Recently, my eight-year-old daughter asked me if we could do some spring cleaning. I have spent enough time in the parenting trenches to know that when your kid's enthusiastic about cleaning, you capitalize on it, you don't ask questions. I told her that of course we could. But this raises the question of what we should be cleaning with.
As a self-proclaimed green mom, it's important to me that I don't expose my family to toxic cleaners. While it's possible to buy less-toxic, more sustainable cleaning agents, the truth is that these are often very expensive (and, sadly, sometimes not as effective as their conventional cousins). Many people who are seeking to live more sustainably opt for a third option - making their own cleaners.
A quick internet search for "green cleaning agents" will give you lots of information. Here are a few of my favourite resources:
- Green Cleaning Recipes from David Suzuki's Queen of Green
- Easiest Green Cleaning Recipes from The Daily Green
- 25 DIY Green Cleaning Recipes from Apartment Therapy
- Green Cleaning Recipes from Mother Nature Network
If making your own feels like too much work, here are a few things to look for on the bottle to help you make a greener choice:
- Make sure that all ingredients are listed. If they're not, the manufacturer may be hiding something.
- For the ingredients that are listed, less is more. A whole lot of long, hard-to-pronounce chemical names on the label isn't a good sign that what's inside is safe.
- Opt for fragrance-free. "Fragrance" or "parfum" on an ingredient listing is a catch-all phrase that may include harmful chemicals such as phthalates.
- If you choose a scented product, make sure that the label explains exactly what's in the scent.
- Look for third party certifications to back up green claims. These third party certifications aren't guarantees but they do provide some reassurance that the product has met specific criteria.