Ten Tips for the Laziest Environmentalist

Ten easy swaps to make your cleaning green.

Sometimes I am a lazy environmentalist. For example, I don’t compost – it just seems like a lot of work (gasp, I know). With spring in full swing (remember our no fail spring cleaning tips?) it’s time to ensure our cleaning products are doing more good work (cleaning) and less tragic tasks (toxic polluting). Here are ten easy product swaps to take your cleaning to another level of health for you, your home, and the environment. Oh, and did I mention these simple steps are seriously effortless? Even the laziest earth enthusiast (or rationalist) can tackle these swaps.

1. Spare the toxins washing down your drain by switching to JR Watkins Orange Citrus Liquid Dish Soap ($6.49). Easy on hands and the environment, but strong enough to provide spotless dishes. (Pictured above.)
2. Ditch the dryer sheets for these Nellie Dryerballs ($16.99 for 2). They’re reusable, last at least 2 years, and reduce drying time, all without any toxic chemicals.
3. Toss your dusting rags for this elegant feather duster Ostrich Brush ($60). Naturally shed ostrich feathers are bound to a pear wood handle to help gather particulates from your home in a natural way. (Pictured above.)
4. Swap your standard hand soap for a blend of olive oil and aloe vera, Mrs. Meyer’s Basil Liquid Hand Soap ($3.99). Sleep easily knowing Mrs. Meyer’s deliciously aromatic suds are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and biodegradable.
5. Baking soda is a natural, simple way to combat odors. Sprinkle a dose of the gentle alkaline on rugs and carpets, let sit for five minutes, then vacuum for a fresh, odor-free aroma. A box of baking soda in the freezer and/or fridge will absorb rogue smells, too. You can also use essential oil infused baking soda as a room freshener.
6. The artificial sponges (you know, the dual sided neon yellow sponge and forest green scrubber) you may be using are full of, well artificialness (toxins, dyes, etc.). Here’s a fresh idea, use natural sponges. Twist Loofa Sponges ($4.25 for 2) are unbleached, undyed, plant-based and compostable (if you’re ambitious enough to compost, of course). (Pictured above.)
7. Plastic trash bags seem somewhat inevitable. Recycled plastic trash bags are the lesser of two evils. These Seventh Generation Recycled Trash Bags ($5.49 for 20) contain 80% recycled content. Condense trash and reuse bags as much as possible to stretch the recycled content even further.
8. Say goodbye to toxic cerulean blue window cleaner and welcome a crystal clear, completely natural option instead. Mix equal parts vinegar and water for an inexpensive and effective window cleaner.
9. Skip your dishwasher’s steam cycle and dry the dishes yourself with blends of cotton and linen fabric. Plus, these perky tea towel stripes from the Studio Patro Just Stripes Collection ($22 each) will add personality to your kitchen while you’re saving the world.
10. Stop plastic bags from choking your produce with these Credo Produce Bags ($19.95 for 4). Nestle your precious fruits inside drawstring organic cotton mesh to eliminate plastic in your vegetable drawers (and landfills).

Make these uncomplicated changes and save your energy for the actual cleaning.