best green ingredients to use in household cleaning

People use a wide array of commercial cleaning products to keep their houses spotless.

While these products can be effective, they contain toxic chemicals that can pose some terrible side effects. These chemicals can be harmful when inhaled or touched and poisonous when ingested. They can also make their way to water systems, poisoning aquatic life.

In fact, in 2016, cleaning products were responsible for 11% of toxic exposure cases reported to the U.S. Poison Control Centers—a close second to cosmetic and personal care products. Although there are water treatment plants that remove most these chemicals, there are still trace amounts of chemicals that make their way to water systems.

Before these chemical detergents were available in the market, people used a variety of natural products to clean their homes. In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, we’re sharing a list of green items that you can use for cleaning.

The good news? You probably already have the majority of them in your pantry!

Vinegar

Vinegar has been used as a household cleaner for decades and has over 30 major uses. Some of these include cleaning glass, carpets, and ceramic tabletops; softening paint brushes, removing sticker residue, unclogging drains, killing weeds and even keeping flowers fresh.

To use vinegar as an all-around cleaner, mix ½ cup of vinegar per gallon of water. If the smell bothers you, you can add a few drops of essential oils to balance it out.

Lemon

There are multiple uses to lemons: they add flavor to cooking, whether you use the juice or rind. They can also be used as a green household cleaner.

Much like vinegar, lemon is also acidic. It can be used to clean your wooden chopping boards, remove stains, polish copper, deodorize, and scrub surfaces.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another multipurpose product you can find in your home. Not just for baking, you can also use it for scrubbing countertops, ovens, and sinks, deodorizing your home, removing mildew and even brightening jewelry.

Salt

Salt has been used since the medieval times for flavoring and preserving food—as well as for cleaning and disinfecting. There are multiple uses for salt: The Salt Institute counts over 14,000 ways!

When it comes to cleaning, salt can be used to scrub surfaces, sink drains, and grease pans. It also works as a catalyst for other ingredients, such as vinegar, to boost its cleaning action. It can also be used to remove wine, blood, and perspiration stains, among others.

Houseplants

Houseplants can't be used to clean houses per se, but they are able to purify the air inside your home.

Aside from the aesthetic value they bring to the home, they also offer health benefits. When you have plants inside, you can expect cooler and cleaner air, as they release water vapor into the atmosphere and reduce carbon dioxide, benzene, nitrogen, and dust levels. Plants also contribute positively to mental health by reducing stress, serving as a mood booster that also helps people focus better.

Essential Oils

Essential oils not only leave your home smelling lovely, but most of these oils also have antibacterial and antiviral properties that, when mixed with your natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda, supplement their cleaning power.

Some examples of these antibacterial and antiviral essential oils include lemon, rosemary, and tea tree oil.

6 of the Best Green Products to Use in Household Cleaning

What green products do you use in your own household cleaning? Let me know in the comments!