Green cleaning products. When I first heard the phrase, it sounded like an oxymoron to me. In my germaphobic mind, cleaning products just had to be filled with chemicals -- with names I couldn't pronounce -- to work. Take out the scary chemicals, leave behind the bacteria. Right?
Actually, no. It turns out that's not the case. According to WebMD, "These [chemical-filled] products don't work any better than their natural or non-toxic counterparts, and they damage the environment and potentially place our long-term health at risk."
I had my "aha!" moment when I was cleaning off my son's high-chair tray with a harsh chemical cleaner. He put his little hand into the spray, then touched his face. Sure, I should have done that after I took him out of the chair, but the fact is that even if he weren't there when I cleaned it, the residue would remain later. I'd pour his Cheerios all over the same tray and he'd pluck them up and pop them in his mouth. Cereal with a side of ammonia? Yikes.
The idea of going from using ammonia-containing glass cleaners to wash my windows and bleach to disinfect my toilets to homemade mixtures containing vinegar was a little too much, though. So my first step was trading out a few everyday products -- like the ones I used to clean my son's high chair -- for green cleaning products made by a mainstream brand.
Wandering the aisles one day, I saw Clorox Green Works and thought, "Those are from the company that makes my beloved bleach! They can't be all bad." So I gave up a few of the cleaning products I'd used for years and integrated in a handful of green ones.
Truth be told, I didn't love the smell of the green cleaning products I'd bought. Still, I realized that they worked just as well so I stuck with them. At some point, I was ready to take the plunge. I wanted to trade out everything I used to clean for green products -- and I wanted more options. I asked around and found that Method and Seventh Generation were favorites among my friends.
I chose Method and fell in love. OK, that's a little dramatic -- although I've always been somewhat, ahem, obsessive about cleanliness, so maybe it's not that much of an overstatement for me. My entire cleaning tub is now filled with Method products. And as it turns out, they work wonderfully. They also smell good -- clean without the suffocating chemical "aroma" that I was used to for so many years.
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While I'll never give up my beloved (again with the drama) Method cleaning products, I have began mixing some of my own homemade solutions from simple ingredients like vinegar, water, baking soda, essential oils, water and more. Just don't go crazy and mix all of those together at once. We'll talk more about making your own products later.
If you just can't wait, get tips on making your own green cleaning products>>
For now, if you're just getting started on your green journey, take a few baby steps and trade out one or two traditional cleaners for green cleaners. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
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