Eco-friendly cleaning tips in honour of Earth Day – National

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Part of my job as a cleaning expert is to constantly be on the lookout for ways to clean that are safer for my family and the environment and spread the word. To my surprise, eco-friendly cleaning products have come a long way since the early aughts when they first came on the scene, so we don’t have to compromise on performance the way we once did. We can also change our cleaning habits to make the process more environmentally friendly. Here are some of my favorite tips and product swaps for making cleaning at home more eco-friendly.
Dryer ballsDryer balls are designed to cut static and help speed up drying time. This is because they bounce around and help push residual moisture out of clothing as it spins in the dryer. They can also help to remove wrinkles and fluff up clothing.  Story continues below advertisement

When it comes to dryer balls there are different options to choose from. Plastic dryer balls like these ones are good for synthetic fibers. Think polyester, acrylic, spandex, microfiber, etc. Check your care labels – it’s always good to know what your clothing is made of so you can wash and dry accordingly.

 

Wool dryer balls are good for natural fibers like cotton. Aim for at least two dryer balls in each cycle – and be prepared for some noise!

 Consider a DIY cleanerBuying cleaner adds up. Let’s say you buy all-purpose cleaner at the store, and you buy a new bottle every two weeks. That’s 24 bottles a year that will end up in the recycling or landfill. If you chose to make an all-purpose cleaner at home, you’ll be saving so many resources. And it’s easy! Story continues below advertisement

I use two cups of water and half a teaspoon of dish soap. This concentrated option will last you for months.

 

If you want your product scented, add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil.

 

And don’t forget the bottle to mix it all together!

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 Swap paper towel for microfiberPaper towels are definitely a must-have at home for certain tasks (hello, wiping down the toilet), but there are ways we can cut down on their use. Swap them out for reusable cloths whenever possible—ones that can be laundered and are conveniently located so you can quickly grab them.

I have swapped my cleaning cloths for microfiber so that way I can wash and reuse. Another perk? There’s no lint left behind after I clean. I still use paper towel, but we can greatly reduce how much of it we use by making this simple change.

 

I’ve also traded my paper napkins for microfiber ones and I’ve never looked back.

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 Stop using tinfoil and parchment paperScrubbing cookie sheets and baking pans after you’re done in the kitchen is a job and a half. Rather than using disposable parchment paper or tinfoil, consider swapping them out for these easy-to-clean silicone liners. 

These are reusable, and food pops off them with ease. Just clean with dish soap and water, dry and store. 

 Wash with cold waterAbout 90 per cent of the energy the washing machine uses goes towards heating the water. According to the Sierra Club, every household that switches to cold water washing could eliminate about 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Further to that point, hot water washing ages clothes – which means it stresses the fabrics and makes the colours look dull. Story continues below advertisement

 

Your clothes will get just as clean in cold water, make sure you’re using a good quality detergent that is designed for cold water washing and you’ll be helping your clothes and the planet. 

 

There are also refillable options that work really well. This option is vegan, plant based, and unscented.

 

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No more single-use hand soap pumps!Not only do they look nicer, but swapping out plastic single-use hand soap pumps for beautiful reusable options also lets you customize your space and reduce waste. I do this at home and I much prefer this option. Story continues below advertisement

I like brands with soap available in a plastic bags, or bag-lined boxes with a spigot. They’re easy to store and use significantly less plastic. This is such an easy swap to do!

 

You can choose liquid or foam soap, too, which I really like. Just make sure you get the correct pump and liquid. 

 

Then comes the fun part, picking your new bottle! There are so many options to choose from. This sleek glass option is for foaming soap.

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This option is made of high-quality thick glass and has some nice detailing.

 

For liquid soap, this stainless-steel Oxo Good Grips is a reliable option. It has a no-slip base and you can dispense with use one hand.

 

You can have fun with this clear glass pump. It has a rust proof stainless-steel pump and a blank wooden tag so you can make it your own.

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This modern farmhouse-style pump is a great addition to any home. You can even fill it with your favorite body wash and keep it in the shower.

 Rinse once and once only when cleaningBreaking this habit can be tough, and I bet many of our readers aren’t even aware they’re doing it! When we clean something, we often rinse it to “check” if it’s clean, and if it’s not, we just start the cleaning process all over again. This wastes a significant amount of water. Instead, consider adopting a “one rinse” policy. Whether you’re cleaning a pot, a pan, a sink, or a shower, delaying rinsing until the very end can save a lot of water.

Check if your cleaning work is done by visually inspecting the thing you’re cleaning, or use your hand to ‘feel’ the surface and see if the mess is gone. Wearing rubber gloves when cleaning is a great way to protect your hands – especially when you’ll be feeling for grit, texture and slip on a surface. I always feel like when I wear rubber gloves when cleaning, they give me superpowers!

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