Sustainable Living: Green up your clean up
Columns / November 2, 2016
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that long exposure to chemicals can be hazardous to your health. So why is there an ever-growing list of chemicals present in all your standard household cleaners and other common household items?
Here’s the kicker: when it comes to cleaners, you don’t even need chemicals to get something clean. Sure, chemicals can make the job easier, but easiness might not be worth the high cost, unnecessary waste that will remain in our landfills for hundreds of years to come, and increased exposure to disease and illness.
Vegetable oil—like olive oil—has long been used in the making of soaps, commonly known as castile soap. These should pretty much be your best friend if you’re looking to be a more sustainable in your cleaning.
The great thing about liquid castile soap is it’s often concentrated, meaning you have the freedom to dilute it for whatever your needs may be. Add some essential oils to the mix and you’ve got yourself a delightful disinfectant ready to replace store brand spray cleaners.
You’ve probably already got some baking soda in your kitchen. It’s an effective stain remover on fabrics, carpet, or furniture, and works wonders to deodorize rugs and compost bins.
Another kitchen staple, vinegar, makes for a highly effective bathroom and glass cleaner. Dilute vinegar with water before using and your house won’t smell like vinegar for days on end.
Mix the two together and you’ve got a homemade volcanic eruption and drain cleaner.
Of course the argument in favour of the continual use of harmful chemicals and toxins in store-bought cleaners comes from the fact that it is too small an amount to have any effect on a human being, and it’s just easier to buy a readymade solution than mixing your own.
In reality, it’s not worth the risk, and you most likely already have most of the items to make green products. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but you’ll save money, do your part to save the planet, and reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals.
For more information on how exactly to use these types of ingredients as household cleaners, visit David Suzuki’s Queen of Green blog for measurements and recipes.