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How to Clean Your House without Hurting the Earth

Updated on February 5, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Eco-friendly house cleaning can impact the environment in a positive way. On a more personal level it can cut down on illnesses, asthma, and allergies within your family.

There are a number of reasons why people don't use eco-friendly cleaning products, however. Here are a few common excuses:

  • It will take longer
  • It won't do as good a job
  • It is more expensive
  • It is hard to find

The truth is that none of those excuses are valid ones. Green cleaning supplies are as effective and easy to use as commercial ones. They may be more expensive but most eco friendly cleaning supplies can be made easily at home in a small amount of time. Here are several ways you can implement eco friendly house cleaning into your life.

Natural cleaners can work as well as toxic cleaners. image:sxc
Natural cleaners can work as well as toxic cleaners. image:sxc

Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Of course cleaning with eco-friendly cleaning products keeps you home green as well. You can buy these items from the store or use homemade products from eco-friendly cleaning recipes. Companies to look for are:

  • Mrs Meyers
  • Ecover
  • 7th Generation
  • Planet
  • BioKleen
  • EarthFriendly
  • Dr.Bronners
  • Castille Soap

These products will work as well as their toxic counterparts. You may need to allow them to stand on the surface you are cleaning if it is very dirty.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Recipes

There are recipes for everything from homemade laundry detergent to antibacterial spray. Be willing to experiment with a few of these to see which you prefer. Always put the homemade cleaners in a clean spray bottle (or one that has held the very same cleaner) and label it well.

Spray Disinfectant

  • ½ pint of water
  • 2 ounces of rubbing alcohol
  • 1 ounce vinegar
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil

Spray on. Allow to stand for 15 minutes and wipe dry.

Hardwood Floor Cleaner

  • 6 ounces strong black tea
  • 1 teaspoon Dr. Bronners Pine liquid soap
  • 6 ounces water

Spray on the floor and wipe dry.

Use Plants to Clean Air in Your Home

Did you know that plants actually reduce indoor air pollution and keep the air you breathe healthy? There are architects that are using plants as air filters in commercial buildings. Here are some of the best plants for cleaning your air:

  • Peace Lily
  • Gerbera
  • English Ivy
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Dracaena
  • Bamboo Palm

By utilizing live plants in your home you can allow them to do your eco-friendly house cleaning for you.

Reusable Items

Use reusable items whenever you can. Rather than a swiffer pad use a permanent pad on your swiffer that can be removed and washed as needed. By using items that can be used over and over you will be saving money, often a lot of money. You will also be reducing waste; from packaging as well as the item itself when it is thrown away.

  • Use a rag rather than paper towels
  • Use dust cloths and feather dusters
  • Mark sponges for various uses, toilet, sink, floor
  • Use a bagless vacuum cleaner

Recycling, Hazardous Waste, and Composting

Understanding the concept of recycling and knowing what you can and can't recycle is an important part of green cleaning. Many items that people commonly send to the landfill with their trash pick up can be recycled. Some items that can be recycled are:

  • Textiles
  • Electronics
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Aluminum
  • Motor oil
  • Fluorescent lights

For items like Fluorescent lights that have been broken, and other hazardous wastes you can call your city hall to find out where and when hazardous waste is disposed of. Household hazardous waste consists of things like:

  • Paints
  • Solvents
  • Cleaners
  • Oil
  • Batteries

You can cut down on the amount of trash that goes to the landfill by composting your food waste. Although you won't want to compost meat nearly everything else, including dryer lint is compostable and can enrich your soil.

  • Vegetable peels and parings
  • Fruit cores
  • Leftovers
  • Grains and breads
  • Hair

Just add these to your compost pile to make your trash bin lighter and you soil rich.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Companies

If you don't have time to clean your own home, consider hiring eco-friendly cleaning companies to do it for you. More and more “green cleaning” teams are appearing around the country. These small homebased businesses specialize in eco-friendly cleaning.

You canexpect to pay about $10 dollars more an hour. This is because these companies use organic products which can run a little higher in cost, plus they are specialized which means they can charge a little more.

Eco-friendly house cleaning is a smart choice, whether you do it for yourself or hire someone to do it for you.


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    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 3 years ago from Virginia

      Great ways to clean safely. Pinned.

    • The-BestMouseTrap profile image

      Pam Valentine 5 years ago from The Heartland, USA

      What interesting hubs you have, I'm soaking it all up. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ruth Benjamin profile image

      Ruth Benjamin 6 years ago from Georgia

      Amazing!!! So many great tips in a single article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 6 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Very helpful article, I like the clean air house plants. thank you (vote up, useful)

    • profile image

      Penelope Pettikrew 7 years ago

      Good article. Vinegar is also a fantastic cleaner. If your floor is made of linoleum, you can clean it with a solution made from 1 cup (240 mL) vinegar in 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water.

    • BrainSpace profile image

      BrainSpace 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Great article! I think its really important to use eco friendly products especially if cleaning is something you do for a living. Breathing in those fumes day after day can lead to serious health problems in the future.

    • marieryan profile image

      Marie Ryan 7 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      What an interestig article with many practical suggestions! Thanks.

      Strong black tea! I`ll need a cup after all that cleaning!

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      Doing things which is not harmful for the enviornment is really easy. Why do people think it is so hard?

      Fluorescent lights have been a problem for me, but it can be done.

    • Organic Thoughts profile image

      Organic Thoughts 7 years ago from North Carolina

      very informative hub.... women end up getting exposed to chemicals everyday through the house cleaning chores. your ideas will truly help to avoid chemicals everyday.

    • profile image

      Bob Oracle 7 years ago

      Hi - I've just used your hardwood floor cleaner recipe and it worked a treat. This was for my cleaning business for a client who requested an eco-solution. Thanks a million. Bob at

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      great information, thanks for sharing.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      Mary Audet,

      Thank You!

      These are some great Eco friendly tips!


    • profile image

      myriam 8 years ago

      Your article was very helpful

    • thelesleyshow profile image

      TheLesleyShow 8 years ago from US

      I live by home cleaning remedies.