Sustainable Living: Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Store-Bought Cleaners

In our Sustainable Living series, we look at how tenants and homeowners are changing their apartments to be more sustainable.

According to the Environmental Working Group, which advocates for non-toxic chemicals in products, some popular household cleaners have harmful ingredients. In fact, many everyday cleaners contain carcinogens and toxins that can potentially lead to skin irritation, developmental and endocrine defects, reproductive effects, cancer, and other health concerns. Fortunately, you can clean your apartment and avoid these possible health concerns by making homemade cleaners with non-toxic chemicals, such as the below.

Sustainable Living Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Store-Bought Cleaners

Homemade natural all-purpose cleaner

All-purpose cleaners can be easily made with a few common household ingredients. One simple cleaner solution you can put in a spray bottle consists of four tablespoons of baking soda and one quart of warm water.

If you prefer a scented all-purpose cleaner, you can combine a solution of one part white vinegar, one part water, a lemon rind, and rosemary sprigs. Acidic solutions such as this one are not suitable for granite, but most DIY cleaners can be used on most surfaces and are non-toxic. After shaking your homemade solution in your bottle, it will be ready for use. 

Non-chemical drain cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners contain harmful ingredients that can cause skin irritation, chest pain, severe abdominal pain, and other health risks. Additionally, drain cleaners are so strong that they can corrode your pipes. 

If you want to be eco-friendly and avoid drain damage, you can follow a few simple steps to make your own drain cleaner. First, pouring a small pan of boiling water down the drain can help alleviate a clog. If your drain is still clogged, you can pour half a cup of baking soda into it, then follow it with half a cup of vinegar. Next, cover the drain and wait 10 minutes. Lastly, pour another small pan of boiling water down the drain, then follow by flushing everything down with hot tap water.

Non-chemical glass cleaner

Although ammonia, a common glass cleaner ingredient is a mild disinfectant, it can be harmful to your health. It’s a strong irritant that can lead to kidney and liver damage. Additionally, asthma sufferers may be more sensitive than others to breathing ammonia. Additionally, if ammonia is accidentally mixed with bleach, it becomes a poisonous chloramine gas. However, you can make your own safe glass cleaner.

In a spray bottle, combine one cup of rubbing alcohol, one cup of water, and one tablespoon of vinegar. This solution cannot be used on stone or other materials that are vulnerable to acid. However, you can clean your apartment’s chrome, ceramic, and other hard surfaces with this DIY eco-friendly glass cleaner. While cleaning your glass and reflective surfaces, you can use a washable rag.

Reusable dishcloths/towels

Washable rags, also known as “unpaper towels,” can be made from your old clothes. Washable rags are also available in stores and online in several different materials such as microfiber and bamboo. When you’re done cleaning, store your rags by specific use in separate storage spaces to ensure that your apartment is clean and eco-friendly.

Which eco-friendly cleaner alternatives have you tried in your apartment? Sound off in the comments!

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