Guest Blog

Eco-Friendly Cleaning – By Diana Smith

Do you know what the difference is between environmentally eco-friendly products and commercial cleaning products? This is one of the huge factors in the environment today when it comes to cleaning your home. You really never heard much about how bad it was for you, your family, and the environment thirty years ago. At least I didn’t, or maybe it was that I lived the sheltered life back then. I have tried so many different kinds of commercial cleaning products over the years before I changed to eco-friendly homemade cleaning recipes and all-natural plant based products. First, let me tell you a little about my experience with commercial cleaners.

Why I Gave Up Commercial Cleaning Products

I really didn’t pay much attention to the kind of products I was bringing into my home thirty years ago, although I do remember the smell could choke a horse! I never thought about reading the labels to see what ingredients was in the product. This has made a huge impact on my life, and not in a good way. These cleansers were not only toxic, but the way they affected my overall health. I would always feel like I was coming down with the flu. I would get headaches, cough, sneeze, bronchitis, skin rashes, and so much more.

Until about eight years ago, I decided to research commercial cleaners and how it can affect your health when you clean with them in your home. They are full of hazardous chemical components. If I would have read the labels and found what was really in the ingredients years ago, you would think why in the world would I bring that toxic stuff into my home, or would anyone else for that matter.

About Commercial Cleaners

Some of the ingredients include Sodium Hydroxide found in oven cleaners and drain openers, it can cause severe burns to the eyes and skin. It can also cause a sore throat that can last for several days (epa.gov). Butoxyethanol is found in kitchen, window, and multipurpose cleaners, this gives the sweet smell in these cleaners. This can contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage (Ewg.org, epa.gov). Phthalates are found in air fresheners, dish soaps, even toilet paper. Phthalates are hormone disrupting chemicals that will interfere with the production of the male sex hormone and testosterone, the list goes on and on (fda.gov).

Some companies do not have to disclose what’s in their scent because of proprietary laws, so you will not see this listed on the label. If you see the word fragrance on the label, there is a good chance phthalates are in the product.

Health Effects of Commercial Cleaners

We wonder why there is so much sickness in the world today. In my opinion, I think most of our sickness could stem from some of the commercial products that are used in our homes on a daily basis. We all need to be more cautious about our surroundings and the products we bring into our home. It’s certainly something to think about.

It all makes sense to me now, why I was feeling so sick when I would clean with chemicals. Did you know when you mop your floors with toxic cleaners, it can absorb up into your baby’s feet and make them very sick. I think it’s a no brainer to get rid of the toxins and toss them in the trash, let’s say safely dispose of them. These are the reasons why I stopped using commercial cleaners and the experience that I had with them! Ok, enough about the toxic talk, now let’s move on to the eco-friendly good stuff.

Transition to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Methods

I run a successful All Natural House Cleaning Boutique in the Charleston, South Carolina area. When I started my business, I had to make a list of what cleaners to use that is environmentally eco-friendly to my clients, you never want to bring toxins into a client’s home. First of all, I came up with 100 homemade cleaning recipes with essential oils and put them into an eBook. That’s about as non-toxic as you can get! Many people are not aware of using homemade cleaning products or don’t know how to make the recipes. You can make them for a fraction of the cost. I can make up a batch of homemade lavender laundry powder that will last me several months, and cost less than $20.00.

Have you ever thought about cleaning with ingredients hiding in your kitchen? Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt, are some of the ingredients I use to make my homemade recipes. You can even make cleaners infused with fruit, lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit, this is what I love about using homemade cleaners. If you can eat it, you know it’s safe to clean with it without bringing the toxins into your home, and it’s safe around your children and pets. This is the most basic eco-friendly cleaning there is!

Best eco-friendly cleaning products

Favorite Eco-Friendly Products

I also use plant-based cleaning products to clean my client’s homes as well as my own home. My main cleaners are Young Living, Method, and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day; all are eco-friendly naturally derived plant-based cleaners. The Method all-purpose cleaner has an amazing smell; the pink grapefruit scent is my favorite. I use this product daily to clean stovetops, countertops, and more. The smell is light and crisp and not to over bearing like some products can be.

The Method toilet bowl cleaner is antibacterial and kills 99.9% of germs. It cleans and disinfects with a spearmint scent and does an amazing job without using chemicals. I highly recommend this product for cleaning toilets. The bathroom cleaner also has a fresh spearmint scent and cleans and disinfects. I use this product daily on my client’s bathrooms. The squirt and mop wood floor cleaner is plant based and has an almond scent, I like the way it cleans the floors, it gives them a nice shine, and it is safe and nontoxic. Seventh generation dishwasher packs are not my favorite, it left a light film on my dishes. In my opinion, my homemade dishwasher recipe does a much better job at cleaning the dishes. 

Thieves eco-friendly household cleaner

Thieves is a concentrated plant based household cleaner from Young Living, you get the benefits and power of the essential oils blend. I love this product for cleaning everything from glass to countertops, toilets, showers, and more! I add a capful to a 16-oz. glass spray bottle and mix with water, just spray and clean. This is the perfect product for moms that are concerned about what type of cleaners they use in their home. It is formulated with only plant and mineral based ingredients; this product is one of the safest to use around children and pets, highly recommended!

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day comes in several different scents. I love the multi-surface concentrate, it’s a great product that gets the job done. I use this on floors, cupboards, countertops, stovetops, and sinks. It contains plant derived ingredients and made without parabens & phthalates. The lemon verbena has a nice citrus scent that makes your home feel fresh and clean, I love all of what Mrs. Meyers brand has to offer.

Mrs. Meyers Cleaning Products

There are many benefits for using eco-friendly products. Some are, less risk for exposing your skin from harsh chemicals, better air quality, and overall a heathier home. Eco-friendly cleaning is essential to our health; I will never go back to cleaning with commercial products, even though they may clean and disinfect your home, they release hazardous chemical components into your environment.

The Method, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, Young Living, and homemade cleaning recipes are my top choices for getting your home clean, and they are all eco-friendly. So, the next time you make your shopping list for cleaning products, cross off the toxins and invest in plant based derived ingredients. There is a safer way to clean, you can eliminate long term health concerns by using all natural cleaning solutions that is better for you, your family, and the environment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diana Smith is the Founder of secretsfromacleaninglady.com. She was born into an Italian family and raised in a small town in Eastern Ohio. Her blog was created to share my eco-friendly cleaning tips and homemade recipes to bring awareness to those who don’t realize how detrimental toxic commercial cleaning products can be to our health, our children’s health, and well-being. We live in a toxic world, and the commercial cleaning products we use on a daily basis is full of hazardous chemicals. Join her on her journey to an inspiring wealth of information to a healthy and happy home, that will help you implement natural green living for an eco-friendly environment. https://www.secretsfromacleaninglady.com/about-the-author/

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Sustainability Blogs

A Word About Sustainability

Sustainability is multi-faceted concept that has implications on every aspect of our lives. The basic definition is “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” This can refer to environmental sustainability, which is the most common use in popular parlance, but it can also refer to economic sustainability, and social sustainability. To be sustainable is to accept change, but to maintain a balanced existence. If we consider our world as resting on a stool supported by the pillars of environment, economics, and society you can see that we cannot impact one of the pillars without repercussions being felt in the other two. The earth is currently not operating in a sustainable fashion. Industries pollute the air and water, people are irresponsible with their trash, which ends up in the oceans, companies are focused on ever increasing profits to the extend that they cut staff, benefits for staff, environmental programs and any other ‘extra’ expenditure to maximize profits at the expense of the workplace culture. Conversely, attempts to raise the pillars of social and environmental issues will have negative repercussions on the economy. We need balance.

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If you have been following my blog you may have noticed the tagline: Going Green Doesn’t Have to be a Sacrifice. I believe that we have a responsibility to try and leave the planet a better place than when we arrived. I am very concerned that our current rates of consumption globally is unsustainable. For me, one of the most unsustainable products today is the dizzying array of plastics. The extraction of the crude oil to make plastics produces some of the worst rates of GHG emissions among industries. Plastics do not break down in the environment, meaning that they keep polluting for decades to hundreds of years, depending on the product. And to top it off, many of the plastics used is made for product packaging – not even an item in and of itself. Am I suggesting that we eliminate all plastics? No! The medical industry is very dependent on plastic products and to go back to using only metals and glass will come at the expense of patient comfort and a lot of added labor. The plastics used in car manufacturing allow the cars to be lighter weight, and hence more fuel efficient. I WOULD like to see the elimination of single-use plastic products of all types (straws, packaging, bottles, etc) and be replaced with items that are meant to be re-usable.

I read a great passage a few weeks ago. I wish I had saved it somewhere because I cannot recall the source, and have not been able to find it again. The passage stated that we do not need 1,000 people to be perfectly sustainable. We need 10 million people to do an OK job at it. This really resonated with me. I started to take stock of my own life and prioritize areas that I can make great improvements without it being too drastic of a shift. The products I provide through Treasures By Sandra are not meant to be the most eco-friendly versions of that product. They are meant to be sustainable. By this I mean that my raw materials are organic and fair trade as much as possible, I buy from local suppliers whenever I can, the packaging I use is meant to be re-usable and/or biodegradable, and they are good quality items that are effective. Over the next few weeks I will be posting on the individual products, what goes into making them, how I choose my raw materials, and why I consider the product to be sustainable.

What efforts do you make to be sustainable? Do you feel that sustainability is important in the home? Let me know in the comments!