Flickr member Candi Mandi's living room was furnished with mostly thrifted finds! It looks bright, clean, and has personal touches without being too cluttered.
How's your first week of the Green Cure going? Have you removed one item from your apartment yet? From what we've heard, a number of you are so gung-ho to get started, you're practically throwing your things out with glee! Keep a hold on that enthusiasm, because there's cleaning ahead. The green challenge? Use environmentally-friendly cleaners. We'll tell you why they're better and which ones work best...
Why Green Cleaners Matter:
Over the last few years we've made the change to using all-natural and/or non-toxic cleaners. There were a few reasons why we thought this was necessary: 1) the impact on our health, 2) the impact on the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency states that air quality within homes can be more polluted than the outdoor air by as much as 100 times, even in the largest and most industrialized cities. This is due largely to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that evaporate, or "offgas," from conventional cleaning products. (You know what we're talking about: that "cleaning" smell, probably from bleach or any one of a host of other chemicals). These VOCs also linger in the hour long after you're done cleaning, especially without proper ventilation, i.e. no window in your bathroom.
Most of the cleaning products we used to use also didn't have their ingredients listed on the label, so we really had no idea what we were bringing into our home. (And while we don't currently have pets or kids, that fact would have been even more sobering if we did.) In 2000, cleaning products were responsible for nearly 10 percent of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. poison control centers, accounting for more than 206,000 calls, over half of which concerned children under the age of six.
Another reason we switched to environmentally-friendly products was because of, well, the environment. Most of the conventional cleaning products we all grew up with are petroleum-based (a non-renewable resource) and have dubious health and environmental implications. Think about it: you're using and then flushing a chemical down the toilet or the sink that's designed to basically annihilate everything that comes into its path. Where does it go? It doesn't just disappear.
Additionally, we thought our use of these ultra-strong chemical cleaners probably wasn't even necessary. This is our home, not a hospital. Does everything need to be 100% germ-free? Unless you live in a bubble, germs are everywhere. The best you can do is keep your home clean to the best of your ability, and that probably doesn't require obliterating everything with bleach.
Our Favorite Eco-Friendly Cleaners:
Here are a few brands of cleaners we've tried and love:
But we're not done! Here on Re-Nest, we've written extensively on natural and non-toxic cleaners (including a bunch of DIY cleaning solutions using products like vinegar and baking soda), so instead of repeating ourselves, we'll just direct you to some of our best posts on the subject:
• Best Green Cleaning Products 2009
• Roundup: The Best Green Cleaning Tips & How-Tos
• Roundup: Best Green Cleaning Tools
• Green and Safe Home Product Resource List?
• Have a Make-Your-Own-Cleaners Party!
• Top Ten: Ways To Clean With Vinegar
• Top Ten: Ways To Green Your Bathroom
• Green Option for A Sparkling Toilet Bowl?
• Best DIY/Natural Cleaning Solutions
• How To: Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
How's your style file coming along? Peacock Feathers pulled this clean, white sofa image as inspiration for her living room, and we love it, too.
Joyce's bedroom is simple, unfussy, and completely lovely.
AT:SF posted this image from FFFFound, and we're really into all the mismatched frames and art prints. Makes for a very personal wall!
TODAY'S COMMENT QUESTION
Do you have a favorite environmentally-friendly cleaner?
BUY A BOOK
JOIN THE GREEN CURE DISCUSSION: