A good first place to start greening your home is by changing your cleaning products. Take, for example, Valerie Meffert, 33, of Portsmouth, RI, who saw firsthand the benefits of using less abrasive cleansers. She grew up in a household where Clorox was used everyday. “My mother and grandmother are both extremely clean—almost sterile—people, and while our floors and counters glistened, I can’t help wondering what effect it had on my system. I have terrible allergies and can’t remember a single day growing up that I did not sneeze,” Valerie says.
“After the birth of our second child—and realizing that my first child had allergic reactions similar to mine—I threw out all of my ‘industrial’ cleaners,” she remembers. Valerie switched to Seventh Generation and Method, two brands that use natural ingredients and are free of harsh chemicals. She has noticed a marked improvement in her and her son’s allergies.
You’ll likely find, as Valerie did, that much of what’s under your sink and in the garage contain harsh, abrasive ingredients that are either carcinogenic or rough on your respiratory system. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, consider replacing them with gentler natural cleansers like vinegar, baking soda and lemon oil. There are also other commercial organic brands on the market, like Mrs. Meyer’s and Ecover, which offer everything you need for cleaning the house.