I don’t know about you but after an historical snow storm and three kids (plus lots of friends!) home ALL week from school my house is a wreck! We have floors that have had snow and sand dragged over them, dirty beach towels that served as extra door mats for wet boots, hats, gloves, etc.
The laundry room is full of musty snow gear and wet socks just begging to be washed. Of course, we’ve had lots of post snowball battle hot chocolates so the mugs are piled high in the sink. By the way, since when is shoving snow down your sister’s jacket fair in a snowball fight?!
So, it’s safe to say that as soon these kids get back to school this place needs a good cleaning!! And why not make it a green cleaning that’s safe and healthy for my family and the environment?
Why Clean Green?
I actually hadn’t given the cleaning products we used a second thought until very recently. They smelled good and did the job so it didn’t occur to me that they could be harmful to my family and the environment. I also didn’t consider the fact that there are healthier, safer alternatives that are becoming more readily available and reasonably priced.
After doing a a fair amount of reading on the subject. I learned that cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose to my family. Some can cause acute, or immediate hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer. I don’t want to overreact but – yikes!
With regard to the environment, I learned that once cleaning liquids disappear down our drains, they are treated along with sewage and other waste water at municipal treatment plants, then discharged into nearby waterways. Most ingredients in chemical cleaners break down into harmless substances during treatment or soon afterward. Others, however, do not, threatening water quality or fish and other wildlife.
That was enough knowledge for me to make some changes. Here are some of the products I now use and really like.
Not that we don’t always have a lot of laundry but it seems this last week has created a mountain of it! Maybe it’s because snow gear is puffy and big and takes up a lot more space?
To make doing the laundry a little greener for the environment and safer for my family here are a few products that I have used and really like. I do end up using a few different types depending on what’s available at the store I happen to be shopping in.
I have found that both work great on our well-used kids clothing – even on my very active, already smelly 8 year-old son’s clothes!
Being home all week meant lots of home cooked meals, no take-out and no eating out which equals using every dish and cup in the house – and somebody’s got to clean them!
For the dishwasher I like to use:
- Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Pacs, Free & Clear
- Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Pacs, Lemon Scent
For hand washing, I like to use:
- Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid, Lemongrass & Clementine Zest
- Nature’s Promise Free & Clear (sold at Giant and Stop & Shop)
I think every surface in the house has gotten a beating this past week and will definitely need some TLC.
For kitchen counter tops and bathroom vanities I use:
- Sun & Earth All Purpose Cleaner, Light Citrus
- Nature’s Promise Free & Clear All Purpose Cleaner (sold at Giant & Stop & Shop)
For our hardwood floors I use:
More Green Cleaners
I’ll admit, sometimes convenience (and price) wins out over making a 100% safe and healthy choice. However, at the very least, I always try to make an informed decision about what’s best for my family…and the environment.
The Environmental Working Group’s searchable database of cleaners is a great tool to get quick info on products you are currently using or those you are considering buying. When I first started using I was feeling awful about the unhealthy choices I had been making but now I see it as just a way to be more aware of how the small decisions I make daily have an effect on the bigger picture.
Have fun cleaning…there’s sure to be another mess just around the corner!