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4 Easy Swaps to Go Green on your Spring Cleaning

Change is as good as a holiday as the saying goes, and while the benefits of a change of scenery is no secret, a clean home can be just as effective. But as we contemplate the spring clean, it’s worth considering the products that we use to rid our homes of all dirt and grime and the effect they have not only on our own health but that of the environment as well. Charity starts at home and so too does saving the planet! Let’s take some time to explore the substances that make up some cleaning products and what mother nature herself provides at our disposal for safer & healthier alternatives:-

  1. Phthalates, : can be found in many fragranced household products such as dish soap or air fresheners. When exposed to an individual, it can potentially cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system

Solution        :     Lessen your usage of fragranced products as far as possible.  Where this is unavoidable, making your own healthy homemade remedy may be just the answer! An air freshener can be made using a small container or jar with pin sized holes on the top. Fill the container halfway with baking powder and then add 3 drops of your favourite essential oil (lemon, lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary). Top up as needed.

Another great solution is adding more plants to your home that will help combat your exposure to harmful air-born toxins. They’re natural air detoxifiers and will make the place look like Spring!  

  1. 2-Butoxyethanol is found in window, kitchen and some multipurpose cleaners. In addition to causing sore throats when inhaled, high levels of the substance can also contribute to severe liver and kidney damage.

Solution                   :    Clean your mirrors, windows and surfaces with newspaper and diluted white vinegar. You can also visit your local home store for simple cleaning compounds that are made from natural ingredients like baking or bicarbonate of soda, without the added bleach or phthalates found in most commercial cleaners. Further alternatives to chemical disinfectants include tea-tree oil. Mix a few drops and a tablespoon of white vinegar with distilled water in a spray bottle for a safe, germ killing, all-purpose cleaner. Add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil for a refreshing scent.

  1. Ammonia -               found in polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and metallic fittings, ammonia is almost always inhaled when used for cleaning and can be harmful to the lungs.

Solution      :   Rubbing alcohol or that cheap Vodka left at the back of your liquor cupboard are great alternatives. When used to buff fittings and taps, they produce as reflective a shine as any ammonia-based products on any metal or mirrored surface. Furthermore, Toothpaste makes an outstanding silver polish!

  1. Sodium Hydroxide -    found in oven cleaners and drain openers. If this toxic chemical comes into contact with the skin or eyes, it can cause irritation and burns.

Solution                         :       Mix a paste of baking-soda and water. It requires a little more elbow grease but it will get the job done. For an added fresh scent, mix lemon with the paste to freshen up stale odors. To assist with unclogging a drain, make use of a plumbers snake and if unsuccessful, pour a cup of baking soda and thereafter a cup of white vinegar down the drain and plug it for 30 minutes. Run hot water down the drain to clear any debris which may have loosened and attempt to use the snake again to completely free the blockage. Repeat as necessary.

As the world moves actively towards better sustainability and greater concern for individual and environmental health, it is important to beware of “Greenwashing.” If a product claims to be green, natural or biodegradable, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s non-toxic. Source trusted alternatives that are upfront with the ingredients they use and look for specifics such as a time reference for products which claim to be biodegradable or the exact process of biodegradation.


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