We’re often told to buy cleaners in bulk to save on packaging, but it’s not always practical and doable to keep a gallon-size jug of dish soap by the sink. A clear plastic condiment bottle left over from the last BBQ easily dispenses with the problem. 1. Soak an old squeezable bottle in hot water to clean off the label and remove any food residue, then let air dry. 2. Add soap; refill as needed. Eco Chic and very sensible for you and your home.
Use dishwasher soap without phosphates or chlorineor nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE), which mimics estrogen and has been known to feminize male fish in waters where humans dump our waste. Use a biodegradable and nontoxic soap.
General Cleaning-Ideally, the best way to reduce your exposure to chemicals is to get rid of all the chemicals in your home and replace them with chemical-free cleaners
Conventional drain cleaners contain toxic chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide. Pour equal parts baking soda, white vinegar, and boiling water down the drain. Let sit for half an hour before rinsing. Or try a natural drain cleaner with essential oils.
Along with containing less water, concentrate cleaners require less packaging and less energy to produce, says Paul McRandle of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner; use it straight for tough jobs, or dilute it with water. Tea-tree oil is a natural fungicide and can help disinfect surfaces — mix 2 teaspoons with 2 cups water. To whiten stained tiles or grout, use a mixture of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup water.All of these solutions can be sprayed onto a surface, allowed to dry, then wiped with a damp cloth.
Vinegar works well on soap scum and mineral deposits, but rinse thoroughly, as it can corrode some fixtures and etch glaze on tiles. You can also try tea tree oil — 2 drops tea tree oil with 1 cup water — in a spray bottle. A natural antiseptic and fungicide, tea tree oil costs more than vinegar but will kill most types of mold and help prevent growth; as with all concentrated oils, it should be used with caution, as it can trigger allergic reactions if it comes into contact with skin.
Your laundry will smell fresh, not cloying, with Scented Natural Blue Eucalyptus Lavender Detergent by Seventh Generation. And many concentrated, natural laundry detergents also come in larger sizes to save you money and reduce packaging in our landfills.