5 greener choices for cleaning your home

Here are a few small steps to get you thinking about greener cleaning choices for your home (because even though it's Christmas, real life goes on).

I first started thinking about greener cleaning back when we got married and were one a tight budget.

While researching thrifty options for cleaning our home, I started to realise that harsh petrochemicals were not only more expensive than some of the eco-friendly alternatives but that they were doing our health and the environment harm in the long run. 

building little tasks into your daily routine could save you a lot of elbow grease in the future

1. Would water work?
Many of us have got so used to cleaning with harsh chemicals that we equate cleanliness with their strong smell.

However, water is a highly effective cleaning agent all on its own.

A little water and a microfibre cloth could amaze you with their results, the cloths fibres picking up the smallest dirt particles with no need for soap or spray.

A steam cleaner using just water could also help you to get heavy duty jobs done without resorting to chemical cleaners.

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Adele Jarrett-Kerr is a freelance writer living in Bristol with her husband and their daughters who are four and one.
She blogs about family life and positive parenting at 
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2. Make your own cleaning products
There is so much information out there on DIY cleaning recipes involving items like essential oils and plain old baking soda.

People are often impressed when I mention that I sometimes make our home cleaners but, actually, they're usually some combination of white vinegar, water, and tea tree oil.

Whether it's refreshing your microwave with a lemon or polishing with olive oil, you might already stock much of what you need to make your own cleaning products.

3. Consider eco brands
If you prefer to buy a product – I'll admit I often do as they require less elbow grease – have a look at the many eco-friendly alternatives out there.

Do make sure that they've earned the "eco" title rather than just slapping that on, having swapped a mere ingredient or two.

Are they committed to reusing plastic fished out of the sea?

Are their raw materials plant-derived?

What green organisations have given them their approval?

4. Repurpose tools for cleaning
Before buying anything new, it's often worth considering whether you have anything at home that could do the trick.

People are often impressed when I mention that I sometimes make our home cleaners

Old toothbrushes always make useful scrubbers and newspaper pages give windows that perfect streak-free shine.

Our terry square nappies are knackered after two kids so they've now become household rags, doing many of the jobs other homes might use kitchen roll for.

Old t-shirts can be cut up to do the same.

5. Clean as you go
It's not the most exciting of green cleaning ideas, but cleaning more frequently means that you're less likely to end up creating a mess so formidable that you're tempted to reach for a harsh chemical cleaner.

Whether it's wiping down the oven after a roast or towel-drying the shower, building little tasks into your daily routine could save you a lot of elbow grease in the future.

I need to keep reminding myself of this.