10.

eco-friendly cleaning tips & best practices

Regardless of whether you have decided to make your own green cleaning products or if you wish to purchase non-toxic household agents from reputable green cleaning organisations, here are some of our eco-friendly cleaning tips and best practices. Homeowners and landlords alike can adopt these tried and trusted techniques to improve the air quality and cleanliness of their properties in a quick, easy, and environmentally friendly manner.

Leave stubborn stains to soak: Patience is a virtue; especially when it comes to green cleaning. One of the best ways to save money on cleaning products and prevent yourself from having to resort to using harsh toxic cleaning agents is to simply leave stubborn spots, marks and dried in stains to soak in hot water or a vinegar/ lemon/ baking soda infused cleaning solution. This patient process will enable the chemical compounds, fatty acids and debris that comprises these stains to breakdown and be removed far more easily without rubbing them further into the affected area. Rather than relying on harsh carpet cleaners and furniture polish, sometimes all stains need is a little TLC, overnight soaking and a damp cloth or sponge in the morning to wipe the stain away. No elbow grease or toxic chemicals needed.

Replace your vacuum with a wooden broom: Purchasing a wooden broom fitted with natural bristles can pick up more dirt and debris than a conventional vacuum cleaner. Simply sweep the carpet with a dustpan and brush to pick up dirt. Moreover, if your carpet has dents resulting from heavy furniture, you can quickly and easily remedy this problem by placing an ice cube into the dent and leaving it to soak in. Once melted, the ice cube will revitalise the carpet fibres and cause them to fluff up once more.

Use newspapers to polish mirrors and windows: Who would use an expensive window cleaner when all you need can be found for a few pence at your local newsagents? Crumple up a few pieces of newspaper, dip them in a small amount of vinegar and warm water, then rub in a circular motion to remove unsightly spots from windows and mirrors. After removing all spots, rub in a vertical motion from top to bottom, then repeat horizontally with a dry sheet of newspaper. Take a step back and admire your squeaky clean reflection.

Cleaning your oven hob: If you are a landlord struggling with stubborn stains in hard to reach corners of your property's kitchen hob, then rather than replacing it and spending additional funds hiring a cleaner, why not mix up some baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar and warm water, placing them across your oven hob. Leave to soak in overnight them scrub off in the morning and buff dry with a cotton cloth for a sparkling kitchen counter.

Ventilate your home on a regular basis: Many homeowners and landlords rely upon expensive humidifiers, air conditioning units and toxic aerosol solutions to ventilate their properties. However, there is a whole world of fresh air just beyond your window panes. Open all the windows in your home on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to enable fresh air to efficiently ventilate your home and thus benefit from improved indoor air quality.

Minimising dust spores: If you, your family or your tenants suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions then dust can be a substantial hindrance to your daily life. A great way to remedy this problem is to remove all the clutter which accumulates dust. By having a spring clean on a monthly basis and by tidying away shoes into an under-the-stairs closet, books onto shelves and magazines into allocated racks, you can prevent fine dust and dirt particles from accumulating and circulating in the air.

Use eco-friendly cleaning sponges and cloths: In addition to purchasing or making your own green cleaning products, it is also strongly recommended that you invest in some environmentally conscious cleaning appliances. After all, the majority of household sponges are made from polyester and plastic. Not only are these materials non-biodegradable but they are also often treated with triclosan, which can produce carcinogenic gases when placed in contact with the chlorine found in tap water. Alternatively, the cellulose sponges and 100% cotton cloths which can be found online or at natural food stores are biodegradable and have excellent cleaning capabilities. Moreover, natural cellulose sponges are more absorbent than man-made alternatives, not to mention they are non-toxic, reusable and biodegradable. Leave them to soak in a home-made cleaning solution after use to benefit from eco-friendly cleaning sponges and cloths for many years to come.

Always avoid commercial oven and drain cleaner solutions: Even if you find that you cannot use 100% green cleaning products then there are at least a few chemicals which you should always refrain from using. Ammonia, chlorine and petroleum based oven and drain cleaners are the most toxic household cleaning agents which can cause headaches, skin irritation and respiratory complaints even when used in moderation. As such, if you can’t convert completely to green cleaning then at least make sure you replace these products with gentler alternatives.

Work your way from the top down: Always leave your floors and carpets as the last place in your home to clean. This is due to the fact that the dust from your window blinds, shelves and surfaces will fall onto the ground whilst cleaning, so it is better to clean it all up once the dust, dirt and debris has settled than having to go round again.

Wash filthy dusters, cloths and sponges: Many homeowners take one look at dishcloths after an extensive spring clean and then throw them away. However, you can restore your cleaning cloths and dusters to their former glory by placing them in the washing machine with a green cleaning laundry detergent. After a few spins, your cleaning cloths, towels and sponges will be ready to use once more; thereby saving you and the environment valuable resources.

The benefits of beeswax: Honey doesn't just taste great - it can work wonders for your furniture too. Purchasing a tub of natural beeswax polish from an eco-friendly source or finding a mix of carnauba wax and lavender oil is great for tired furnishings. Rub on, leave for 30 minutes and then buff it off to be presented with fresh, fragrant furnishings.

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