It can seem hard to be green when you live in an apartment in a big city. Particularly if you live modestly and don't drive a car everyday, you can come to feel that your environmental footprint is pretty small. But there a many little things that make a difference, and I've come to think of being green as more of a lifestyle shift than a simple purchasing shift.
Below is our green cleaning lineup along with those sent in by readers...One small change we've made over the years is to replace all of our cleaning supplies (liquids and powders) with natural and non-toxic products. These things get used daily , going down the drain A LOT, and it's been a really easy shift.
Here's a list of what we use, plus a good roundup of recommended posts from our sites. What's your lineup? Add it in the comments below....
Green Cleaning Roundups:
Green Cleaning How To's:
Green Cleaning Proucts: (Pic via The Day After An Inconvenient Truth)
FROM READERS in the last few days (via email):
- dishes: seventh generation lavender & mint
- dishwasher: seventh generation, method smarty dish
- laundry: seventh generation water blossom - LOVE this scent (can you tell how much we love seventh generation!?)
- glass cleaner: method wipes
- general cleaner: mrs. meyers
- toilet: green works
- bath & tile: method
- pet stains/odors: mrs. meyers, nature's miracle
- hand soap: goodnest lavender basil
- Dishes: Mrs. Meyers Clean Day in basil or Williams-Sonoma in French lavender (made by Caldrea!)
- Laundry: ecover
- Dishwasher: Mrs. Meyers
- Glass: homemade using vinegar, water and some Dr. Bronners castille soap
- General: Mrs. Meyers
- Toilet: Borax
- Bath and tile: Borax and water or baking soda and castille soap
- Whitening: super hot water and super washing soda or vinegar and borax
- General: Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds
- Floors: Caldrea's Basil Blue Sage Cleaner (http://www.caldrea.com/)
- Windows: Mrs. Meyers' Honeysuckle Window Cleaner - a special edition scent but my favorite for this time of year. I bought it in droves.
- Dishes - earth friendly products www.ecos.com : ultra dishmate - natural almond
- Laundry - trader joe's : next to godliness - lavender
- Dishwasher - n/a
- Glass - trader joe's : next to godliness - green spray ( not the official name )
- General Cleaner - we like the "green spray" but also use earth friendly products : parsley plus surface cleaner (there's something about it .. i can't stop using it)
- Toilet - baking soda, salt & vinegar .. peroxide in a spray bottle for quickie wipes
- Bath & Tile Scrubbing - bon ami
- Whitening - oxo
- Laundry – Borateem
- Glass – Enjo blue fibers
- General Cleaner - Enjo green cloth
- Bath & Tile Scrubbing - Enjo white cloth
- Whitening - Borateem
"I don’t sell the Enjo products, and in fact they’re not available in the US right now, but when they were I bought the entire lineup, and these products are amazing! They are microfiber mitts or cloths, which have different colors for different uses. They were sold through home sales and are widely available in Australia. Very green because you only use WATER to dampen the cloth and a tea towel to dry it off. Then throw the cloths into the washer with your other laundry. No chemicals at all. They last for two to three years. What could be greener?"
- Laundry: currently using Trader Joes Laundry Liquid. I was more in love with Ecover liquid laundry soap. I want to try Ecos with Oxo brite.
- All Purpose Spray: Seventh Generation - amazing stuff. gets rid of fabric grease stains and 'sample' stamps. I get the scented one, but it started smelling like the unscented one (aka, dirt). So I added some rosemary/lavender oil to it...
- Window/Glass: Earth Friendly Products Lavender Window Cleaner. I was in love with this when I first got it - but I think it was just the smell. I notice my glass and mirror's look a little streaky after using it...
- Dishwasher: Bioclean Automatic Dish powder is really good! (Seventh Generation was awful, and Ecover was ok)
BAKING SODA RAVES:
"Baking soda cleans everything from sinks to teeth! And at 69 cents a pop, it's also a bargain. Plus, I feel good about the cardboard box it comes in.
"I use baking soda to clean the stove top. Sprinkle generously then use the scrubby side of a wet sponge. If it's a big job you can make a paste with baking soda and water, let it sit on the stove and scrub off later. It makes our stove look brand new even after Thanksgiving dinner!"
"I have found a great way to clean all naturally with lemon juice and water (and salt):
I squeeze a full lemon into a bowl of water. Put it in the microwave for about a minute.
(That is also a great way to clean out the microwave) It deodorizes and cleans. If you put lemon juice and rock salt together it is a great way to clean brass and copper. Pour straight rock salt on whatever needs to be cleaned. Cut a lemon in half and scrub. Then rinse with tap water.
I have found it works better than anything else."
"'I'm absolutely in love with METHOD. I love their bath/tub cleaner of Mint/Eucalyptus. Their lavender laundry, dishwasher, dishes liquid is great and their Cucumber is also fantastic. I love their hardwood cleaner & granite/marble cleaners."
"I have come to know a magnificent cleaner. It is called Thieves-essential oil blend household cleaner. It is sold by Young Living a company that mostly deals with essential oils. It is made from 100% essential oils which smell pretty fresh. You dilute it for all different needs. I love that I only have to buy one bottle of cleaner! Eventually my cleaning cabinet will be clearer as I use up all the other cleaners that I used. Surprisingly, It cleans very well. Walls with grease and everything. I don't use it for the inside of the toilet...I guess I like Bon Ami the best if I don't use toxic cleaners. You do have to find someone who sells it as stores do not carry this brand. It is about $40 a bottle, but it lasts about 6-9 months with heavy cleaning. My first bottle lasted over a year!"
"I just yesterday tried Seventh Generation automatic dishwashing powder, only to discover that it ETCHED all the glassware in the dishwasher. NOT RECOMMENDED. I had to discard the glassware and replace it (thank you for the Martha/Marta tips).
I do like Mrs Meyer's dishwasher gel (although I wish the scent was less strong) and Ecover."
"Just a note to mention something that few people know regarding Mrs. Myers -- all products in this line contain synthetic perfumes. Although they also contain 'essential oils' and prominently feature this in their marketing, these strong scents --- as much as some may enjoy them --- are artificial. For me, these products do not make the cut on a truly 'green' or 'eco' lineup."
"Great cleaning topic! We like to use Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds Just add a tsp. to an Ikea spray bottle, and fill with warm water. We also add in some drops of Tea Tree oil as this is nature's most powerful disinfectant (more so than bleach). Its super for cleaning countertops in the kitchen as well as in the bathroom. Works great on the toilet and tub too."
"I use many Method products (dish soap, counter spray, glass cleaner, tub & tile cleaner). Trader Joe's laundry detergent is concentrated, lavender scented and very affordable-- all the while being green and cruelty-free. For a liquid hand soap alternative I buy EO body wash in the bulk size and use it to refill smaller bottles at my sinks. I use cruelty-free brands of linen/bath water as an air freshener to spray near the litter box when necessary and a Yankee Candle brand of fabric freshener instead of cloying, non-green Febreze.
And don't forget about green, cruelty-free body products, toothpaste, etc. Trader Joe's makes many of their own versions that are much more affordable than name brands."
"I have actually found 7th generation to do the lesser job of most of the non toxic variety cleaners.
The absolute best tub and tile I have found is Method 'Tub and tile'
The best window cleaner-water/vinegar WITH a shot of rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol helps the water dry faster without beading."