Products used to clean floors, carpets, bathrooms, and other building elements often contain harmful chemicals that can have serious human health effects and contaminate water supplies, fish and wildlife if they are poured down drains, circulated through ventilation systems, or disposed of outdoors. Environmental damage can also occur during the development, manufacture, and transport of these products. That’s why most of them are considered Household Hazardous Waste (in French).

Fortunately, biodegradable and non-toxic alternatives can significantly reduce or eliminate these impacts altogether while providing the same level of cleanliness.

You can easily make your very own biodegradable, non-toxic yet fully useful eco-cleaners (.pdf in French) using vinegar, borax, baking soda and soap. One of our favourite all-purpose recipes : mix 60 ml (1/4 cup) of vinegar, 15ml (1 table spoon) of borax and 15ml (1 table spoon) of natural vegetable based liquid soap.  Add one litre of hot water, mix and pour into a spray bottle.

You can also buy pre-made products from specialized stores, or some department stores and can even find made in Quebec eco-cleaners. Look for products that have been certified by third-party programs like Canada’s EcoLogo.

Remember, though, that either you go with industrial or homemade eco-friendly cleaning products, a good rule of thumb is to finish what you already have at home. Throwing out usable products, even those that may be chemical-heavy, is a waste of every resources that were put into the processing of the products. If you have serious health concerns – say you have developed an intolerance – try giving them away! And if there’s really nothing else you can do, drop them at a nearby Eco-center or keep them for the seasonal drop-offs, so their disposal won’t harm the environment as much flushing them down the sink.

Now you’re on for a good eco-friendly scrubbing session!

More links :

    • This link gives you tips on what to look for when you shop for cleaning product to reduce your impact on the environment : Click here!
    • There you will find 6 easy recipes to clean everything in your house from stainless steel to glass and mirror : Click here!
    • If you want to engage in the global discussion on green cleaning : Click here!.
    • If you want more recipes, you will find some here : Click here!
    • If you want to know how to get rid of ants: click here!