Everyone wants a clean home, but there shouldn’t have to be a environmental cost to live in comfort. Traditional products used to keep bathrooms and kitchens spotless are effective, but they also feature a litany of chemicals and materials that are harmful to the environment and sometimes even your health.
Today’s green-living enthusiasts are unwilling to put up with such tradeoffs — and nowadays nobody has to. Even mass-market companies are offering eco-friendly products. Combined with smaller niche producers and do-it-yourself options, we now live in a world where environmentalists can stay clean without sacrificing anything. The following list includes some of the best and most trustworthy ways to keep your household spic and span without harming Mother Nature in the process.
One company, method, got out in front of this trend and managed to make a name for itself early on. It has done well to brand itself first and foremost as a cleaning product firm that destroys dirt and germs — with the tagline “People Against Dirty” — while championing its innovative ways of doing the job in an eco-friendly way. And by getting into some big box stores, namely Whole Foods, it has gotten its dish soaps, laundry detergent, floor cleaner and other products in front of consumers.
By beginning to use 100 percent recycled plastic packaging in 2006 — and recovering plastic from the ocean — it further cemented itself as the brand in eco-clean. “We realize that only a small amount of plastic will be taken out of the ocean to make these bottles,” method co-founder Adam Lowry told Whole Foods. “But we can have a big impact if we change people’s minds about their role in protecting our oceans.”
While method dates back to 2000, plenty of other companies are also making waves in this market, and discerning consumers all have their individual favorites. Seventh Generation, which also uses plant-based cleaners, is preferred by many and is often even a bit cheaper. Others swear by, and only use, Dr. Bronner’s for both home and body care. While it made its name in body soap, shampoo and toothpaste, its concentrated Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner has become a big hit.
These are merely a few of the top, trendiest brands of today. Many others can be found in stores across the country, and Amway is one company with a long legacy of supplying homes with cleaning products. They offer an array of environmentally conscious options through their Instagram page.
Although eco-focused companies have devised proprietary plant-based cleaning products, there are historically-proven ways to do the job with items you probably already have around the home. And these chemical-free solutions not only work well, but they are generally a lot cheaper if you’re willing to put in a little time to mix the formula.
Baking soda and vinegar are two of the superstar ingredients in many DIY cleaners — although be careful how you mix them together to avoid a science fair volcano. The reason they are so widely used is that baking soda is an available, safe alkaline, while vinegar is acidic. Depending upon the task, either can work to break down grime, disinfect and destroy grease. Lemon juice, castile soap and various essential oils are also popular and can be used together for different purposes.
An easy and effective all-purpose cleaner for the kitchen can be made by mixing together equal parts water and vinegar and putting it in a convenient-to-use a spray bottle. Dish-washing detergent can be made from equal parts water and liquid castile soap, along with two teaspoons of lemon juice. For hard-to-clean showers and other gunky bathroom tiles, don’t bother with the dilution. Spray pure white vinegar on that mildew and leave it alone to work its magic for about a half hour. Then rub it down with a sponge and watch the wall look like new before rinsing away everything with water. Try these and other simple cleaner recipes to help save money — and the environment.