Skip to Content

May Action of the Month: Spring Cleaning Without Chemicals!


The weather is starting to warm up at last and sunny days are on their way. With the arrival of spring, many people are itching time to give their homes a good cleaning. Have you ever thought about replacing your chemical cleaning products with eco-friendly ones? They’re just as effective! The Société de transport de Montréal (STM)
cleans the city’s metro stations with green products, so why shouldn’t we use them at home?

Undesirable ingredients in our homes

Did you know that indoor air is 10 to 20 times more polluted than outdoor air? As many as 900 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been detected in the air in our homes.

An average Canadian family uses 20 to 40 litres of cleaning products every year. Most of them contain one or more undesirable substances that pose health and environmental risks.

Increasing numbers of products claiming to be eco-friendly are appearing on supermarket shelves, but unfortunately it’s hard to know which ones to buy. The easiest way to avoid bringing undesirable products into your home is to read the labels carefully.

What to avoid

  • Glycol ether, petroleum solvents and alcohol: These substances often contain high levels of VOCs. It’s practically impossible to avoid inhaling VOCs when you spray products containing them, like window cleaners.
  • Benzene, toluene, xylene, methanol and ethylbenzene: There is evidence that these substances, found in all kinds of cleaning products, may damage the nervous system, harm fetuses and cause cancers.
  • EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid): This substance is not biodegradable and therefore environmentally hazardous.

Eco-friendly and economical alternatives

If you have small children, take a look at Nettoyons Écolo, a guide created by Option consommateurs to raise awareness of the toxicity of products. It features recipes that you could make yourself that could make cleaning fun!

If you absolutely have to buy cleaning products, opt for EcoLogo-certified ones. That way, you know that they are biodegradable and eco-friendly, and have met strict environmental standards.

Homemade products are a much cheaper alternative to commercial ones. Did you know that you’ve probably got all that you need at home for everyday cleaning?

  • Lemon juice: A disinfectant and sanitizer, lemon juice is great for removing fingerprints from mirrors and leaves a fresh scent in your home.
  • White vinegar: An eco-friendly and inexpensive ally, vinegar is an excellent multi-purpose cleaner. This natural disinfectant can also be your best friend for removing limescale from the shower.
  • Table salt: Nothing beats a good salt scrub for cleaning the bathtub. Add some vinegar, and it will scrub up like new!
  • Baking soda: Well known for removing fridge smells, baking soda is also a great abrasive. It’s mild, so it’s very handy for cleaning pots and pans. What’s more, when mixed with a little lemon juice, it works wonders for removing all kinds of stains.

The internet is full of easy-to-make recipes for household cleaning products. See what ingredients you have in the cupboard, get some hot water ready and voilà!

Équiterre wishes you a clean, green springtime!


Want to take it a step further?

Check out the following Web resources (in French only):


Crédit photo vedette : Marco Verch,