bio-home’s Guide to Green Cleaning
Current cleaning products contain many harmful chemicals that might be toxic to you and the environment. With the rising awareness of green products, brands are starting to position their products as eco-friendly. To get past such misleading information, there are some ways to check if it is really what it claims to be.
Checking for eco-friendly products
Non-toxic: This is a favourite for cleaning brands out there, an all-encompassing term for products that does not result trigger any negative health effects. However, GreenerChoices warn that this might be a piece of misleading information for consumers. They state that there “is no definition or standard use for judging whether a consumer product or its ingredients are ‘non-toxic’, and no assurance that such a claim has been independently verified”.
Fragrances: While these are made to seem like they help freshen and refresh after cleaning, there are many potentially detrimental after-effects, including headaches to breathing difficulties and allergies.
Phthalates: A class of chemicals commonly found in food packaging, toys, and personal care products such as perfumes and nail polish. High levels of Phthalates are suspected to be a contributing factor birth defects, respiratory difficulties in children, and damaged sperm counts.
Chlorine: This has long been the most effective chemical for disinfecting and whitening purposes. Products can claim to be chlorine-free, but it is still ever-present in their products as it is still the best. However, chlorine bleach is proven to be harmful to human skin and has an adverse effect on the environment.
Petroleum: Products containing petroleum should not come anywhere near our homes if they’re not in the garage, much less on our bodies. Despite that, many products such as deodorant, hair-gel, and cleaning products contain petroleum. It contains many carcinogenic ingredients that cannot be absorbed naturally by our skin, thus resulting in clogging of toxins in our pores.
Glycol-free: Propylene glycol is used by manufacturers to give products like deodorant, cleaning products, and processed food a smoother consistency. While it might be safe in small doses, consuming this in large amounts can cause failure to our nervous system, heart, and liver.
Phosphate: These have long been used in detergents to boost cleaning efficiency. However, rising awareness about their impacts on the environment leads to reports showing that they pollute natural water sources, leaving them unsuited for human and animal consumption.
Ammonia: Many glasses and window cleaners contain ammonia, a toxic and corrosive chemical. This is also present in hair dye and has been known to cause irritation to our skin, eyes and respiratory system.
Caustic agents: A product described as being “caustic-free” means it does not contain sodium hydroxide, a caustic agent. This is common in soap and recognised as an irritant to eyes, skin and respiratory system.
Dyes: Different artificial colouring has been shown to have detrimental effects on our health. For example, the dye Blue 1 is known to cause allergic reactions while Red 3 is banned from cosmetics for possibly having carcinogenic properties.
Animal testing: Making sure no animals were harmed in the making of the product is vital to prevent cruelty to animals. There are more humane ways to test products that can replace animal testing and is way more efficient as well.
Here are some guides to cleaning the various places in your home:
Cleaning the Kitchen
Clear out all of your kitchen appliances, cookbooks and any other items from your cabinets and countertops. Move them out of the kitchen to make cleaning easier.
Clean the fridge
Remove all contents from the fridge and check for their expiry date. Throw out any expired or moldy food. Give both the interior and exterior of the fridge a good scrubbing with an all-purpose cleaner and rinse it out using a clean damp cloth, before you replace your food items.
Clean your oven and stove
Detach all removable parts from the stove and leave them in the sink to soak. Next, make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and spread it along the interior surfaces of the oven, as well as the stove. Leave them to dry before scrubbing the dried baking soda off with a steel wool. Wipe the area clean with a clean and wet towel. Wash and dry the removable parts before reattaching them to the stove.
Clean your kitchen appliances and countertops
Give them a wipe down with a clean cloth and your chosen cleaning agent.
Clean the kitchen cabinets and drawers
Similarly, wipe both the interior and exterior of the cabinets and drawers with some all-purpose cleaner and a damp rag.
Clean the sink
Scrub the sink with either vinegar or baking soda and pour some down the drain to unclog and combat smells.
Cleaning the Bathroom
Remove everything from cabinets and closets. Wipe down the shelves and interior of the cabinets with a cloth and some all-purpose cleaner.
Scrub the shower and tub
You can use vinegar and water to give the shower and tub a good clean, using a scrub brush and a toothbrush for crevices.
Scrub the toilet
Clean the exterior of the toilet with hydrogen peroxide and the inside with vinegar and baking soda and a brush.
Shine mirror and windows
Clean the mirror and windows with either a microfiber cloth or some vinegar water and a rag.
Cleaning the Bedroom
Clear out everything from your bedroom floors and cabinet tops to make cleaning easier
Dust from top to bottom
Dust your cabinets, closet, bookshelves and photo frames.
Vacuum your carpet, rugs and mattress to remove dirt and dust.
Clean furniture and lamps
Clean your furniture and lamps with a rag and all-purpose cleaner. For wooden furniture, use a damp cloth and some wood polish.
Use a microfiber cloth or a vinegar and water solution.
Sun your pillows and mattress pads
Leave them out in the sun for a couple of hours to kill bacteria.
Cleaning the Living Room
Pick up any items from the floor and return them to their appropriate places
Dust from top to bottom
Dust your shelves, art, lights and ceiling fans
Launder seat covers and curtains
Remove seat and cushion covers and have them laundered. Same goes for your curtains.
Clean your windows with either a microfiber cloth or with some vinegar and water solution.
Vacuum your couch, carpets and rugs to remove any dirt or dust.
How to make your own cleaning tool-kit
If you want to save yourself the trouble of searching for the perfect cleaning product, why not try making your own? You can be 100% sure they contain no harmful chemicals that can harm you and your family. On top of that, it is really simple to create your own, just by following the recipes below
- bio-home Dishwashing Liquid
- Spray bottle
Mix ¼ or ½ a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 2 cups of water together into the spray bottle. Shake gently and use as per normal. This recipe is more effective than commercial products as it reduces wax residue due to the liquid detergent.
- Baking soda
- bio-home Dishwashing Liquid
Spread water over the bottom of the oven and add baking soda onto areas with grime until they are completely white. Sprinkle more water on top and let the mixture set overnight. The grease can be easily cleaned off next morning. After clearing up the mess, take a sponge with a bit of dishwashing liquid or soap and wash the remaining residue.
- Vegetable oil (olive or jojoba)
- Vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix ½ teaspoon of oil, ¼ cup of vinegar or lemon juice into a glass jar. Use a soft cloth to dip into the solution and wipe it on wood surfaces. Seal the glass jar to use the solution again.
Using straight vinegar for cutting boards is great to get rid of any bacteria and odour. Leave it overnight as the smell dissipates after some hours. This can also be used for toilets as it can be wiped off easily.
- Tea tree oil
Mix 2 teaspoons tea tree oil and 2 cups of water into a spray bottle. Shake it to mix well and spray onto problem areas, leaving it in without rinsing.
Straight vinegar. This kills 82% of mould. Apply it to any mould infested areas and leave without rinsing. The smell will be gone after a few hours.
bio-home, by homegrown heritage brand Lam Soon Group, is a range of eco-friendly home cleaning solutions made from biodegradable and renewable plant-based active ingredients. The packaging is not just made of fully recyclable materials; the brand logo and shape of the bottle are also designed specially in line with our eco-friendly message.
Read more articles in bio-home’s Knowledge Discovery section.