Surprising Swaps For A Greener Home

This post originally ran on July 9th, 2014 – but we just had to share again in honor of #FPEarthMonth!

We often talk about the importance of chemical-free cleaning here on the BLDG 25 Blog, and often the solution is something homemade. While I’m a big supporter myself, one has to admit that it’s not for everyone. Some people want to go to the store and pick up a product that they can use and feel good about without making something. Even though you may choose the bottle that says, “natural,” or, “organic,” you’re not always buying the best product for your health and the environment’s well-being. But how can we know? What perfect being has the time to do and understand all the research to figure it out? Enter the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Here, someone else has done the dirty work for you, and extensively researched over 2,000 home cleaning products to assign scores (A, B, C, D, F) based on toxicity to one’s health and the environment. It’s the most comprehensive guide I’ve come across in my day, and one that is very thorough. Brands that disclose less information receive a lower score, and every single ingredient is studied with a fine tooth comb. There wasn’t a product I use that I couldn’t find. Read on for surprising swaps (according to the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning) that you should make to keep your home low on chemical toxins. make home greener LAUNDRY Me, being a green-minded individual, thought that most of my home cleaning products would rank well according to the guide. First up, I checked out my Mrs. Meyers Clean Dry Lavender Laundry Detergent. The score? F…I was shocked! Here, I thought I was making great pick, but apparently there are high concerns about its developmental and reproductive toxicity as well as moderate concern over its environmental toxicity. Turns out, Seventh Generation Natural Powder Laundry Detergent would be a better pick next time. Who knew? make home greener DISH WASHING So now we’re thinking that Seventh Generation is the brand to get, right? Well, the next time I picked up some dish soap, I opted for Seventh Generation’s Natural Dish Liquid in Lavender Floral & Mint. When I looked it up on the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning, this stuff scored a C. That won’t cut it for my straight A personality, so next time I hit the store, Better Life DISH IT OUT Natural Dish Liquid in Clary Sage & Citrus it is. make home greener SURFACE CLEANING Now, surface cleaning is one where I tend to make my own sprays, but I know a lot of people don’t have time for that. I want to make sure everyone has some good options in mind the next time they head to the store. Surprisingly, zero products have scored an A in the “countertop cleaning” category. In that case, we’ll go with B-rated, Earth Friendly Products Countertop Cleaner. make home greener CARPET CLEANING If you have a pet, you’ll feel me on this one. It’s really hard to make your own product to clean up after vomit or an accident on the rug. We need something that will do the job, but we also can’t sacrifice our home and the planet’s well-being. Next time you need to clean up the carpet, opt for Earth Friendly Products Concentrated Carpet Shampoo or Simple Green Naturals Carpet Care.

There you have it. I hope everyone is just a little mind blown, and intrigued to check this guide out.

+ I’m interested to hear, what swaps will you make according to the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning?

Check out Naomi’s blog Numie Abbot.

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9 years ago

There is also a beauty version of the cleaning website that works like a charm (:

9 years ago

Wow this is great! The site is also so easy to use, and those products aren’t even expensive compared to store brands.

Hypnotica Vintage
9 years ago

Vinegar, baking soda, lots of rags and some essential oil. Done.

9 years ago

try to avoid washing all of your dishes by hand, although it may seem more environmentally sound it actually uses more water than running a load in the dishwasher. i took a sustainable societies class two semesters ago and believe it or not hand washing dishes wastes a lot more water!

9 years ago

Good to know, for those times I don’t have the ingredients for my homemade stuff around the house! My personal favorite countertop/all purpose cleaner is 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water, 1/2 part rubbing alcohol, and some essential oil (or just chuck a whole sprig of rosemary and a lemon rind in there, to marinate). Good streak-free glass cleaner, too!

<3 dani

9 years ago

I started washing my laundry with soap nuts, and I love it! Vinegar soaked with lemon rinds is my surface cleaner of choice!

9 years ago

Here are a couple of really good carpet cleaning tips. If you spill red wine on your carpet, use a cheap white wine to dilute out the dark stain. You will waste a little white wine, but the stain will come right out with simple blotting.

Also if you get a little spot of blood on the carpet, the saliva of the person that th blood comes from will dissolve into and help lift out the stain

We have a free carpet cleaning tips and tricks PDF on our site for anyone who might want it.

I am a big fan of environmentally friendly cleaning myself as well. If you cannot find ecologicaly sound domestic cleaners over the counter or you are not trustful towards professional cleaning service, you can always do the job yourselves with some cleaning mixtures of your own. Why not mix equal amounts of baking soda and water – this paste can do wonders with your oven, washing machine and practically any kitchen appliance. Don’t forget about vinegar as well – it is a powerful bacteria slayer, especially for those, that reside on the cutting board.

9 years ago

I’m a big fan of green cleaning, but I didn’t know that there are environment friendly products for the carpets! Thank you so much for sharing this information!

9 years ago

This is a great post. My mother and I used vinegar for cleaning when I was young because we couldn’t afford fancy cleaning products. It worked just as well. In fact, we used apple cider vinegar instead of hair conditioner. Now that I have a baby, I am looking for more ways to save money and be better to the planet. Thank you for you blog.

9 years ago

Some useful information for those of us who are challenged by the job of cleaning our homes without using chemicals!

9 years ago

Great post! I do use vinegar, although looking through your list I have learnt a few new ways in which to do so. I mainly use white vinegar for rinsing the dishwasher and washer, cleaning the bathroom and shower.

8 years ago

i am so glad you decided to post about the topic of greeeeeen cleaning!!! i have been hoping you all would. the thoughts and opinions of the free people contributors/community are words that i hold dear and trust! this one post ended a long list of battles i have been having with myself and my home! thank ya thank ya naomi!

8 years ago

Wonderful ideas! I don’t like using chemicals around the house because they just don’t smell good. The fresher, the better! These look like great products!

8 years ago

Fantastic post! We count really much on the green cleaning solutions when it comes to house cleaning! We use various green products and we are always looking for new products that can improve our service! Thank you for sharing all these links with Earth Friendly cleaning products! I would love to give them a try! Best Regards, Cleaners Up Ltd.