A clean home is a thing of beauty: everything in its place, countertops with sheen, floors that practically glow in the sunlight, carpet that’s spotless.
It can take a lot of work to keep a home spic-and-span, though—and a lot of chemicals. Sometimes those chemicals are harmful to our environment, especially when cleaning products contain PFAS, or “forever chemicals.” Unfortunately, forever chemicals have been identified throughout drinking water in Virginia, including right here in Virginia Beach.
You might think that a little spray of your go-to cleaner isn’t all that big of a deal. And you know what? You might be right about that. By yourself, you probably aren’t going to pollute Virginia Beach. But what happens when half a million other residents and 177,000+ households in VB add up all their products together—not to mention all the businesses?
So as residents who are committed to clean homes and a healthy ecosystem, how can we clean in an environmentally conscious way for the benefit of all of Virginia Beach?
Embracing The Eco-Friendly Cleaning Mindset
Making the transition to eco-friendly cleaning isn’t just a trend; it’s a lifestyle change that benefits our VB community—including our non-human neighbors in our waterways and lands.
We’re blessed with so much natural beauty here and a diverse ecosystem. From First Landing State Park down to False Cape and all those pristine beaches in between, we have something really worth protecting. By choosing eco-friendly cleaning products, we’re safeguarding those beaches, waters, and wildlife for generations to come.
Did you know that CottageCare was eco-friendly before it was fashionable? We have been committed to using environmentally friendly cleaning products since the 1970s.
Getting to Know Your Local Environment
Virginia Beach’s unique coastal environment is especially sensitive to pollutants. From humpback whales in the winter to Lynnhaven Oysters, ospreys and more, the biodiversity and natural beauty here is worth whatever small investments we can make to protect it.
Our “traditional” everyday cleaning products not only harm our ecosystem but can take a toll on our bodies too. Chemicals like these are all too common and much too harmful to just keep embracing wholesale:
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS)
- Sodium Hydroxide
Thankfully, we have organizations like the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and initiatives like Virginia Green to promote eco-consciousness across our region and state. We’re hoping they make a big impact over time. We’re also hoping that our fellow residents in VA Beach will do their part in using eco-friendly cleaning products—simple as it seems—to start making a difference today.
Choosing Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Back when CottageCare got its start in the 1970s, finding eco-friendly cleaning products was much more challenging. Today, however, you can find products that are better for your health and for the environment on the shelves at most local stores.
Keep an eye out for products with labels like:
The EPA also has two labels to help consumers identify cleaning products that meet stringent criteria regarding effects on human health and the environment:
Since the 1970s we’ve made effective use of green, eco-friendly cleaners for all of our cleaning projects. We’ve seen a thing or two. In fact, it’s probably best for both of us if we don’t tell you about some of the worst messes we’ve seen . . .
Nevertheless, we stand by the effectiveness of eco-friendly products. Not all brands are alike, of course, and you’ll want to take the time to try a few different products before you commit to the ones that are going to work best for you. Still, for your health and the good of Virginia Beach now and in the long term, the effort is worth it!
DIY Natural Cleaning Solutions
Did you know that you can make your own natural cleaning products?
We understand that not everyone wants to take the time to produce their own—and we completely understand that not everyone even has the time. In fact, we recommend liberating yourself from cleaning all together with Virgina Beach’s household cleaning specialists.
But if you are the DIY type, you can make your own eco-friendly yet effective cleaners without too much effort. Here are a couple of super-simple recipes to get you started:
- All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. Add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. You’ll want to check to make sure that vinegar is okay for the specific application you have in mind, but you might be surprised at how effective this simple household combo can be for getting rid of some serious stains.
- Glass Cleaner: Combine 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup white or cider vinegar, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (70% concentration), and 1 to 2 drops of orange essential oil for grease-cutting ability. You might just be surprised at how this cleaner stacks up to your favorite “traditional” brands.
Check out this list from Good Housekeeping for other eco-friendly cleaners and disinfectants you can whip up at home.
Adopting Sustainable Cleaning Practices
When you’re thinking about cleaning green, you have options beyond concocting your own cleaners. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Do More with Less Water
- Keep the tap off while you’re cleaning and only use what you need.
- Make use of buckets so that you can reuse water until it is too dirty.
- If you’re using eco-friendly products, you may be able to recycle water you used for cleaning for plants or your garden.
- Try collecting rainwater. With an average of around 45” of rain annually, there’s plenty to go around! While you may not want to use it for drinking, it is perfectly safe for cleaning and watering plants or gardens.
Opt for Reusable Cleaning Products
- If you use a lot of paper towels, you might consider adding some microfiber cloths and towels to your arsenal. You’ll find they’re significantly more cost-effective over time.
- Try replacing disposable mop pads with reusable ones. They can be washed and reused, saving you money and cutting waste.
- Check out reusable dusters and duster cloths. Instead of disposing after every use, you can wash them and reuse them.
When you choose to clean green, you’ll find that a lot of these options will help you save green too. You might have to adjust to a few new ways of cleaning, but it’s worth the money you keep in your wallet and the positive effect you’ll have on the environment near and far.
Embracing a Clean and Green Virginia Beach
Eco-friendly cleaning has an impact that reverberates beyond your own home and personal decisions for you and your loved ones. As more and more of us choose to be environmentally conscious about how we clean, we’ll see exponential benefits.
Remember, you don’t have to overhaul everything this week. Start small. Make a few key changes and adapt your habits little by little. Together, we can keep Virginia Beach sustainably spotless.
If you want help with eco-friendly cleaning for your home in Virginia Beach, let CottageCare know. We’ve been cleaning green since 1976.