10 Natural (And Vegan) Ways to Clean Your Home
Spring has arrived, and it's time to clean the house! But for the conscientious consumer, household cleaning can be a headache. Mass-market products are often full of harsh chemicals that pose a health risk to children and animals. Plus, they leave your home smelling more like a science lab than a fresh space and may contain animal products.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
So let's dispense with them all! Using a handful of easy-access natural, vegan products, you can have a germ-free and fresh-smelling home while cutting down on wasteful, time-consuming specialty cleaning products.
These 10 tips will get you on your way to a spotless home:
Cleaning an oven needn't be a hassle or an experiment with your incinerating self-cleaning function. All you need is baking soda and vinegar! Make a spreadable paste of baking soda and water, using roughly one-half of a cup of baking soda and a few tablespoons of water. Leave the mixture overnight. Wipe the paste off with a damp cloth the next day. Then, spray white vinegar over any remaining hard-to-remove baking soda (or just all over the inside of the oven). Wipe the inside of the oven down one more time with a damp cloth, and you're done!
Pro-tips: Clean the racks separately in the sink with the baking soda solution. Also, be mindful not to get baking soda paste on the heating elements in the oven.
For this, you'll need a large pot and baking soda. Fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Then slowly add one half-cup of baking soda. If you add it too quickly, the pot will fizz over. Simply submerge the filter and watch the impurities vanish! If you have a large filter, you'll need to do it one side at a time.
Refrigerators and surfaces
Cleaning surfaces is easy with a little vinegar! Use one part vinegar to two parts warm water in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give a lasting fresh scent. Using warm water is very helpful for breaking up dirt and food stuck on the counter. But the solution is still highly effective at room temperature for lighter cleaning.
Most people don't realize dishwashers need cleaning. But they do. Cycle after cycle of dirty dishes takes a toll on the filter. Simply find and remove your dishwasher's filter and allow it to soak in your favorite natural dish soap. Then replace the filter, toss in a cup of white vinegar and run a heavy cycle. For an extra level of clean, coat the bottom of the dishwasher in baking soda, leave it for a few hours and run a heavy cycle with just the baking soda.
No one likes to reach their hand into a disgusting bowl with a glove, especially when holding a sponge filled with toxic chemicals. Well, you never need to do so again! Toss a full cup of baking soda right into the bowl and leave it for an hour. Then pour in a cup of white vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes and flush. If your bowl needs a light scrubbing for the surfaces, use the cleaner we made in the kitchen!
Steaming harsh chemical residue post-cleaning is anything but good for your family. And our kitchen surface cleaner from the previous steps may do fine for your shower. But if you need something a little stronger, just mix one part environmentally-friendly dish soap with one-part vinegar to make a simple shower cleaner!
Pro-tip: If you have a litter box in the bathroom, this shower cleaner will work great. As always, be sure to rinse the cat box very thoroughly with water post-cleaning.
This is the easiest hack you never knew would solve your mattress woes: Just sprinkle baking soda all over. Many folks mix a few drops of calming lavender oil in for aromatherapy. Leave the baking soda on the mattress for a couple of hours, then carefully vacuum it all up. Your mattress should smell fresh as new.
For mattress stains, combine hydrogen peroxide and natural dish soap in a 2:1 ratio to safely remove them.
Did you know fabric sheets often contain animal-derived softening agents? And we all know the havoc artificially-scented detergents reak on allergies. But making laundry detergent at home is simple: Combine Borax (an easy-to-find mineral and salt, not to be confused with boric acid) and baking soda in equal measures. Then, grate in a full bar of your favorite natural, animal-free bar soap.
Pro-tip: Add a half-cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle for color-safe softening.
The easiest way to maintain your floors is to mop with an equal-parts water and vinegar solution. But for a variety of specific floor types, use this Care2 guide to floor care.
Note about products: Be sure to buy baking soda from an animal and environment-friendly company, like Bob's Red Mill. Visit a local health-conscious grocery store to find an array of cleaning supplies, from tree-fiber scrubbers to agave twine dish sponges.
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While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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