Eco-friendly is the big buzzword right now in the cleaning industry and manufacturers of cleaning and maintenance products have caught on to this trend, introducing eco friendly cleaning solutions to their products lines.
The main criticism with eco-friendly cleaning services and producs is that it’s a higher expense for something that has the same outcome as traditional cleaning solutions. Overall, it’s easy to wonder if you’re getting bang for that extra buck.
Now, you will see a lot of terms thrown around such as “green” “eco friendly” and “biodegradable” when looking at cleaning products or services. The truth is that companies will grossly exaggerate their green credentials in order to convince you that their products are non-toxic, non-corrosive and non-carcinogenic.
If this is the case, then how do you tell apart the real from the fabricated?
Well, for a start, the Environmental Protection Agency offers an eco-friendly certification called Design for the Environment – which essentially validates any claims to being eco-friendly.
Another way is to look for “Green Seal” certification which, again, will appear on a product’s packaging and identifies the product as fulfilling eco-friendly standards. That said, such certifications are voluntary, meaning that not all products without these certifications are not eco-friendly.
In our experience, super-slick branding and packaging for products that profess to being eco-friendly often turn out to contain ingredients that are chemical-based as opposed to citrus-based solvents, vinegar, natural abrasives and essential oils.
This is mainly down to its parent company responding to the demand without wanting to invest in new product development. We’d suggest that, when all else fails, look for minimal packaging or cleaners that can be refilled from concentrate to cut down on packaging waste – as they often turn out to be the most effective and genuinely eco friendly cleaning solutions.
Now for cleaning companies a way to certify that their cleaning services are eco-friendly is to ask for their green accreditations and for their environmental cleaning policy.
While it might seem rather arcane to use natural ingredients for cleaning, most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on the same principles of chemistry that allow tea tree oil to remove mould.
Not only are these natural ingredients equally effective as branded products, most can be found in your kitchen cupboards and are entirely non-toxic. Meaning you can clean every inch of your home safe in the knowledge that you’re doing it in an environmentally friendly manner using ingredients that cost - ounce for ounce - about one-tenth of the price of their commercial counterpart. Making and trying your own toxic-free cleaning equipment takes no time at all with these simple directions.
First off, you’re going to need some essential, basic ingredients - which you can mix-and-match to find the best cleaning solution. They are: baking soda, white distilled vinegar, tea tree oil, washing soda and a good liquid soap or detergent. To mix and apply the solutions you’ll want, ideally, 6 clean spray bottles and 2 glass jars handy.
Now you’re ready to get cleaning – green style! Let’s start with the most straightforward but versatile cleaning solution:Multi-purpose cleaner
All you need for this is 1/2 teaspoons of washing soda, a dab of liquid soap and 2 cups hot tap water. Then simply combine the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag. Simples!Window cleaning
For this one, you’ll need to mix 1/4 teaspoons of liquid detergent, 3 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 cups of water, again, into a clean spray bottle. Shake it good and use as you would a regular branded product. The soap in this recipe is important, as it cuts the wax residue from the branded products you might have used in the past.Oven cleaning
The notoriously hard-to-clean feature of every home: the oven can turn into a grimy mess without regular cleaning. To stay on top of this, measure 1 cup (or more) of baking soda, fill a jar of water and prepare have liquid detergent at-the-ready.
Clean by sprinkling water generously over the floor of the oven. Cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is virtually turned white. Then sprinkle some more water on top and let the mixture set overnight. The grime will loosen considerably by the next day, allowing you to wipe away the grease. Once you’ve cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent (or soap) onto a sponge and wash the remaining residue. If this recipe doesn’t work for you, use more baking soda and water next time! Don’t worry, just pile it in.Mould removing
This spray is a proven winner with removing mould and mildew. It works particularly well on mouldy ceilings and mouldy shower curtains. The key ingredient in this mix is tea tree oil, which can be expensive, but a little goes a very long way. All you have to do is combine 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil and 2 cups water in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. And voila, you done.
Now we want to hear from you. Have you got any green cleaning tip that you would to share with us? Please use our comments to share your eco-friendly cleaning tips.