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When we clean to rid our homes of dirt and bacteria, we often use cleaning products that contain more harmful substances than what we're trying to clean.

Luckily, we don't need to use an abundance of chemicals to maintain cleanliness. Using natural products is an easy switch, and these products can provide a deep, thorough clean without the chemicals. Not only is making this change better for your health, but it's easier on the environment, too!

Here are a few tips to help you get an effective clean without the chemicals. 

 

Read the label

When switching to natural cleaning products, you should make sure that what you're purchasing really is natural. Just because a product says "natural," "eco-friendly," or "green" doesn't necessarily mean that it is. Manufacturers aren't required to disclose all of the ingredients in their cleaning products, and without a standardized definition for a "natural" cleaning product, they can often get away with using this label regardless of what's inside the bottle. 

Look for third-party logos like Green Seal and EcoLogo to ensure your new products are actually natural. It's also important to read the ingredients. Look for things like low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), neutral or mild pH, unscented, and plant- or bio-based ingredients. Recycled packaging is also a pretty good indication that the cleaner is in fact natural.

 

Make your own

DIY cleaning products are your best bet for knowing exactly what you're cleaning with. The most common natural ingredients used for cleaning include baking soda, lemon juice, white vinegar, and vegetable or olive oil, but there are lots of common household items that can get even the toughest jobs done. Click here for some great recipes to get you started. 

 

Use renewable cloths

The most common kitchen sponges are made with plastic, and sometimes treated with pesticides in order to be marketed as antibacterial. Not only are these treatments harsh on your skin and the environment, but the sponges themselves are not easily biodegradable. Paper towels are another offender, as many popular brands contain dyes, fragrances, bleach, and other harmful chemicals. Instead, pair your new natural cleaning products with old clothing, rags, or wash cloths, all of which can be washed and reused.