Start with these easy (and eco-friendly) tips.

By Katie Holdefehr
July 24, 2020
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Maybe you want to cut down on all the paper towel rolls your household runs through each week, or perhaps you want to avoid chemical-filled cleaning sprays around your new pet. For the health of both your household and the environment, there are plenty of reasons to want to adopt a greener cleaning routine. The hard part is figuring out where to start. Here are five steps you can take—including easy tips you can try today—to make your cleaning habits more eco-friendly.

One mini move you can start right away: check the labels on the cleaning products you buy (and learn more about what they mean). Take a look at the sprays, scrubs, and disinfecting wipes in your cleaning caddy and see if any of them have "ecolabels," such as the Green Seal or ECOLOGO. Then, check out the active ingredients in each product. 

If you decide it's time to rethink your go-to products, check out some of these greener alternatives

RELATED: Here's What "Green" Cleaning Product Labels Really Mean

 

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We're looking at you, paper towel roll. And you, stinky kitchen sponge. If your cleaning routine involves a lot of disposables, here are some easy swaps. 

Instead of paper towels, try washable and reusable cleaning cloths. Or how about a Swedish dishcloth? Use it to wipe down counters or stainless steel appliances—and when it needs a refresh, just pop it in the dishwasher or laundry. 

In place of the sponge you have to throw away once a week, opt for durable bristle brushes and my personal favorite: these sturdy pan scrapers

Ready to devote a little more time to your green cleaning efforts? Try mixing up your own cleaning scrubs and solutions, so you'll know exactly what's in them (and more importantly, what's not in them). 

Here are 10 of our home director Stephanie Sisco's favorite all-natural solutions, from a degreaser made from lemons, to a baking soda sink scrub. 

RELATED: 66 All-Natural Cleaning Solutions That Really Work

In addition to checking for ecolabels on your laundry detergent, you can also skip the fabric softener sheets. The residue they leave behind isn't great for your dryer—and the fragrances aren't the best for the environment (or your lungs).

Instead, stock up on natural wool dryer balls, which can help speed up drying time. And if the weather is nice, consider giving your dryer the day off by line-drying sheets or towels. 

RELATED: 5 Chemical-Free Ways to Spiff Up Your Laundry

Want a simple way to green your cleaning routine that doesn't require a chemistry degree? Simply skip the fragrances—in cleaning sprays, detergents, air fresheners—whenever possible.

Synthetic fragrances oftentimes contain a group of chemicals called phthalates, which can trigger asthma in children, according to studies.

Miss the "just cleaned" scent? Introduce more fresh lemons into your cleaning routine or try natural essential oils instead.