Green Cleaning: Making Sustainable Choices for a Cleaner Home
In a time when environmental consciousness is on the rise, the quest for a cleaner home has taken on a new shade of green beyond just achieving spotless surfaces and fresh scents.
A lot of people are now looking to clean their homes in a way that reduces waste, minimises environmental impact, and promotes sustainability and social responsibility.
From eco-friendly cleaning products to mindful cleaning practices, the concept of "green cleaning" has emerged as a vital component of responsible housekeeping.
What to Consider When Looking for Green Alternatives
Before going for something labelled as "green", beware that it still may have negatively impacted the planet in unseen ways, such as the way its materials were sourced, when and where it was manufactured, and how it was packaged and distributed.
It's not always enough to only read the ingredient list.
There are a few sustainable certifications that you can look for, such as OEKO-TEX and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).
If you look for these two certifications when buying textile cleaning products (e.g. towels) and natural materials (e.g. organic cotton), that's the most sustainable option. Prioritising sustainable materials and making your things last as long as they can is the greenest choice you can make.
The following are some of our favourite eco-friendly swaps to commonly found cleaning products and items around the household:
Sustainable Brands to Consider for a Greener Home.
They offer sustainable choices and create and curate over 150 sustainable, high-performing brands to meet a four-point standard: compromisingly healthy, effective, ethically produced and cruelty-free.
They offer a variety of green products, from household, personal care and beauty to pets and kids.
They're B Corp certified, which is a classification that a company accommodate high standards of verified performance, liability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.
On their website, you can find Mrs Mayers Hand Soap, Multi-surface Cleaner and Dish Soap, a Walnut Scrubber Sponge and many more cleaning products that will significantly reduce your household's carbon footprint.
Grove Collaborative has all the cleaning essentials you can think of.
Who Gives a Crap
They not only provide high-quality, eco-friendly and recycled toilet paper but also donate 50 per cent of their profits to make an impact in developing countries.
The mission behind the brand is unique because it strives to ensure that its business operates in an ethical, sustainable and socially responsible fashion.
Millions of trees are cut down every year to make toilet paper, which we flush down the toilet, whereas Who Gives a Crap is made of entirely recycled materials.
They're also B Corp certified, which means their impact on workers, community, environment, and customers has been strictly evaluated. Their packaging also has amazing, fun designs.
It's an online store that offers eco-friendly products that are derived, manufactured and shipped in a way that protects our planet. They have a variety of shopping sections that include green cleaning essentials.
They offer a wide variety of reusable and sustainable cleaning products. You can buy a bottle once and refill it later without any plastic waste.
They're perfect for people who don't like DIY cleaning products because they send you the bottles and the refills, which aren't liquid but solid tablets packaged in compostable materials.
So many greenhouse gas emissions come from shipping water all over the world when most of us have water in our homes that we can use and reduce all the shipping. If you're not DIY-ing your cleaning products, this is one of the most sustainable ways you can get them.
It's a great sustainable brand for refillable soap. Whenever your soap is running low, you send them your refill bottle, and they'll return it to you full, reducing your household's plastic waste.
It's another great sustainable and refillable brand for cleaning products. They're free from harmful ingredients and toxic pollution, and their packaging and distribution help keep single-use plastic out of landfills and carbon emissions out of the air.
Other sustainable brands that we recommend are ecoLiving, Fair Squared, ecococonut, neat, Ocean Saver and Bambaw.
Here are a Few Extra Green Cleaning Tips
Compostable toilet brush
A compostable toilet brush is a plastic-free alternative that's biodegradable and made from sustainable materials. A plastic toilet brush can shed its bristles, and they end up in the ocean through the sewers.
However, even if that happens with a compostable toilet brush, if it's biodegradable, it'll cause significantly less harm.
When choosing one, make sure it's not packaged in plastic because it'll defeat the whole purpose of the product. Always choose compostable materials when you can instead of things made of plastic that will stay on the planet forever.
When cleaning, avoid using paper towels and go for reusable cloths that you can wash and use again for the next cleaning.
Think of how the things you don't need came into your home and try to be more conscious and avoid them in the future.
Think about ways that you can re-home some items, such as giving them to someone else who might need them instead of immediately throwing them away. Continuously buying and getting rid of things is one of the major ways we're contributing to the current environmental crisis.
Invest in a dishwasher
A sustainable kitchen isn't made of only glass jars, silicone sponges and beeswax wraps. It's important to implement sustainable practices when washing the dishes. Handwashing may be the fastest method, but it has to be done more frequently.
Believe it or not, dishwashers are a more sustainable option when it comes to washing dishes because they save water and are generally more efficient than hand washing. Energy-efficient dishwashers that qualify for the Energy Star Label also save money for your household.
However, there are also certain rules to ensure that you're using your dishwasher truly sustainably.
Always run it when it's fully loaded and avoid the heat-dry, rinse-hold, and pre-rinse features. They're inefficient and use unnecessary energy. Instead, prop the door open after the final rinse. Air-drying the dishes is cheaper and definitely better for the environment.
Try to source your products locally and find local refillable options. Depending on where you live, you may find a bulk store where you can refill on dish soap, for example, which is still a more sustainable choice than buying from the supermarket where it has been shipped over a long distance, contributing to gas emissions.
Buy a robot vacuum cleaner
When you run it around the room before cleaning, it'll get rid of any major waste and make the cleaning afterwards easier.
The great thing about it is that it doesn't have any bags. You just take out the front and empty it, and there's no waste associated with that. Running the robot vacuum cleaner every night also saves you time on cleaning.
Another great way to save time on cleaning is to opt for a regular domestic cleaner from a well-known company.
Three tips when buying products
First, when buying products, check if they have been B Corp certified.
Secondly, use the products you already have and then start replacing them one by one. There is no need to get rid of everything you have all of a sudden if it's perfectly usable and replace it with something sustainable because it still creates waste in the environment.
And third, buy products in their biggest packages if they're plastic, so they last you as long as possible. This way, you'll avoid throwing away plastic frequently.
Lasting Results for a Better Planet
By opting for sustainable cleaning products and embracing eco-conscious practices, we not only maintain a cleaner living space but also contribute to a healthier planet.
Remember, it's not just about the products you use but also about how you use them and how you approach the lifecycle of your possessions. Small changes can collectively make a significant difference, ensuring a cleaner, greener future for ourselves and generations to come.