This week’s blog was written by WCO intern, Emily Bilcik.
When it comes to saving a buck at the grocery store, I give it my all. I tailor my recipes to the weekly sale paper items and shop for all my household needs with coupons and other special savings. I feel like a pro when I glance toward the bottom of my receipt and read my hefty savings balance for the day, “Your total savings in coupons and sales = $36!” As I proudly put my discounted laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, and all-purpose cleaner away under the sink, I can’t help but notice how crowded my cabinet has gotten with various household cleaning products. I wonder how much money I’ve spent on the lot and consider how harmful these products might be to my health and the water supply once I rinse them down a drain. After contemplating the many disadvantages of buying typically expensive and harsh chemicals, I begin my search online for a natural, cost efficient, and ecofriendly house cleaning regimen.
Cheap, Safe, Simple: This Is How We Do It
Browsing the internet for just two minutes provided me with everything I needed: hundreds of how-to tutorials on concocting homemade cleaning products! Little did I know, a combination of just a few common household products can tackle almost any cleaning task at the fraction of the cost of name brand cleaning products. Most homemade cleaning products contain the same key ingredients which most people have in stock at home: white vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, dish soap, lemons, salt, and essential oils. Each of these goods are gentle and have disinfecting, whitening, stain removing, or deodorizing properties which make them great for cleaning any mess. Whipping up a batch of all-purpose cleaner can be as simple as mixing together 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 2 tbsp. lemon juice! These ingredients are perfect for making inexpensive, ecofriendly glass cleaners, stain removers, disinfectant sprays, carpet deodorizers, and so much more. The best things about making natural cleaning products is that they are harmless to use and can safely be rinsed down the sink, tub, or toilet unlike the chemically harsh products you purchase at the store.
Most cleaning products you’ll find at the market contain chlorine bleach, ammonia, or other severe chemicals and are adorned in labels asserting one or more of these alarming messages: “DANGER, WARNING, CAUTION, FUMES, CAUSTIC, or IRRITANT.” Why on earth do I put these hazardous products in my shopping cart month after month even though I know I’ll need to hold my breath and protect my skin from potential chemical damage when I use them? If the chemicals are harmful to me and you, then obviously they’ll be harmful to the environment when we wash them down our drains! These chemicals are extremely difficult to remove from the water supply and have adverse effects on life despite their disinfecting properties. Do your part to protect our health and our clean water by skipping the cleaning product aisle at the grocery store. Homemade cleaning products mitigate harmful health effects while also saving you money!
Things To Keep In Mind
Green and thrifty cleaning product recipes are available all over the internet. Take advantage of Lily Anne Phibian’s ECOnomics for Household Cleaning board on Pinterest and find over 80 cost effective and safe cleaning solutions for your home. As you read about the endless opportunities homemade cleaning products provide, keep these four important things in mind:
- Several recipes for green cleaning call for essential oils as ingredients to provide pleasant scents to your products. Avoid adding essential oils to the types of products you rinse down drains after application. Some essential oils solidify when exposed to low temperatures and will therefore cause a FOG CLOG in the pipes when it gets cold out! Instead of mixing in essential oils, infuse your cleaning products with rosemary sprigs or lemons.
- Lots of ecofriendly cleaning tips make use of citrus peels as a natural deodorizer. Citrus works wonders in freshening up a stinky situation, but you should never send citrus peels down the drain (not even to freshen the garbage disposal). The peels will cause problems at your local water reclamation facility if they don’t get caught up in a sewer FOG CLOG first. Click here to find out the only things that should ever go down a drain in your home!
- If you truly want to be ecofriendly and cost efficient in your home cleaning efforts, only follow cleaning product recipes that call for gentle household ingredients. You may come across blog posts suggesting the use of bleach or ammonia in addition to mild ingredients, but play it smart and choose a different recipe to follow instead. There are plenty out there.
- If you want to dispose of your old cleaning products to make room for the new and improved, read these handy tips. Never throw hazardous cleaners in the landfill and never pour them down the drain, toilet, or in the gutters.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow Lily Anne Phibian on Pinterest to find her simple, ecofriendly, and cost effective recipes for green cleaning products!