Tips for environmentally-friendly house cleaning

When it comes to cleaning, it’s often a challenge to know what the best cleaning products on the market are and how to choose products that are also good for the environment.

Read on for advice about how to make it easier to navigate through the wide range of available products. At the same time, learn about the health benefits of choosing wisely by limiting the amount of chemicals that you and your family are exposed to in everyday life.

How to choose the right cleaning products

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Dust and dirt not only causes and aggravates allergies, it also reduces indoor air quality. A clean home simply means better health. If you suffer from allergies, it’s advisable to consider cleaning with a microfibre mop and cloth. The benefit of using these cloths instead of a standard cotton one is that they are positively charged, meaning that they attract dust which is negatively charged. Microfibre cloths are a great choice for the environment and last for years if used correctly. They are good for multi-purpose use and are also effective with using only water for cleaning. This means that you can reduce the chemical waste that may be washed down the drains during rinsing.

There are a wide range of cleaning products on the market so it pays to be aware of what chemicals each product contains when making a decision. Among these are chlorine, perfume, ammonia, solvents, preservatives and dyes. Several cleaning products can also cause allergic reactions, may be harmful when they come into contact with skin or damage surfaces, such as ammonia and chlorine based products. In Norway, look out for products with the ‘Nordic Swan’ ecolabel. This is recognised as a sustainable ecolabel used across the Nordics so you can be reassured you are choosing an option that environmentally-friendly. You can also choose products that are approved by the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association (Norges Astma- og allergiforbund). Allergies can be developed over time so it’s advised to keep a dust-free home to keep them at bay.

Replace the classic 'green soap'

In Norwegian homes there is still a long tradition of using “grønnsåpe” (a classic green soap made of fat and calcium hydroxide) when cleaning and many believe there is no other product worth considering. However, the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association recommend using dry cleaning methods wherever possible. This is because there are several additives in cleaning products that can be a strain on health and the indoor climate. Studies have shown that there is a clear correlation between increased disease rate and the use of cleaning agents in spray form at cleaning businesses so by returning to traditional methods this can be prevented.

Tricks for cleaning naturally

Often simple cleaning solutions can be found in everyday staples in your kitchen, such as salt and baking soda. There are several ways you can clean and shine items around your home in a natural way. Silver can easily be polished using a combination of salt and lukewarm water while using a cloth with baking soda and water means you can simply wipe the oven clean without scrubbing. If you are cleaning handles and taps in the bathroom and kitchen, vinegar can be a great alternative to other cleaning products to make chrome fixtures shine. For most surfaces in your home a mix of salt and vinegar can be used but be careful with some surfaces, such as waxed surfaces, marble and linoleum.

A combination of salt and soda water is ideal for cleaning the inside of a refrigerator. If you are unlucky and spill red wine on the couch or a piece of clothing, pouring carbonated water on the spot can remove the stain. Pour on the fluid letting it bubble and continue until the discoloration disappears. If the red wine stain is on a removable sofa cover or clothing that can withstand cleaning, placing the fabric in a mixture of two large spoons of baking soda and lukewarm water will help to remove the stain.

Environmentally-friendly cleaning products for the kitchen

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When it comes to the kitchen, there are a few good environmentally-friendly products to consider. The Norwegian products “Sonett” and “Klar” are good natural alternatives that are as effective on dishes, if not more effective, than commonly known washing up liquids. Klar dishwashing liquid is made of 100% recyclable plastic, it carries the Nordic Swan ecolabel. It is also dermatologically tested on sensitive skin and doesn’t contain any unnecessary added chemicals. This is a great sustainable choice to ensure safe cleaning in your household. Sonett is also a product that is free of chlorine, perfume and colourant and all its ingredients are completely biodegradable.

Home cleaning will become a more positive experience if you make a conscious decision to clean with an environmental approach in mind.