The beginning of school is the perfect time to wipe the slate clean — literally. Even if cleaning isn’t your favorite pastime, a spotless living space can help keep stress and mental clutter at bay.
But what if we told you that most cleaning products leave harmful chemicals in their wake — chemicals that do more damage than the dirt they swiped away?
Here’s the unfortunate truth: Lurking in conventional cleaning products are carcinogens, neurotoxins, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) like Chlorine, Ammonia, coal tar dyes and monoethanalomine. Individually, these chemicals are linked to respiratory problems, reproductive harm, cancer, indoor and outdoor air pollution and other serious issues. Combined, they’re an unsavory cocktail indeed.
To make matters worse, manufacturers aren’t required to disclose ingredients on labels, so it’s impossible to know what ingredients may be lurking in their products. And you can bet that the less information they make available, the more harmful the ingredients are likely to be.
So how can you green your cleaning routine? There are plenty of non-toxic, biodegradable, and effective cleaning products out there, you just have to know where to look. Transparency is key — buy products from companies that are up front about ingredients and business practices. It’s also super simple (and cheap!) to make your own cleaning products from common items like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. Check out the Bronner Mom blog and the TG Clean Pinterest board to find some great DIY recipes that really work.
Download TG’s Back-to-School Checklist here.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a collection of some of our favorite cleaning products made by some of the most ethical companies on the planet. Use these in your dorm room and you’ll be clean, green, and chemical-free!
Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Pure-Castile Soaps are good for just about any cleaning task. Face, body, hair & food, dishes, laundry, mopping, pets- clean your house and body with no synthetic preservatives, detergents or foaming agents. It is made with organic and certified fair trade ingredients, packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soaps are biodegradable, vegan, gentle and versatile- made perfect for washing body, face or hair. They are made with certified fair trade ingredients and organic hemp oil for a soft, smooth lather that won’t dry your skin. Soap bars are packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled wrapper.
Coconut-derived cleansers gently and effectively clean hands while the Herbal Blend of Chamomile, Calendula, Aloe and White Tea extracts keeps them soft and smooth. The combination of Lemon and Mandarin Orange essential oils gives this bubbly soap its fresh scent. This product is Non-GMO, free of sodium laureth sulfate and synthetic fragrances, and it is packaged in a recycled bottle.
This hand sanitizer is 99.9% effective against most common germs without any of the harsh ingredients found in many hand sanitizers. They’re made with gmo-free alcohol and pure essential oils while vegetable glycerin and vitamin E keep hands soft, even with repeated use. Always triclosan-free, benzalkonium chloride free, cruelty-free, gluten-fre, gmo-free, synthetic color & dye free, and synthetic fragrance free.
Made with USDA Certified Organic ingredients and bottled using sustainable, recyclable, sugar cane, this detergent has tough stain fighting power with color protection without adding phosphates and petrochemicals. It is effective in both HE and standard machines, on both colors and whites, and is perfect for people with sensitive skin and allergies. It will leave your laundry smelling fresh and clean without added fragrances.
Soap nuts can be used in place of laundry detergent as a sustainable way to clean your clothes. Soap nuts can be used by placing four soap nuts into an all natural wash bag, and can be used for several washes. They are anti bacterial, anti microbial, anti fungal, biodegradable, compostable, non toxic, fragrance free, and hypoallergenic.
A natural alternative to toxic dryer sheets, wool dryer balls are natural, sustainable, biodegradable and durable. These dryer balls will soften your clothes while reducing dryer time. LooHoo supports American sheep farmers and the Farming Industry by sourcing from a historic wool mill in Camden, Maine.
This is an organic cotton laundry tote with sturdy canvas carry handles, a reinforced bottom and a washable, water-resistant lining. Perfect to carry your laundry to the laundry room!
This 100% organic cotton towel is made without harmful coatings, dyes, plastics and chemicals to make sure you get a healthier, BPA-free clean. These towels are made to be long-lasting, created with compostable and renewable resources.
This layered cellulose sponge is designed to clean tall glasses. Brush head is replaceable and the handle is made of bamboo and recycled plastic. The spongehead is BPA plastic free and biodegradable. A sustainable alternative to a traditional sponge that will clean tough places to reach.
It’s easy to be good with this little helper leading the charge. From using BPA-free recycled plastic to a non toxic coating on the bamboo handle, you can rest assured this scrub brush will give your dishes that extra sparkle without the harmful chemicals.
This reusable scrubber will clean dishes, stovetops, counters, fridges, sinks, vegetables, and more. It is made from cotton and a food grade non-toxic hardener that will outlast traditional scrubbers, saving money and limiting waste.
Mix 3 parts filtered water, 1 part Spectrum Organic Vinegar, and 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice into a spray bottle to use as an all purpose cleaner. Optionally, you can add a few drops of your favorite EO Products essential oil. Add baking soda to make a great scrub. This simple cleaner will cut grease, deodorize, and disinfect. For more easy recipes, check out Lisa Bronner’s blog.
Stay tuned to TG’s Instagram (@turninggreenorg) — every Thursday morning until Aug. 31 at 8 a.m. PT, we’re gifting a fabulous Back-to-School #GreenThursday Giveaway (valued at more than $300). Like our Giveaway and could end up winning a #GreenThursday Essential Back-to-School Package!
Want to dive more deeply into living green this Fall? Sign up now for Project Green Challenge 2017 starting on October 1: https://projectgreenchallenge.com/