BATHROOM SINK
Rather than carrying a basket around the house with the 5 principal eco-friendly cleaning items, I advise you prepare an all-natural kitchen & bathroom sink cleaner in advance.
White vinegar is a natural disinfectant. It contains 5% acetic acid, which has antimicrobial properties. It’s also great at cutting through grease and grime, so it’s perfect for cleaning kitchen surfaces like stove tops, tables, and counters and bathroom sinks. Vinegar on it its own is quite pungent, so mix it with equal parts water to help dilute it.
This is a great cleaner for nearly every surface, except for soft stones, like marble counter tops. (For marble, use a gentler cleaner of dish soap mixed with hot water.)
Mix 1 cup of vinegar with one cup of water, you might also want to add an essential oil with antibacterial & antiseptic properties like grape seed or tea tree oil.
Place it in a spray bottle and you’re all set. The essential oils may set on the top so it’s best to shake the bottle just before you apply your home made eco-friendly cleaner.
You can always finish the cleaning with a small amount of olive oil to make the sink shiny.
To remove smells from stinky drains in your bathroom sink, sprinkle some baking soda down a stinky drain and follow with a couple cups of warm vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then rinse with water.
Commercial toilet cleaners may be handy because of the special bottle design that allows you to get the cleaner right up under the rim of the bowl! But they are made of a very toxic plastic and the toilet cleaner is full of harmful chemical and acids.
You can accomplish the same result by putting straight vinegar in a regular spray bottle with the nozzle set to stream instead of mist. Squirt the vinegar right up under the rim where you need it and then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush as usual and flush.
- Green GOBBLER Drain Opening – works for the kitchen, bathroom, toilet
- EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Grease, hair, toilet paper, soap scum, organic materials, body oils, calcium & lime buildup, rust, flushable baby wipes, toothpaste, shampoo residue, iron buildup & more!
- ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY & BIODEGRADABLE: Safer alternative to toxic and dangerous liquid drain chemicals & safer to store around the home
THE REST OF THE KITCHEN
- Stainless Steel – Add mild detergent to warm water. Use a non-abrasive sponge and wipe surface. Rinse using clean water and polish with a dry, lint-free cloth.
- Refrigerator shelves & bins – Add a cup of baking soda to a bowl of water. Using a sponge, wipe down shelves and bins.
- Baked on Microwave Spills – Heat 1 cup of water for 2 to 5 minutes. The steam should loosen tough baked on soils. To remove tough odors, add a little lemon juice to the cup of water.
- Hard Water Deposits – Lemons and lemon juice can remove these hard water deposits. Make sure to rinse with clean water afterwards.
A spray bottle full of vinegar diluted half-and-half with water is all you need to get your windows clean and shiny. I usually dry with old newspapers.
A big splash of vinegar and a few drops of essential oil thrown into a bucket of warm water is all you need. The vinegar smell will disappear as your floors dry.
Sealed wood can be polished with a soft cloth with a tiny bit of vinegar and olive oil on it. From my Spanish neighbor I learned how to treat my wooden furniture with a mixture of old kitchen oil and vinegar. You need 50% of each, then wipe it as if you were making mayonnaise, than apply it with some cloth.
- 100% plant-derived cleaning agents from soap bark, coconut, and corn
- Cuts through grease and grime
- Effective on toilets, counter tops, appliances, upholstery, baseboards, walls, floors, tables, showers, boats, cars, sporting equipment, toys – whatever!* *Any water-safe surface or upholstery marked “W” or “W/S”
- No alcohol, No petroleum solvents, No dyes, No parabens, NO SLS/SLES
- Cruelty Free and Gentle on the Planet
WE LOVE IT ! WE LOVE BETTERLIFE AND THEIR WHOLE RANGE OF ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING PRODUCTS
Thinking back of all those years flushing chemical products down the drain I feel so guilty. But did we know then any better. Now if & when we want, we can all be informed and buy eco-friendly, chemical-free cleaning products. . Help me saving our planet. Change begins with me & you.
A book I consider a household have to create a better living environment is ‘Green Housekeeping’ by Christina Strutt. You’ll love the reading but the great photography even more.
Her book “Green Housekeeping”is full of advise and information to help you take a more sustainable path. Recycling, reusing and shopping at farmers’ markets are a good start, but cutting down on the use of poisonous chemicals is just as important – it’s perfectly possible to clean a house using nothing more than lemons, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and plain water. Here old-fashioned methods are complemented by newer ideas and innovations, and applied not only to cleaning but also to caring for clothes, furniture, and even silver and glassware. Growing some of your own vegetables, fruit and herbs can be satisfying, and you can use any extras to make jams, oils and chutneys using the handy tips and delicious recipes. Make beauty preparations and bath oils, too, for soothing, effective treatments to enhance everyday health and well being. To become eco-friendly doesn’t require self-sacrifice – just some readjustment; and by following the advise in this invaluable guide you will find yourself living a calmer, greener life.