We would like to believe that the home is the safest place, but there could be hidden dangers in the most unexpected places.
Despite some claims that store-bought household cleaners actually contain safe amounts of chemicals, skin irritation or allergies are not to be ruled out when there is constant exposure. Children and pets are most likely to be affected since they are more susceptible, but grown-ups who are highly sensitive could suffer from the same symptoms, as well.
So, is this is the main reason why more and more families are eager to try green cleaning alternatives? Yes, but there are many more benefits, which contribute to leading a better life.
Embracing a green cleaning strategy gives you:
- The opportunity to breathe safer air at home, free from toxic chemical fumes which are normally released during a cleaning;
- Reduced chance of developing allergies, skin irritations or other conditions, as survey statistics from 2014-15 indicate that 11 % of the Australians already struggle with the unpleasant effects of asthma;
- No worries about your pets? safety, which could also be negatively affected by strong disinfectants, mainly due to their heightened ability to sense smells;
- A chance to help the environment by reducing toxic waste;
- The opportunity to be frugal by saving on cleaning supplies while preparing your own using simple household products;
- The motivation to be more eco-friendly in other aspects of your life, like limiting the amount of general waste you produce weekly, growing your own veggies, etc.
Breaking the old habits and embracing the new
Changing your way of life can be more challenging than expected, but the good news is that it doesn?t have to happen overnight.
While the initial excitement of the idea may not prove consistent, keeping your motivation high and running (or just running!) is enough to bring you the desired change. Most people?s demanding schedules leave little time for cleaning, and preparing the products still requires some dedication. When you also add how convenient store-bought products are, just waiting to be picked and applied, it?s easy to feel tempted to simply choose the most convenient option.
However, the hardest part is always the beginning, and getting better depends all on you. It takes time to get used and improve a new routine, but persistence is more important for success here, and that is where you should put your efforts.
Tricks to ease the transition into green cleaning:
- Invest in more planning:?You probably already have a weekly cleaning schedule or a daily to-do list but if you don?t, now it may be a good time to create one. In any case, dividing your time properly is essential. If you are strictly following schedules and don?t like getting off track, making your own cleaning products may slow you down a bit. It still depends on the recipe, but make sure to keep this in mind and adjust your plans accordingly.
- Start by replacing one commercial product every two weeks:?Not everyone is comfortable with change, let alone getting used to a whole new way of maintaining the house clean. So, if you need some time to adjust, you can test this idea.
- Print and display simple and easy recipes for all-purpose homemade cleaners:?Preparing your own solutions and blends is actually quite easy, however, this doesn?t mean there aren?t things to look out for.
Using the right amount of each ingredient is the challenge here, so, at least in the beginning, it may take a while to remember every detail and you may need assistance. So start with simple recipes and arrange them on the fridge, for instance, or you could get a special board just for those. Seeing them daily will help you memorise them before you know it.
- Pay more attention to labels:?Labels exist for a reason, but we often dismiss them as part of the fancy package. They contain sufficient information about the product to help us decide whether it is actually suitable for us. You don?t have to be a cleaning specialist and know about every ingredient listed there, but it is still good to know some of the main ones it?s best to avoid. Chlorine or Sodium Hydroxide, are good examples, as they could negatively affect the skin, eyes and respiratory system.
- Get everyone involved:?You want what?s best for your family, but creating a safe and healthy home environment requires mutual effort. So, when it comes to implementing a green cleaning strategy, everyone should have at least a small input. This is actually something that can bring you closer, as you make the products together, take turns researching or even creating your own cleaning solutions.
- Research where to buy real eco-friendly products:?It?s not necessary to rely solely on homemade mixtures for efficiently cleaning your home. The market offers more and more green/bio solutions that come at affordable prices. Be extra careful, though, because not everything labelled ?natural? or ?green? is actually safe. ?Greenwashing?is a well-known term that best describes the practice of advertising something as environmentally-friendly, when in fact it is not.
That?s why it?s preferable to learn as much as possible about a brand and the products you are planning to use before investing in a purchase. Other buyers? opinions are always the best source of information, along with those of experts in the field and people interested in the eco-friendly way of life.
Marieta Ivanova is currently part of the marketing team of Fantastic Cleaners in Brisbane, a company specialising in residential cleaning in the area. As a green living enthusiast she loves writing about the eco-friendly lifestyle, but is also interested in providing useful tips and ideas on home organisation and improvement.