It’s that time of year again where we’re all in need of a fresh start. And for many households, that means a deep clean.
In fact, according to the 2019 National Cleaning Survey, as many as 77% of households do a ‘Spring Clean’ every year, and the average spring clean can take almost a week!
But while everyone loves having a clean home, and some people love cleaning, few people research the impact their cleaning products have on their health, and on the environment.
That’s why we’ve created this article to outline the pros and cons of a range of eco-friendly cleaning options, both homemade and store bought. We’ve also written reviews of some of the market-leading green cleaning products, so you know which brand is perfect for your home and your lifestyle, and where you can purchase them.
So Why Should You Use ‘Green’ Cleaning Products?
In the modern world, the necessity of living in a clean environment can prove to be problematic.
While our environments have to be clean to sustain good physical and mental health, modern-day cleaning products are full of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxic pollutants which can exacerbate asthma, irritate the eyes or throat, cause headaches, and even contribute to the development of certain cancers.
And as for the environment? Well, all these toxic chemicals go into the water source – meaning that they come back in our shower water, drinking water, and even in our food.
Green Cleaning Options
There are two main options when it comes to ‘green’ cleaning products, with pros and cons for each.
• Cheaper than shop-bought products
• You know exactly what’s going
• Require time and effort to produce
• Some research may be needed to make the homemade products correctly
• Natural substances are not completely free from reactions. They may react with chemical products to make toxic substances (for example, vinegar and bleach make Chlorine gas). You should research the potential reactions before creating your own products
• It may take some trial and error before you find out what works
If you do decide to make your own products, there are a few things to be aware of.
• As mentioned, do not mix bleach and vinegar as this creates Chlorine gas, and the same goes for bleach and lemon juice. Similarly, bleach and ammonia make Chloramine gas, which is toxic and can be deadly
• Don’t mix acids and alkalis together – they will neutralise each other, reducing the efficacy of your cleaner
• Mix ingredients in a well-ventilated room – this helps to reduce the impact of any potential fumes
• Label and store the products out of the reach of children
With these warnings out of the way, let’s look at some formulas for easily accessible, natural cleaning products that can be created and used around the home!
Homemade Washing Up Liquid
3 tbsp Castile soap (liquid or grated)
2 cups warm water
2 tsp glycerine
2 tbsp white vinegar
10 drops lavender essential oil (antibacterial) or lemongrass (antimicrobial and antifungal)
Mix all the ingredients together, and thin with warm water to the desired consistency.
Homemade Laundry Detergent
2.5 kg Dri-Pak Borax Substitute
2kg Soda Crystals
500g Bicarbonate of soda
3 bars Castile soap, grated
35 drops of your essential oil of choice
Homemade Multipurpose Cleaner
(suitable for kitchen surfaces, floors, bathrooms etc.)
1/4 cup of white vinegar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 litre of hot water
1/2 a lemon
1. Mix vinegar, baking soda, and hot water in a bucket or large bowl.
2. Juice the lemon and add it to the bucket with the rind.
3. Stir well to dissolve the baking soda and allow to cool.
Ready-Made Commercial Products
• Instantly available
• Easy to research which products are good through using online reviews etc.
• There may be ‘hidden’ ingredients
• The extra packaging may be worse for the environment
• They are more likely to react with other chemicals
If you decide that using commercial products is more convenient and reliable for you and your home, there are several options on the market.
Our Top 3 Green Cleaning Brands:
Most Accessible: Ecover
Ecover is one of the most affordable and effective green brands out there.
They use PlantPlastic, a plant-based polyethylene, and recycled plastic, to make all their packaging – this reduces the CO2 emissions of the production process.
Ecover products are also made with 100% natural scents, while offering an unscented line for sensitive skin. Available in most supermarkets, and at a reasonable price point, Ecover is a cheap and easy eco-friendly option.
Best Deal: Method Home
Like Ecover, Method Home is affordable and easy to find. Also like Ecover, all their packaging is eco-friendly, recycled, ethically-sourced, B Corp approved, and from a LEED Certified Facility.
Most Ethical: Greenscents
Although Ecover and Method are the easiest eco-friendly cleaning products to find in supermarkets, they were both taken over in 2017 by the brand SC Johnson, who are known to test their products on animals.
Greenscents, however, use recycled packaging made from sugar cane waste, which is 100% recyclable, contains 100% plant-based ingredients, uses local water from Exmoor, and is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Greenscents products are slightly more difficult to get hold of, however, with the best buying options being via online shopping, or through the online supermarket Ocado.