I’m finding myself increasingly frustrated with all the green marketing going on to tap into this new mindset/trend of environmentally conscious consumerism. Phrases on packaging like “inspired by nature,” “made from natural ingredients,” or items with terribly toxic chemicals in them that just make a point to put a picture of a leaf on the label to make you think you’re buying something that’s better for the environment just make me want to puke. It’s completely misleading, and it really just ticks me off. “Inspired by nature”?!? Really? Isn’t everything inspired by our natural environment or “made from nature”? Even the most toxic chemicals in harsh cleaning agents were “made from natural ingredients” at some point. They all came from our planet somehow. They were just remade and recombined into something else that is now, considerably more unhealthy. That does NOT warrant a misleading label. These types of things make it even more difficult to be conscious of buying the best, most environmentally friendly products out there, and I find it sometimes takes some careful scrutiny to determine if the product I’m looking at is in fact as environmentally healthy as the label purports. It’s super important to read labels carefully to make sure you’re buying as responsibly as you think you are.
What’s also frustrating is the growing market of “green products” that, while free of chemicals and other toxics, come in tiny plastic containers with unnecessary packaging. These are often products that can be made at home in bulk while reusing the same containers over and over. This cuts down on plastic use, shipping costs, and saves you money too. The true idea of going green is getting OUT the consumerism rut. We can’t buy ourselves out of this mess–we need to start using and buying less, not just buying the same stuff in the same quantities from elsewhere.
In light of this, one of my own personal ongoing challenges has been to carefully consider all the products I use and see if there are better options other than just continuing my same buying habits. Do I absolutely NEED this? Can I use less of it? Can I make it at home?
Many times, I find I can make something at home with less environmental impact, less chemical toxins, and at least as good of quality as the commercial product I used to buy. I’ll be sharing various recipes I find, test, tweak, test, and tweak some more, and to get the ball rolling, here’s one of my tried-and-true cleaning products. For me, it’s my all-purpose-cleans-and-disinfects-everything mix.
In your old cleaner bottle, combine:
- 1Tbsp. baking soda
- ¼ Cup lemon juice
- ½ Cup white vinegar
- 25 drops tea tree essential oil
- Fill the rest of the bottle with water
Notes: Make sure to thoroughly clean your old spray bottle before refilling with anything else. Put the baking soda in first, then lemon juice and wait for the fizzing to mostly stop before adding the rest of the ingredients. The tea tree oil is what makes this spray disinfecting; it’s naturally antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.