THIS NOT THAT: Cleaning Edition

Have you been waiting anxiously for our next installment? This one is super important – we’re covering cleaning products! Some of the most harmful chemicals in your house come from these products, so we’re excited to give you some natural and effective alternatives. Read on to find out how you can green-ify your cleaning!

Lemon/Vinegar vs. Bleach Cleaners

Many people reach straight for bleach to kill mold or for other heavy-duty cleaning. But practically EVERY stage of bleach production releases harmful chemicals into the air, including dioxin (known to cause cancer) and mercury (brain-damaging). Bleach can also be extremely risky to have in the house, since mixing it with acidic cleaners can release chlorine gas – which is toxic! If you want to eliminate bleach from your cleaning arsenal, try adding vinegar or lemon juice/oil. Both are acidic, and are wonderful natural cleaning alternatives. Many mix vinegar with table salt or hydrogen peroxide, and both mixtures have been shown to inhibit the growth of E. coli. Lemons work as high-powered antimicrobial cleansers, and the acidity helps to safely break through grime and stains. Check out this infographic for ideas to help integrate vinegar or lemon into your cleaning routine!

Essential Oils vs. Febreze

For a product that’s meant to be sprayed into the air, Febreze sure has a lot of chemicals you DEFINITELY don’t want to inhale! An EWG analysis showed many ingredients that can cause long-lasting harm to you and your family. You also want to avoid artificial air fresheners if you have anyone in your household (human or animal) with allergy problems. Febreze can cause major irritation in the nose, lungs, and eyes which would only intensify allergic symptoms.
The good news is that there are tons of alternatives to using air fresheners like Febreze. Essential oil diffusers are a great choice, or you can also check out different recipes for DIY natural air fresheners (like this one). Our favorite oils for diffusing in a room are a mix of lavender, rosemary, and lemon – a perfect fresh and clean scent for any room! And if you want to eliminate icky odors, try a blend of lemon, melaleuca, cilantro, and lime oils. You won’t miss the Febreze after you get a whiff of that!

Soap Nuts vs. Traditional Detergent

You probably already know that your skin is the LARGEST organ in your body, and it absorbs everything (good or bad!) that you use on it! So why do we wash our clothes in laundry detergent that contains endocrine disruptors, estrogen mimics, carcinogens, phosphates, dyes, synthetic perfumes, and bleach? Since they are in contact with our skin constantly, we need to make sure that we stay safe and keep our laundry products natural.
You might not have heard of soap nuts, but these little superheroes can really get the job done! They are the fruit of the soapberry tree, and are not only all natural – they’re WAY cheaper than traditional detergent. Using them in laundry is simple: check out this guide. If the idea of using nuts for your laundry weirds you out, you could also make your own laundry detergent like this one!

Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets

We’ve already covered how toxic chemicals in your clothes can be absorbed into the skin, so it makes sense that we should replace our dryer sheets as well! A list of these chemicals present in dryer sheets can be found here. There are so many products that can be used in lieu of traditional dryer sheets, but one of our favorites to recommend are wool dryer balls.
Wool dryer balls have SO many benefits when it comes to efficiency and eco-friendliness. First of all, they save you electricity AND time by helping your clothes dry quicker. As wool dryer balls bounce around in the dryer, they absorb moisture and separate all of your clothes. Combine that with their natural composition, and the fact that you can DIY them, and you’ve got a win-win-win!

Microfiber Cloths vs. Dusting Sprays

You know the drill by now – typical cleaning products (like dusting sprays) are filled with chemicals that you DON’T want in your house, or your lungs! Many people use products like Pledge to keep surfaces in their homes clean, but we’ve got an alternative that just takes – wait for it – WATER. In combination with a microfiber cloth, of course!
If you’ve never seen or felt microfiber before, here’s the basic idea: microscopic fibers in the cloth pick up and trap dust, dirt, and bacteria at a much higher rate than regular rags or paper towels. Since the fibers are so small, you can use water on a microfiber towel to mop up dust or dirt, and it sticks right to the cloth. Instead of water, you could combine this tip with #1 and use a little lemon juice or vinegar to boost your cleaning! Find a more in-depth guide to cleaning with microfibers here.

Well, now you have it! Making these changes in your cleaning routine will save you time and money, and will also keep harmful chemicals away from you and your family! Leave a comment below if you have more tips for cleaning substitutions!

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