On October 21, 2012 by Kelly

**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.

After my transition to a Paleo lifestyle, I truly realized the drastic nature of the change when I was cleaning my refrigerator to store a new batch of CSA veggies. With the exception of lunch meat and coconut milk coffee cream, every single item in my fridge was from an organic, local farm that doesn’t produce food for mass, commercial consumption. That day a light bulb went off. I knew the impact changing my diet had made, but there was still one area of toxicity that I was allowing into my body: chemicals from household cleaning products.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that many cleaning products include chemicals which may have short and long term adverse health effects. “Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system” are a few. Some are also “suspected or known to cause cancer.” You may find that some commercial cleaners are difficult to replace because they work…and they work well. They do the job with minimal effort on our part. But, when it comes to the potential harmful effects they can cause on the health of our families, taking baby steps towards a green and chemical-free home will be worth it.

One of the easiest ways to reduce exposure to these chemicals is to remove them from your cleaning routine and replace them with natural cleaners. Green and chemical free cleaning requires a change, but it is an easy one!

5 Products to Help You Transition to Chemical Free Cleaning

In case you have the impression that making your own cleaning products takes too much time, let me assure you that the following five products will help you clean 80% of your home without extra effort. In fact, it may even be easier.

#1 and #2. Baking soda and vinegar can clean just about anything. Baking soda can be used on anything from dishes, to bathtubs, to produce. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant so it can be used as an all-purpose cleaner. Just pour vinegar in a clean, empty spray bottle and use it to clean everything from countertops to cutting boards. Add a sprinkle of baking soda to vinegar and watch it work its magic when cleaning areas like your oven and garbage disposal.

#3. A microfiber cleaning cloth is another rockstar when it comes to cleaning.  The incredible capacity to hold liquid makes it ideal for wiping up spills. The microfiber also attracts dust like no other. It works wonders when dusting anything from your furniture, to your blinds, to your ceiling fans, to your baseboards.

#4. Using a pan scraper will cut cleaning time in half. It’s tough enough to get any dried up gunk off your floor, counter, or dishes but it won’t scratch the surface. Scrapers are less than $2 each and are well worth stocking up to stash in every room.

#5. A hard bristle brush will be your best friend when it comes to cleaning areas ignored too long. If you can’t get the soap scum off your shower floor, the brush should do the trick. If you need help cleaning the mud off the garage steps, this tool can help.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but these five essentials will get you started on your chemical-free journey.

Tips and Resources for Chemical Free Cleaning

I’ve found that green cleaning does require more frequent cleaning. Since there aren’t harsh chemicals to do the work for you, you have to instill good cleaning habits into your routine. It may seem like more work initially, but you’ll actually spend less time cleaning overall since it won’t take as long to do the job. Just like the process of changing eating habits, learning to clean without chemicals will take time. But it will be worth the effort!

You can visit my site, i Dream of Clean, for recipes for making your own green and chemical free cleaning solutions.

October Week 3 Action Item:OAMM Get Real Series

Each week we will try to give you some simple action steps to put this journey into practice. It is important that you start this journey by understanding yourself, your goals and perhaps your obstacles.
  1. Stock up on the five products mentioned above.
  2. Put aside your usual cleaning products for one week and use vinegar and/or baking soda for as much of your cleaning routine as possible.
  3. Let us know how it goes in the comment section!

October Get Real:

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Guest Author: Christine from i Dream of Clean and Spring Cleaning 365.