Have you thought about green cleaning and making your own products, but haven’t quite made the leap yet? Maybe you think it’s too difficult? Too expensive? Takes up too much time? Isn’t effective? Whatever the reason, you’re sure to change your mind after reading these 10 compelling reasons to make your own homemade eco-friendly cleaning products.
Check them out and get started today! You’ll be glad you did.
1. They’re Inexpensive
Considering most cleaning products usually cost anywhere from $2 to $10 a bottle or even more in some cases, making your own for pennies really does make a difference over time. For example, instead of buying commercial soft scrub cleanser for around $1.75 – $7.50 per pound (based on the current price of Soft Scrub Lemon Total All-Purpose Kitchen and Bath Cleanser and Better Life Kitchen Sink Cleansing Scrub at Walmart), you can make several pounds of your own earth-friendly cream cleanser for around $1 – 2 per pound easily, especially when buying ingredients in bulk. Check out my recipe here.
Another great example of how cheap homemade green cleaners can be is DIY all-purpose spray cleaners, such as a vinegar-water spray. Making your own vinegar-water spray costs well under a $1 and also saves you money in that you can use it instead of buying separate products for cleaning bathroom surfaces, countertops, stainless steel, tile, and more.
2. They’re Easy to Make
Most homemade cleaners require just a couple ingredients and some can be “made” using just one. For example, baking soda is as an eco-friendly powder cleanser substitute and a great laundry booster, and vinegar is a natural fabric softener, so literally no extra time is involved to use them. But if you want to step things up a notch, you can also add to these simple ingredients and use them to make other natural cleaners. For example, mixing in some essential oils and water to vinegar makes an effective and aromatherapeutic multi-purpose cleaning spray that will practically clean your house from top to bottom. This recipe for one with cinnamon essential oil is especially great at combatting e-coli — a big plus when cleaning the kitchen or bathroom.
3. You Probably Already Have the Ingredients at Home
If you’ve got vinegar, baking soda, and some water you’re ready to get started with green cleaning! Lemons, limes, salt, vodka, and corn starch are some other ingredients that work wonders as well. And sometimes even ketchup, wine, and tea come in handy. Many green cleaning books on the market detail all their uses, but I cover many of them here on the Well Gal blog and also on GreenCleaning.About.com. Peruse the archives and check out how awesome these simple ingredients can be for cleaning your home naturally and safely.
4. They Work!
I’ve found that using natural cleaners work amazingly well and just as good as or better than conventional cleaners. For example, a baking soda-water paste is a great oven cleaner and easily remove stains and sticky messes like burnt-on cheese, sugars, and starches. No toxic oven cleaner needed. And no nasty fumes! (Tip: Make a gloppy paste and leave it on for several minutes or even overnight.)
5. They’re 100% Natural
When you make your own homemade cleaners you’re able to leave out things like synthetic colorants, artificial fragrances, non-sustainable ingredients (e.g., petroleum derived ingredients), toxic chemicals, and more.
6. You Know What’s in Them
Of course, one huge benefit of making your own green cleaners is that you control what goes in them. No guessing at ingredients. This is really helpful because a lot of companies are still not transparent about what goes in their products as they are not required by the law to do so. So, you don’t always know what you’re getting when you buy products, but making your own gives you control over what you are using in your home and consequently what you may inadvertently be breathing in or absorbing through your skin.
7. You Can Modify Them
If you love a certain fragrance, say grapefruit, it’s easy to add that to all your cleaning products by simply investing in a bottle of grapefruit essential oil for under $10 or so. It will last you for months to come. Or, if you or your loved ones have allergies and you simply want unscented products, then it’s easy to make them fragrance-free.
8. They’re Safer than Conventional Cleaning Products
Many commercial cleaning products on the market contain a medley of harmful ingredients that are carcinogens, mutagens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, and more. For example, optical brighteners, which are found in laundry detergents and other products like makeup, can cause skin sensitivity, reproductive issues, and developmental effects. You can say goodbye to these issues when using eco-friendly ingredients at home for doing your laundry, such as liquid castile soap (a friendly DIY laundry detergent substitute), baking soda (a great laundry booster), and vinegar (a safe natural fabric “softener”).
Also, when you make your own cleaning products, you’ll have the benefit of contributing to healthier indoor air — an important consideration for not only your health, but that of your family and pets as well. In An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out how Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in many products, such as cleaning products and paint, make indoor air much more polluted than outdoor air. So when making your own products this is definitely something you can have control over.
9. They’re Eco-Friendly
When you make your own green cleaning products, you can be sure to include ingredients that are not only safe, but earth friendly. The basic ingredients used in most homemade green cleaning products (e.g., vinegar, baking soda, lemons) are easily biodegradable and don’t negatively impact ecosystems, wildlife, or aquatic life. This, unfortunately, is often not the case when you buy conventional cleaning products as they’re often made with unsustainable ingredients (e.g., petroleum based ingredients) and with those that have dire environmental effects.
10. They Can Make Cleaning Easier
How (you might skeptically be thinking)? Well, when you make your own cleaning products, you’ll discover that often you just need a couple to tackle a range of cleaning jobs. So, instead of carting around a bin full of conventional cleaners, you just need two or three of your homemade cleaners — max. For example, with a simple DIY vinegar-water spray, you can tackle mold and mildew, windows, stove tops, floors, grease, counter tops (that aren’t marble), and more.
So what do you think?
Are you currently using simple ingredients for green cleaning or making your own eco-friendly products at home? If so, what is your motivation for doing so? If not, might you try making your own DIY green cleaning products now? Why or why not?
Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2012-2015. All rights reserved.
Photo © Karen Peltier.