There’s something about those extra hours of daylight in the spring that make me want to organize and clean the dust out of every nook and cranny in my home. But one of the best things you can do for you and your family is to green up your cleaning routine. Not only will it be better for your health, but it will be better for the Earth too. Here’s a few of our favorite tips to update your spring cleaning with some eco-friendly options. All of the products mentioned in this post can be ordered from online health and wellness shop, iHerb. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for a coupon code to save on your order.
1. With Cleaning Products, More Isn’t Always Better. Buy Concentrated Formulas to Reduce Post Consumer Packaging Waste
If you haven’t noticed, traditional cleaning products require a ton of plastic. While I’m sure many of us try to recycle, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what’s truly being recycled once it leaves our bins. According to a 2020 report by the EPA, of the 267.8 million tons of solid waste produced only 94.2 million tons were recycled or composted, while only 8% of all plastic gets recycled. The rest is sent to landfills or incinerated. And unlike paper which can be recycled up to 7 times before it’s too broken down to be turned into new paper, plastics can only be recycled once or twice.
If your cleaning supplies aren’t in concentrated form, you’re paying for a product made mostly of water, which increased the amount of plastic packing needed to store that product. Globally, even just a small amount can have a huge impact. Concentrated formulas on the other hand can offer powerful cleaning products that are just as effective in smaller amounts. This reduces the amount of plastic and packaging needed.
For example, try a concentrated formula for laundry like the Frankincense and Myrrh one from Madre Labs. It not only smells great, but it’s also formulated without any unhealthy chemicals like phosphates, parabens (preservatives), phthalates, and chlorine that are bad for the environment and our health.
2. Use Reusable Bottles For Your Cleaning Solutions and Dish Soap to Reduce Plastic Use
Having a favorite glass bottle or jar for your cleaning products like dish soap is a great way to reduce the use of plastic. Even sticking with one specific plastic bottle that you can use over and over again can really make an impact on the environment.
So how do you do this without buying more soap? You can start by making your own cleaning products. But if you’re not quite there yet, the simplest option is to buy your cleaning solutions in bulk sizes and concentrated formulas that are meant for refilling to minimize waste.
We love these O So Clean eco-friendly boxes of 3X concentrated dish and laundry soap in eco-friendly pouches from Madre Labs. Just add the concentrated formula to a reusable bottle with 12 ounces of water, shake and you’re good to go. You can buy a single pouch to try it out or a box of 6 to stock up which will save up to six plastic bottles. If you don’t have a reusable bottle to use, you can buy a set to get you started. There! We love that there’s no more bulky plastic dish detergent to deal with or clutter up our counter or cabinet space.
These formulas are also a healthier option that are free of dyes, parabens, and phthalates. They’re also septic safe and 100% cruelty free!
3. Look for Unscented Products to Avoid Phalates
One of the best parts about having a clean home is the wonderful smell left behind by your cleaning products. But according to a 1986 report by the National Academy of Sciences, about 95 percent of what is in synthetic fragrances come from petroleum. They also contain a variety of harmful carcinogenic chemicals including phthalates. Phthalates which are used in the production of plastics have been linked to everything from headaches, dizziness, nausea and allergic reactions to hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer. (1) They can even affect your pets too!
Often labeled as “fragrance” on product labels. Keep a lookout because they can also be listed as DEP, DBP and DEHP. Just to note, all the products recommended here in this post are phthalate-free.
4. Use Essential Oils to Disinfect and Make Your Green Cleaning Smell Amazing
If you still love scented cleaning products ( and I’m 100% with you), there is a healthy and natural way to make your unscented products instantly fresh without harmful chemicals. The key: essential oils. Adding a few drops of essential oils like lemon or eucalyptus to your unscented cleaning products is a healthy and natural way to freshen your home. And besides smelling amazing, many essential oils have antimicrobial properties that can help to disinfect and purify your space.
With endless options available when it comes to choosing your favorite essential oils it can be fun experimenting and creating your own fragrance blends.
Some popular essential oils for cleaning include:
- Tea Tree
When shopping for essential oils look for 100% pure and steam distilled on the bottle. Sometimes essential oils can be diluted with other ingredients like jojoba oil to bring the cost down. This is especially true for rare essential oils like rose and sandalwood which, while they smell incredible, are extremely expensive when pure.
If you’re looking for some great essential oil blends to add to your cleaning routine, we love Happy and Cleanse by Mild by Nature. Perfect for cleaning or diffusing, choose the “Happy” blend if you want something uplifting and love citrus. This one has bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit and lemon oils.
For something minty and refreshing Cleanse is your best bet with a blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, hyssop, and rosemary.
Happy is my personal favorite but they’re both great to have when you want to mix up your cleaning routine.
5. Use Wool Dryer Balls or Compostable Dryer Sheets
The absolute greenest way to dry your clothes if you’re not line drying, is by using wool dryer balls. Wool dryer balls are fiber balls made of felted wool that work to reduce dryer static and shorten drying time which can save energy and shave money off your electric bill. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to each ball to give your clothes a fresh clean smell.
But if you feel like you’re not ready to make the switch just yet, be aware that many dryer sheets in the grocery store are not only drenched in unhealthy fragrances that at the very least can irritate and trigger allergies, but most are also not compostable.
Here’s a solution. If you’re looking for a healthier compostable dryer sheet, try the unscented ones from Mild by Nature. Made without artificial dyes that can harm our ocean life and formulated to be compostable, these dryer sheets are a better choice when you’re aiming to be more environmentally friendly. Plus they’re cruelty free!
We prefer the unscented but if you just can’t do without they do have a geranium scented option made with geranium oil.
6. Greenify Your Dishwashing Detergent Pods
It’s no surprise that the dishwashing detergent inside those cute and convenient pods are not too environmentally friendly. While the outside film that creates the pod is usually non-toxic, the traditional detergents inside are often filled with artificial dyes and chemicals called phosphates. Found in laundry products as well, phosphates work to soften water and keep dirt suspended so the grime doesn’t settle back on your dishes or your clothes.
While this sounds harmless, phosphates have been linked with boosting the occurrence of toxic algae blooms in our lakes and rivers in the summer. These algae blooms release toxins and suck up all the oxygen in the water killing aquatic life. They can also poison people and animals nearby.
There’s no doubt pods are extremely convenient to use. Formulated without phosphates , dyes, and mess-free, the Dish Detergent Pods from Mild by Nature are a more eco-friendly and cruelty-free option that will get your dishes clean.