One Step to a Greener Cleaner Home

homemade vs. commercial all purpose cleaner

Reason 1: Safer for you, your family, your pets, and your environment.
Take a look at the ingredients in both cleaners; the ingredients that make up the homemade cleaner are items you are probably familiar with or have heard of before. Now take a look at the commercial cleaner; the ingredients here are not so familiar to the average person, unless you are a chemist. Now just because you may or may not be familiar with an ingredient in no way implies that it is more or less hazardous to you or your environment. A closer look at ingredients will always give you a better perspective on their hazardous effects or lack there of, see links below for more information.

Reason 2: It will save you money.
receiptThe ingredients listed on the left will make up thirty two bottles of cleaning solution and enough leftover borax to keep your bathtub clean for quite some time. That equals out to less then a $1.00 per bottle. If you went to the store today and bought a bottle of commercial cleaning solution, it would cost you on average $4.49. If you bought 32 bottles, it would cost you $143.68.


Reason 3: Your human footprint will be less.
Do you ever wonder what impact your lifestyle has on the earth’s natural resources? Let’s say the average household will use 8 bottles of cleaning solution a year. That might be less if you live alone and more if you have a large family. Take a look at 12 years worth of cleaning solution:
(Based on an average of 8 bottles of cleaning solution per year.)cleaner

Sure, you can try and justify buying cleaners at stores by saying that you will be recycling the used cleaner bottles.

However when calculating your impact you will need to include:
• Pollution from the production plant that produces the cleaning supply and bottles.
• Pollution from the transportation to deliver the product to the store you will purchase it from.
• Pollution from your transportation to the store to purchase the product.
(Unless you walked or rode your bike!)
• If you were given a plastic bag at the store to carry your product.
• If there was a plastic seal on your product that you had to dispose of to open the product
(remember, plastic has no definite life span, as we know it, plastic is forever).
• The toxic chemicals you are spraying in your home that are finding their way into the air, water and soil.

Now when you are finished with the cleaner, and you dispose of it, you can recycle it (which would be preferred) or throw it out.

If you throw it out you will have to add:
• The waste of the trash bag you disposed of it in.
• The pollution from the transportation from the garbage truck.
• The space you took in a landfill where your plastic bottle will remain forever.

If you recycle it, you still have to consider:
• The transportation to the recycling center.
• The pollution from the recycling plant to melt down the plastics.

As of now, I still have not found anywhere to recycle the spray nozzles, so there is a chance that they will have to be discarded, only adding to our growing landfills. Your human footprint from the homemade cleaning solution is substantially less. Packaging from the ingredients are recyclable. There is still a human footprint that will add strain to earth’s resources, but as the above graphic displays, it is a far less impact then the store bought choice. Remember this is only a 12 year estimate, think of your usage through out you whole life, and then think of the usage of everyone you know. That is an insane amount of waste and pollution that could be reduced dramatically and we are focusing only on cleaning supplies.

You have the reasons now, so go ahead and start making a difference on your environment, wallet, and health.

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner:

32 oz. spray bottle
1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons of castile soap (Bronners)
2 teaspoons of borax
10 drops of your favorite essential oil
4 cups of warm water

Zhiwen Yuan and Jeanne M. VanBriesen and. Environmental Engineering Science. May/June 2006, 23(3): 533-544. doi:10.1089/ees.2006.23.533.

Household Product Database:
Household Product Database

Pesticide Database:
Pesticide Database

Hidden Dangers of Cleaning Products:
Mama’s Health 

Healthy Cleaning

Guide to Less Toxic Products:
Less Toxic Guide 

Environmental Working Group

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