Green cleaners can keep us safer as we strive to keep our homes and work spaces cleaner for ourselves and others.

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, cleanliness is next to godliness. There’s a proven connection between how clean your home may be and your risks for allergies, asthma and illness viruses or bacteria. Having a clean home—or work space if you’re on the frontlines as an essential employee—is an important tool to help prevent infection from coronavirus.

Green Cleaners to the Rescue

According to the CDC, green cleaning is an “effective way” to clean while also saving money. In New York City, the Department of Health is working with building owners to implement green cleaning after learning how using less toxic cleansers actually creates healthier conditions for residents with asthma, allergies or emphysema. The Department of Health observed reduced bouts of asthma and other respiratory ailments among janitors, who typically experience more work-related asthma than others as an occupational hazard.

You won’t get that pungent “boiled in bleach clean” smell from green cleansers, but the science is proving eco-friendly cleaners are just as effective, if not more so. When shopping for eco-friendly green cleaning products, look for certifications on the label including “Safer Choice” from the EPA, “Green Seal” and “EcoLogo” as the most common certifications on safer products now for sale. Or make your own!

Green Cleaners for Every Use

1 cup of hot water

1 cup of vinegar—look for cleaning vinegar which is slightly stronger

Add lemon rind or rosemary sprigs for fragrance as desired

All-purpose disinfectant

Let the lemon and rosemary diffuse for a week, then spray and wipe to clean and disinfect. Avoid natural stone counters like granite or quartz, which may “etch” when acids like lemon or vinegar are applied.

Safely clean countertops and stainless steel with a mix of warm water (1 quart) and 4 tablespoons of baking soda.

Heavy degreaser

Add 1/2 cup of ammonia to enough warm water to fill a 1 gallon container; shake to make sudsy and apply with a sponge to your range, stove top, oven and oven racks. Add a little extra ammonia for heavy grease and grime

Glass cleaner

Mix equal parts isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol at 70% concentration, white, cider or cleaning vinegar and water—depending on what you need, start with a 1/2 cup of each or 1 cup of each ingredient. Add 1-2 drops of orange essential oil to add a nice fragrance to the room.

Swish together in a reusable spray bottle for clear, clean, shiny glass.

If you enjoyed our green cleaners articles, maybe you will also enjoy How to Create an Eco-Friendly Nursery


Carolyn Davis Cockey, MLS, LCCE, is founding editor of Healthy Mom&Baby, Senior Director of Partnerships & Publications at AWHONN, and a Lamaze-certified childbirth educator in Sarasota, FL.

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