This blog post is sponsored by iHerb
A kitchen is a lively place in most homes. It’s the center of food preparation and snacking. It’s where celebratory and ritual meals begin and end. It’s home to daily conversations and sustenance. It’s the room in the house that requires the most day-to-day cleaning.
Given the nature of kitchens and their close connection to our food, it’s important to use earth-friendly products in them. For example, kitchen cleaners and food storage containers can be sources of toxic chemical contamination. We want our kitchens to be safe places for our little ones. A green kitchen is a healthy kitchen.
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. In the past 47 years, there have been many environmental victories thanks to the awareness Earth Day raises. Every day is Earth day has become a modern maxim that is true. Incorporating green living into our daily lives, like our kitchens, is important for our health and the environment. When we chose earth friendly products that are biodegradable and made from recycled material, these daily changes add up year round.
Every little change we make grows exponentially. Just think back to you your household ten years ago. How is it more earth-friendly? Have you switched to LED light bulbs? Do you use reusable shopping bags? Do you eat organically? Does your car get better gas mileage or have you switched to a hybrid or EV? Do you consider whether an item is biodegradable or made from recycled content before purchasing? Think of how many resources you have conserved through these daily practices!
Follow these 5 tips to green your kitchen and make Earth Day last year round.
Green Kitchen Tip #1: Clean with Green Kitchen Products!
Our food touches the surfaces of our kitchens where it can be contaminated with chemicals from cleaning products. Wastewater used when cleaning enters into our waterways harming aquatic life from conventional cleaning chemicals.
From cleaning counters to washing our dishes, choosing earth-friendly, biodegradable products is necessary and beneficial. Purchasing cleaning products that won’t harm the earth or your family’s health is an easy way to go green. Items made from recycled materials help to close the loop and protect resources. They also eliminate landfill space.
We tried the following green kitchen cleaning products available from iHerb. iHerb sells over 35,000 natural products and ships to over 160 countries.
Ecover, Automatic Dishwasher Tablets, Citrus
I prefer dishwasher tablets over powder because they are precisely the right amount of detergent. There is no mess with spilled powder when using tablets.
Ecover Dishwasher tablets are very effective. They leave our dishes clean, sanitized, and spot free. To use this product in the most eco-friendly way, run your dishwasher when it is full and at night when grid power demand is low.
The Ecover dishwasher tablets are made from naturally derived fragrances, as well as plant-based and mineral ingredients. It is phosphate-free and biodegradable making it fish friendly and safe for waterways.
I really like non-toxic Better Life products. The window cleaner is very effective, and I love the quality and smell of the floor cleaner. Given my experience with the brand, I really wanted to try the granite and stone cleaner. The pomegranate grapefruit scent is refreshing. It contains 100% plant-derived cleaning agents from soy, coconut, and corn.
Whenever my mother visits, she always tells me I need to buy granite cleaner. She hates the dull, streaky way our granite looks from using dish soap and water to clean it. I remind her that I don’t use chemical cleaning products in my green kitchen. Finally, I found a product to satisfy both my mom’s standards and mine! On granite, it is streak-free and does not leave a residue.
My kitchen counters are hard to clean. They are made of granite tiles with tiny grout spaces. Used with the Better Life Granite and Stone Cleaner, this brush is exactly what I need to get into these little spaces sponges miss. The brush is ergonomically perfect. It is made from renewable bamboo and recycled plastic. The outer bristles are softer for cleaning tile, while the inner bristles are stiffer for grout. I used the soft side bristle to get into the tiny grout spaces. I can’t believe how dirty my grout is!
The brush can be cleaned with soap and water (not in the dishwasher). The unique shape allows for it to be stood upright for drying. What a great idea!
Typically, I use a sponge to clean dishes before they go into the dishwasher or hand washing. I have tried sponges with handles, but they fall apart easily.
With a handle, you can scrub tough, stuck on food easier than with a sponge. Made from recycled materials and bamboo wood, this eco-friendly brush will outlast any sponge. Part of choosing eco-friendly products is considering how long the products will last.
This dish brush is durable and very comfortable to use. I like to squirt a little dish soap on the bristles and then clean. This helps conserve dish soap.
This is the absolute cutest brush and dustpan! It is perfect for little and big hands. I am sure it will inspire toddlers to sweep up their messes and maybe their older siblings too.
Made from recycled plastic and bamboo, I love the compact size of this duo. It’s easy to store under the kitchen sink. It can even be hung inside a cabinet door. It is the perfect size for getting under the counters against the cabinets where larger brooms miss.
I wish I would have had this mini brush and dustpan when I taught preschool. Kids will love it!
Green Kitchen Tip #2: Ditch the plastic bags
Going green is a process. There is always another step towards living a more eco-friendly life. Some steps are large, like installing a solar hot water heater, and some steps are small, like ditching plastic bags for good.
I live in a state that has banned plastic bags, but it is not a complete ban. They are still allowed for produce in grocery stores. Most fruits and vegetables really don’t need to be placed in a bag at all, but bags are convenient for keeping food organized and limiting exposure to germs in carts and checkout counters.
Guiltily, I sometimes use plastic produce bags. I reuse and eventually recycle them, but I could do more. Switching to cloth produce bags is easy and worth the little investment.
We received an ECOBAGS Organic Cotton Large Produce Bag from iHerb. I love the size, as you can fit many items in just one bag. These fair wage/fair labor bags are washable and made from organic cotton. It only makes sense to place your organic produce in an organic bag. If you store your cloth produce bags with your reusable cloth shopping bags, you will remember them for the next trip to the grocery store.
These organic cotton produce bags are breathable helping some foods stay fresh longer.
Green Kitchen Tip #3: Compost
I grew up with an in-sink garbage disposal, but what we put in it wasn’t garbage. It was potential compost! According to the Grist, “Yard trimmings and food scraps make up 26 percent of U.S. waste.”
Composting is easy or complicated, depending on how you want to do it. I do it the easy way. We keep a compost pail on the counter. We take turns emptying it into a compost bin. That’s it. When it is full, we stir it, wait for the rich compost to form, and start a new bin.
You can buy fancy compost tumblers and bins, additives to help cook the compost faster, and red worms, but nature will take care of your food scraps too. We’ve never had a problem with odor or rodents. Urban composting is possible too.
If backyard composting sounds like too much, you can sign up for a municipal composting service that will provide you with bins and curbside pick up just like recycling. Some cities, like San Francisco, even have mandatory composting laws.
Eco-friendly rubber gloves are handy for cleaning out your compost pail and bin. We love the If You Care, Household Gloves. These rubber gloves are comfortable to wear and protect your hands when cleaning dirty jobs. They can also protect your skin from cleaning solutions. Even natural cleaning products contain strong ingredients. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs whatever you touch.
I like that I still have dexterity in my fingers and hands when wearing these gloves. They are made from natural Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified latex sourced from a responsibly managed plantation. Rubber tappers are paid a fair trade wage. Even the packaging on these rubber gloves is eco-friendly making them the perfect addition to your green kitchen.
Green Kitchen Tip #4: Freshen the air naturally
I am a vegetarian, but I live with omnivores. I hate the smell of bacon and fish cooking. We have tried different natural methods of freshening the air in our green kitchen naturally. From a bowl of vinegar on the counter to sprinkling peppermint essential oil, natural methods often don’t work on these smells that can be stubborn and pervasive.
iHerb sent us Way Out Wax Odor Neutralizer Candle Natural Scent. This GMO-free soy wax candle is handcrafted in Vermont. One candle will burn for 25 hours. The tin is recyclable. The natural scent is quite mild. I suggest lighting the candle before you start cooking stinky foods for maximum effectiveness.
Green Kitchen Tip #5: Relax with a cup of loose leaf tea
After cleaning your kitchen, it’s time to relax with a cup of tea. Tea bags come with a lot of packaging. Reducing disposable packaging is a big part of going green. Choosing products with less packaging or using reusable containers for bulk goods saves resources.
Loose leaf tea can be bought in bulk, but it can be messy to make. Tea balls or spoons can be difficult to fill. Traditional teapots with screens on top don’t allow all of the hot water to mix with the tea and are difficult to use for a single cup. Straining tea with a mesh spoon can be tricky. I have poured scalding water on myself accidentally making loose leaf tea.
The Rishi Tea Simple Brew Loose Leaf Teapot is the perfect solution for making loose leaf tea. It has an ultra-fine strainer lid and is made of stainless steel and glass. You definitely don’t want to put hot liquids in plastics due to leaching of hormone disrupting chemicals.
It reminds me of a French Press, but you don’t need to press down the top. I have tried making loose leaf tea in a french press, but the screen is not fine enough. The Simple Brew Teapot truly is the simplest way to make a cup of loose leaf tea.
We love the Rishi Tea Turmeric Ginger Organic Loose Leaf Herbal Tea for its flavor and healing qualities. This tea is made from organic ginger root, organic turmeric root, organic licorice root, organic lemongrass, organic orange peel, organic lemon peel, essential orange and lemon oils. I like to use two spoonfuls per cup.
Ginger is very soothing on upset tummies, and turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. This blend is also very soothing on the throat. Wow, it is super good!
I like to experiment and make my own blends of tea, both for herbal remedies and for enjoyment. Growing herbs is fun and easily done in pots where space is limited. Learning about plants and their medicinal qualities is a great family activity.
All of the green kitchen products featured above are available on iHerb, a Google Trusted Store. Their customer service is incredible! When my first package was damaged in shipping, they sent replacements immediately. In addition, their customer service team provides support in ten different languages. The site is super easy to use and has just about everything you could need. Their selection is huge.
iHerb is dedicated to eco-friendly initiatives especially recycling and reducing waste.
Just like you and me, I am sure they look for ways to become even more earth friendly. Earth Day is a good reminder and motivator to reflect on how we can do better. iHerb makes it easy to find green products and is offering all new customers $5 off their first order. New Customers Can Click Here to Get $5 off Their First iHerb Order. Small steps, like following the above tips for a green kitchen, do add up. We can make Earth Day every day through our consumer choices.
Happy Earth Day!
Featured image credit: Mrs__schu / Pixabay