I knew it was time to kick my Windex habit when I ran out of one bottle and went under the sink to look for another. I didn’t find one—I found dozens. Dozens of Windex-like products crammed into an overflowing milk crate under the sink.
They weren’t all the same brand, so I started to compare the active chemicals on the bottles to just go by that. Pretty clever, right? Wrong. Turns out it’s hard to know if the Isopropanol in one bottle is similar to the Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride in another. And, if I couldn’t make sense of these ingredients, should I really be dousing my kitchen in them, pouring them down my drains, and letting them seep into my rivers and landfills?
I needed a simpler, greener way. I was making a change—I was a girl on a mission! I headed to Google.
It turns out that I had totally overcomplicated the whole cleaning-up thing. I didn’t need all—or even any—of those harsh chemicals manufactured in a lab somewhere. Most of the materials I needed were already lying around my house, and all of them were produced by good old Mother Nature. Cleaners are cleaners, and if they work, it doesn’t matter if they’re missing the well-known brand name and pretty packaging.
Fast forward three weeks, and I’m still loving it. I have fewer harmful toxins in my home, I’ve reduced my ecological footprint, and I spend less money on cleaning products (always a plus for a broke college student). For once, I have actually tamed that beast under the sink.
Below, I list the ingredients that I used, as well as a few basic cleaner recipes, in case you want to try this too. Sure, cleaning greener is a small thing, but that’s what makes it attainable. And I’m a firm believer in a bunch of small changes adding up to a big change.
You can also add a few drops of essential oils to any of these if you want. I don’t really like a lot of smells going on at my house, but to each his own.
Devin Corrigan is a student at the University of North Carolina – Asheville and a guest blogger for New Dream.