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Eco-friendly Cleaning Hacks

Cleaning your apartment is just part of everyday living, but if you’re trying to live an eco-friendly life, it can be challenging. If you want to enjoy a healthy home, you might want to look into some alternative cleaning products with fewer chemicals. There are plenty of green cleaning products on the market, or you can make your own using simple ingredients in your cupboards.

Shopping for green products

If you don’t want to go the DIY route, there are eco-friendly products on the shelves of grocery stores, pharmacies and discount shops. Typically, green cleaning products will be phosphate-free, fragrance-free, ammonia-free and so on. Some products might be fragranced but look for natural scents on the label, such as essential oils.

Seventh Generation is a well-respected eco-friendly brand with a wide range of household products, including cleaners. You should also look into the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day line of cleaning products, as they are available in Canada online and in some retail stores.

Regardless of the claims made on the bottle, always read the ingredients. Also look for warning labels — such as the symbols for corrosive, dangerous or poisonous products.

Many apartments have small, windowless bathrooms, with minimal venting, so you will want to use cleaning products without dangerous chemicals that could be harmful when inhaled. Look on the label for ingredients such as phthalates, perchloroethylene, quaternary ammonium compounds, 2-butoxyethanol, ammonia, chlorine and sodium hydroxide, to name a few. These are common ingredients in cleaning products, but they can be harmful to your health and the environment.

Doing it yourself

If you’re confused or overwhelmed by the labels on commercial cleaning products, skip the store-bought products and clean your apartment with homemade alternatives.

Many of these DIY eco-friendly cleaning products include common household ingredients such as salt, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, essential oils, fresh herbs, olive oil (or vegetable), castile soap, hydrogen peroxide and water. From all-purpose to site-specific cleaners, you can use safe, everyday ingredients for a healthy and happy apartment.

There are plenty of recipes available online, but to get you started, try making this natural all-purpose cleaner:

1/2 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
20 drops essential oil (try a citrus oil, such as orange, lemon or grapefruit)

1. Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle, and twist lid on tight.
3. Shake to combine.
2. Use as needed.

green cleaning products

Please note that you shouldn’t use vinegar-based products on granite or marble countertops. Try this recipe instead:

1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon castile soap
7 drops basil essential oil
20 drops grapefruit essential oil (or another citrus scent)

1. Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle, and twist lid on tight.
2. Shake to combine.
3. Spray directly onto your natural countertop, and wipe using a microfibre cloth.

Be good to yourself and the earth by using natural, chemical-free cleaners when possible! If you’re looking to move, check out the listings at to find a new rental apartment to call home!