Going Green: Tips for a Chemical Free Cleaning Routine

Remember when I resolved to blog more regularly, promising no more long hiatuses?  crickets chirping… Yeah, me too.  Yet here I am, three months later, crawling out of my cave like a bear after a long winter.

There is something so refreshing about the spring.  After a long, cold winter in WNY, it makes my heart happy to see buds on the trees and smell the sweet grass.  Spring is a season of change, and brings with it new growth and opportunities.  One of my favorite spring pastimes is overhauling my home.  I love how clean and tidy my home feels after a thorough cleaning.

This year my family has been working hard to go green – finding more natural, environmentally friendly alternatives to the products we use and love.  We’ve switched out our personal care products, started eating more organic and ethical foods, and eliminated most chemicals from our home.  Although it sounds daunting, the whole process has been surprisingly easy!  One of the easiest areas to “clean up” has been my cleaning routine.  Today I’m going to be sharing five simple tips and switches you can make if you, too, are looking to go green this year.

Let’s jump right in!

1. Ditch the Dryer Sheets

Static stinks.  I totally get that.  In fact, there is nothing more annoying than a skirt that clings to your panty hose or a sweater that crackles and pops.  Dryer sheets are little miracle workers that keep static at bay and leave your laundry with a clean, fresh scent.  It’s a win-win, right?  Wrong.

Dryer sheets may be convenient, but they are also loaded with dangerous toxins.  Alpha terpineol, benzyl acetate, chloroform, ethanol, and pentane are just a few of the nasties hiding in your dryer sheets and fabric softener.  These agents have been linked with headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, pancreatic cancer, central nervous system disorders, and loss of muscular control.

As if the above list wasn’t bad enough, dryer sheets also contain chemical fragrances that can be irritating to individuals with eczema/sensitive skin, and asthma or other respiratory conditions.

What if I told you that it was possible to remove static and protect your health?  It totally is!  Enter wool dryer balls.  Not only do wool dryer balls leave your clothes feeling soft and static-free, they also significantly cut down on your drying time (15-20 minutes on average!).  Most wool dryer balls can be reused for 1,000+ loads, saving you hundreds of dollars on dryer sheets over time.

2. Use Vinegar for Spot-Free Windows and Mirrors

The next product in my green cleaning routine is super inexpensive and a pantry staple in most homes.  What is this miracle product?  None other than vinegar!

White vinegar makes an excellent window cleaner.  Simply fill an empty spray bottle with 50% vinegar and 50% water.  Spray, wipe, and marvel at the spot-free shine.  Don’t have any paper towels on hand?  No worries!  Old newspapers and clean coffee filters are great for wiping down glass surfaces. You’re welcome.

Vinegar is also great for cleaning tubs/showers, and can be used to wash fresh produce before consuming.  Combined with baking soda and boiling water, it does a great job at breaking up clogs and cleaning out your plumbing.

3. Invest in a Dust Mop

With two big dogs, I am constantly sweeping up pet hair.  Keeping my floors clean in the spring is especially challenging as they are shedding their winter coats.  At one point I was using three Swiffers a day just to keep the fur at bay.  Those babies aren’t cheap!

A few months ago my mom surprised me with a microfiber dust mop.  She picked it up for just a few dollars at our local Big Lots, but you can find a similar one on Amazon here.  Removable and machine washable, my dust mop saves me time and money.

Don’t want to purchase a new mop?  Simply pull a fuzzy sock over the head of your Swiffer!  Dust and dirt are attracted to the fabric, and it is a great way to repurpose socks that don’t have a mate.

4. Thieves Cleaning Concentrate

This next product has been truly game changing for me.  Before a friend introduced me to Thieves I used a myriad of chemical products to clean my home.  I used a bleach spray to clean my tub, toilet, counters and sink, limescale remover in the shower, and mopping
solution to clean my floors.

Thieves has eliminated the need for multiple cleaning products, and it is a natural blend of essential oils that I feel safe using around my family.  No more coughing and choking on chemical fumes.

5. Reduce Paper Towel Waste

Transitioning to a greener lifestyle has brought my attention to the ridiculous amount of paper waste my family creates.  One way we have reduced paper waste is by enrolling in paper-free banking and bill pay.  Another thing we have done is swap paper towels for microfiber cleaning cloths.

Microfiber cloths are great for wiping down surfaces and cleaning up everyday messes.  Inexpensive and machine washable, they also work for mopping up floors in lieu of pricey Swiffer Wet pads.  We have significantly lessened our paper waste by making this one small change.

There you have it.  Five simple tips for a “green” cleaning routine.  This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a great way to start transitioning to a more natural lifestyle.

Let me know what products you are looking to switch out in the comments below.  Have a cleaning tip I didn’t mention?  I’d love to hear it!

Wishing you a fabulous Tuesday.

XO Kate

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