For most of us, house cleaning is an activity that comes with exposure to a cocktail of chemicals.
Household cleaners contain things like bleach and ammonia that we all know the dangers of, as well as chemicals with complex names that we may never have heard of. These chemicals might kill germs and leave our homes bright, shiny and sweetly scented, but they can also be hazardous to our health.
But we can keep our houses clean without using chemicals.
There are many natural substances and methods we can use to clean without exposing ourselves, our families and our guests to potential health hazards.
Here are a few terrific ‘green' house cleaning tips
* Invest in some quality microfiber cloths. They cost more than rags cut from old t-shirts, but they can be washed and reused over and over again.
A wet microfiber cloth removes dust just as well as that expensive furniture polish, leaves no build-up, and can be used on a variety of surfaces.
* Clean with steam. Steam cleaners do a fine job of removing built-up dirt from carpets. Drapes and other heavy fabrics may also be cleaned with steam.
You can even buy steam mops that will clean and disinfect hardwood floors, countertops and more. Today's steam cleaners use very little water, so there is no need to worry about long drying times.
* Look into UV-C devices. These use a specific spectrum of ultraviolet light to kill germs without the use of chemicals. UV-C technology can be found on vacuum cleaners, air sanitizers, and wands.
* Replace your bleach with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide does essentially the same thing as bleach, but it is much milder and safer.
You can use it in the laundry when washing whites and on surfaces that you would normally clean with bleach. It can even be used to kill toxic mold.
* Keep baking soda on hand. Baking soda is a common kitchen staple, but it can also be used to clean all sorts of things. It excels at eliminating odors and removing stains.
It makes a wonderful scrub for pots, pans, and countertops. And it can be used in the washing machine and dishwasher. If you keep baking soda in your refrigerator or freezer to absorb odors, you can even reuse it.
* Clean with vinegar. Vinegar can be used on almost any surface, and it kills bacteria, germs, and most mold.
Mix it with water to clean windows and mirrors, pour it down the drain after baking soda to unclog drains and use it for hard-to-clean items such as coffee pots and dishwashers to sanitize and deodorize.
Cleaning without chemicals doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. Steam cleaners and UV-C devices require an initial investment, but they will eventually pay for themselves since they do not require cleaning solutions.
And items that you probably already have in your home can take care of most of your cleaning needs. You can easily start a chemical-free housekeeping routine right now.