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Three Simple Tips to Keep Your Home Green and Clean

Updated on July 7, 2015
Is the air in your home more polluted than the air outside?
Is the air in your home more polluted than the air outside? | Source

How Polluted is Your Home Really?

If you are like most people, you probably hope to keep the pollution outside and keep your home as clean and pure for your loved ones as possible.

Admittedly, some people are better at doing that than others, but recent research shows some information that should probably get all of us a little nervous about what we are being exposed to in the place that is supposed to be our safe haven from the world.

Before, you read through the following bullets, I will warn you that some of the information included here, while not graphic, is quite scary. Now you can't say you weren't warned.

  • According to an EPA report, indoor pollution is often 5 times worse than outdoor pollution, but can be up to 100 times worse, particularly in the winter months. This same article mentions that indoor pollution is now rated in the top 5 when it comes to environmental risks to public health.
  • The average number of chemicals found in a home today is 62. In Fred Harding's book, Breast Cancer: Cause, Prevention, Cure, he points out that the average home today has more chemicals than the average chemistry lab did at the turn of the century.
  • Studies of the blood found in newborn babies' umbilical cord show that even babies in the womb are being exposed to chemicals and toxins at extremely high levels, particularly for being at such a fragile stage of life. The study showed an average of 200 industrial chemicals in umbilical cord blood.

We all want to think that our homes aren't more polluted than the outdoors or that there is no way that we have up to 62 chemicals in our homes, but unfortunately many homes are on the high end of those averages.

Many of the homes that appear to be the cleanest are actually plagued with air pollution due to the chemicals that are used during the cleaning process.

Not long ago scientists thought that the placenta shielded cord blood — and the developing baby...But now we know that at this critical time when organs, vessels, membranes and systems are knit together from single cells to finished form in a span of weeks, the umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks of life, but also a steady stream of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides-Environmental Working Group, July 14, 2005

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Tip #1: Remove the Pollutants From Your Home

The first thing you have to do if you want to keep your home green and clean is remove all those pesky chemical cleaners from your home.

You're probably starting to wonder how in the world you are supposed to clean your home if you throw all of your cleaners away. Don't worry. You'll get some help with that a little later.

Right now it's time to focus on the basics. As long as you are using toxic chemicals to clean your home, you will never have the great air quality in your home that you really want for you and your loved ones.

Cleaning out all the chemicals in your home can be an intimidating task. Most people don't realize how many chemicals they actually have until they start pulling everything out from under the sinks and discover that it is pretty easy to end up with hundreds of chemicals in your home over time.

Here are a few places to look for chemicals to get you started so that you don't forget anything. Check out this website for a more extensive list of where chemicals could be hiding in your home.

  • under your sinks
  • in the laundry room
  • the garage

Pull out all the chemical cleaners you can find, and if you're brave enough, I'd get rid of the laundry detergent too. I'll give you a suggestion for a laundry detergent replacement I've been using for years later.

Once you have found all of your chemicals it is time to dispose of them. Obviously you want to dispose of them in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

You can contact your local hazardous waste facility in order to figure out how they would recommend disposing of your chemicals.

There will often be a convenient collection site where you can drop cleaners off, and you might be lucky enough to find someone that will come to you to pick them up.

If all else fails, you probably have some friends and neighbors that haven't decided to go green yet who would love to take some of those cleaners off your hands in order to save themselves some money on cleaning supplies.

Could you survive without all of the chemical based cleaners in your home?

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Step #2: Gather Recipes and Ingredients for Green Cleaners

To be honest, I make all of my cleaning supplies on my own. It is amazing what you can do with nonhazardous common household ingredients. Many people are amazed when they discover that they can get their cleaning done without having to breathe in toxic fumes that give them headaches (along with numerous other issues down the road).

I'll start by listing off some key ingredients that you can use for a variety of cleaning recipes, and then I can share a few of my favorites with you.

Key Ingredients for Green Cleaning:

  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • castile soap
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • essential oils

As you research and try to find the recipes that you like best, you may find other ingredients that you want to add to your list of must haves, but these will give you a great start.

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Recipe For My Favorite Green All Purpose Cleaner

This is so easy, and so versatile! It's definitely a favorite in my house. All you need is:

  • glass spray bottle (to put your cleaner in)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • about 30 drops of the essential oils of your choice (I love to use wild orange and peppermint together for their uplifting scent, but almost all essential oils are antibacterial, so you can use whatever you like)

I use this cleaner all around my house, just like I would any other all purpose cleaner. It always leaves my home fresh and clean without the hassle of breathing in all the powerful fumes that you have to smell when you use store bought cleaners that are full of nasty chemicals.

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Perfectly Green Foaming Hand Soap

You can buy green hand soaps, but I've discovered that if you have the time (and it doesn't take much) it's cheaper down the road to just buy the ingredients and make it on your own.

What you will need:

  • foaming hand soap bottle (you can buy them or just reuse some that you already have around the house)
  • 2 Tbs. unscented liquid castile soap
  • 1 Tbs. fractionated coconut oil
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice (I like to use Doterra's On Guard protective blend)
  • water

Just mix the first three ingredients and then fill up the bottle the rest of the way with water. Shake it up, and you've got foaming hand soap!

I borrowed this recipe from the Doterra Blog, so I wanted to make sure to give credit where credit is due.

What About That Laundry Detergent Replacement Recipe?

There are plenty of laundry detergent recipes out there if you want to find some, but personally I found another route for washing my laundry that I've been enjoying for the past few years, so I will share that.

A few years ago, I was writing for an advertising company and was given an assignment to write about soap nuts. At the time, I had no idea what soap nuts were, but as I did some research to write about them, I was quite intrigued.

I ended up buying some myself, and I am a 100% complete convert. I've been using them ever since.

They're really easy to use. When you get them, they will come with a little fabric draw-string bag. You put a few in the bag, toss it in the washer with your laundry, and your clothes come out nice and clean with out any unnatural detergent scents.

Benefits of using soap nuts over laundry detergent:

  • No chemicals involved
  • Great for people with sensitive skin and allergies
  • Easy
  • Inexpensive (you can use the same bag of soap nuts for up to 10 loads of laundry which makes them come out way cheaper than laundry detergent in the end).

Laundry Price Comparison Chart

Detergent
Cost
Number of Loads
Cost Per load
Eco Nuts Medium Sized Package
$11.99
100
11 cents
Eco Nuts Large Sized Package
$34.95
360
9 cents
Arm and Hammer
$9.49
32
29 cents
Seventh Generation
$9.99
32
30 cents
Tide
$14.99
32
46 cents
Gain
$13.99
32
43 cents
This information was taken from the Econuts website. http://econutssoap.com/detergent-comparison-chart/
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Tip #3: Clean the Air In Your Home (Part 1 Essential Oil Diffuser)

Don't worry! I'm not going to recommend some chemically product like Febreeze to leave the air in your home fresh and clean. I have two other methods that I prefer. They are a little bit pricey starting out, but I consider them to be a good investment.

First off, I'm sure you've already figured out that I'm a huge fan of essential oils, so I am all about using an oil diffuser to get air purifying oils out into the air in my home.

I think it's the best of both worlds to be able to kill the germs in the air, provide your body with additional immune system support, and get the great uplifting benefits of aromatherapy at the same time.

You can find a lot of oil diffusers around. Some of them are better quality than others. The first one I bought was on sale for $25, and it died soon after I purchased it so I was quite disappointed.

The one I have now cost me around $90, but it's been going strong for a year now, and I consider that a worth while investment since I use it every day.


This is what I call the smart air purifier. We keep it in our room and it activates itself when its sensors detect allergens and other impurities in the air.
This is what I call the smart air purifier. We keep it in our room and it activates itself when its sensors detect allergens and other impurities in the air. | Source

Tip #3: Clean the Air in Your Home (Part 2 Air Purifiers)

Air purifiers are a recent addition to our home, and again they can be quite pricey, especially for high quality HEPA filters, but I think that they are a great investment.

We have two air purifiers in our home right now. the one in the picture is one that we keep in our bedroom so that we can reap the benefits of clean air while we are sleeping. I like to call it the smart air purifier, because we keep it turned on all the time and it just works when its sensors detect a need to do some purifying. We got this purifier on sale for $400, so like I said, it wasn't cheap, but we're still glad to have it.

The other air purifier that we got is one that we keep in our kitchen. It doesn't have the awesome sensor system that the other one has, but it does have a remote control so we can keep it discreetly hidden on top of our tallest cupboards, and conveniently turn it on when we are hanging out in the kitchen.

I think this thing is a miracle worker. I have a prime example of how well it works, but I'm kind of embarrassed to share how we tested it out, so don't hold this against me.

Our bunny's litter box was really quite overdo for being cleaned out the day that I brought our air purifiers home. Literally, I could smell bunny litter box as soon as I walked in the door (I know that's gross).

Well, the people at the store said that this air purifier could pull the smell of fish or bacon out of the air within an hour, so I thought I'd put it to the test with the litter box.

Sure enough, less than an hour later, you never would have guessed that there was a bunny living in our house. To me, that was an amazing success story.

If the filter could pull that unpleasant litter box aroma out of the air that quickly, I'm sure that it is doing a great job pulling all the other allergens out of the air as well.

This is the air purifier that we keep in our master bedroom. It has sensors on it, so it turns on and off as needed, and we love it!

We have this air purifier sitting on top of a cupboard in our kitchen. You would be amazed with how much nastiness it is able to pull out of the air!

In Summary...

  • The air in your home might not be as clean as you think. In fact, the air quality in your home is probably worse than the air quality outside.
  • Getting rid of the chemicals in your home is the first step to decreasing air pollution in your home.
  • It's easy and relatively inexpensive to replace chemical cleaners with homemade ones that will provide you with an abundance of physical and emotional health benefits rather than causing you harm.
  • For additional cleaning of the air itself, essential oil diffusers and air purifiers are both great options.

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    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      I love this article. I'm gradually getting into the use of natural cleansers, and am so surprised at how they more effectively clean than the expensive manufactured cleansers on the market. Love them! Thanks for this article.

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      I'm glad you liked it. I used to dread cleaning, but now I really enjoy it... I'm sure the uplifting aromas of my essential oil cleaners really contribute to that. They're definitely better than the horrible chemical smells of other cleaning products.

    • Hannah David Cini profile image

      Hannah David Cini 2 years ago from Nottingham

      I really like some of the ideas that you offered. I had never heard of the soap nuts so will definitely have to give them a try.

      Do you have any ideas for cleaning carpets without carpet shampoo? I have a little one (so very dirty carpets) but I hate using the chemically stuff with him about.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      This is a good hub. One worth reading over and over. I am guilty of most of the things that create pollution, I'm sorry to say. The one thing I do right is clean the inside of my refrigerator with baking soda dissolved in water. It cleans and makes it smell nice. I think it will take time to get rid of everything harmful, one step at a time. I voted up

      Blessings to you.

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      @Hannah David Cini-I've also been trying to find a carpet shampoo substitute, but I honestly haven't tested any yet. From what I've researched online, it sounds like vinegar is a good carpet cleaner, but it does make the room smell like vinegar for a while, so you have to decide how you feel about that. If you try something out, you'll have to let me know how it goes. I'd really appreciate that.

      These two websites both have carpet cleaning ideas: http://www.livelovediy.com/2013/06/10-vinegar-clea...

      http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

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