Now that March is here, I think those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are ready to shake off winter and embrace the warmer seasons! While I enjoyed sunshine and fresh blooms in North Carolina today, I know my family in Pennsylvania received some fresh snowfall. This silly month of March will keep us all on our toes, but shaking off cabin fever comes a little more easily (and more quickly) when you take time for a good deep cleaning of your home. Just imagine how fresh your rooms will feel and smell when you throw open those windows to warm air at last! Like we did this past weekend. (Insert my smirking face here.)
I have to confess that I’ve only sporadically done a thorough “spring cleaning” in my home. My general tendency has been to put off cleaning until it’s absolutely necessary, with full-dusted baseboards and toothpaste-speckled mirrors that finally goad me into action. Even with several years of college custodial work that trained me to notice messy details, I loathe the time and boredom of those deep cleaning jobs when it’s my own home. In addition, I hate the stinging scent of strong household cleaners, having spent so many hours working with industrial-strength products that burned my throat and made me cough for hours afterward.
But so many household products for tidying windows to toilets are marketed, priced, and socially accepted as the go-to options for cleaning. Who hasn’t heard of Windex? And how many people think it’s actually safe to breathe in? A study in Norway recently startled the world with its findings on the long term effects of typical cleaning chemicals. The main author of the study shares, “People who have worked as cleaners or done household cleaning for 20 years have reduced lung function equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day, for the same period of time.” This article covers just the essentials, but provides links to the study and more details. Though not everyone works in that field, we all are exposed to some amount of damage from similar cleaning chemicals.
Are there other cleaning options out there? Yes, indeed! I’ve seen and used recipes for vinegar mixtures and essential oil blends. But when cleaning the particularly dirty areas of my home, I’d be uncertain about how effective they really are at eliminating the most dangerous of germs. Every time some raw chicken drippings touched a surface I’d bleach or use a sanitizing wipe out of fear. And I felt paper towels were the best go-to for some truly icky messes. Would that gunk really come out in the wash? And why are my washcloths turning stinky after just one use? I wanted to be careful with my money, so I’d usually buy the cheapest cotton towels available. Of course, I tried to make them last, but within a year they’d inevitably turn sour.
Luckily, a friend of mine here in North Carolina introduced me to Norwex as I started this eco-blogging journey. I was hesitant at first. I liked that their mission is to “improve quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes,” but were they really eco-friendly? It’s a direct-sales company, so their products aren’t available in stores; do they treat their sales people fairly? And most importantly (hah!), these items are generally pricier than I’m used to for cleaning products. Will they be worth it in expense and longevity?
Guys, it’s totally a YES! to all of the above.
1. Yes, Norwex reduces the chemicals you use in your home. Norwex’s superpower lies in its super-dense, super high-quality microfiber products. They are guaranteed for two years, with many that say they’ll last at least 500 washes. The towels are so effective at picking up germs and dirt (with only water!) that they eliminate the need for many typical cleaning products right off the bat. They do have some cleaners and additional home/body products that they’ve developed through the years, but they are enzyme-based so they are safe for all to enjoy!
2. Yes, Norwex is environmentally-friendly. With fewer chemicals to use at home, you’ll be washing or rinsing fewer harmful residues into your water system. When I received my packages, I was impressed at the minimal but recyclable packaging. On the thank you card they send, they note that the energy they use is from 100% renewable resources, that they send parcels via carbon-neutral shipments, that prioritize recycling and reducing water, and use plastic bottles as a component in their recycled-material towels.
3. Yes, Norwex products are worth the investment. My little miserly heart balked at the $18.49 price tag on their essential Envirocloth. “For ONE towel??” What I didn’t realize initially was that this will (A) eliminate the cost of many cleaning products, (B) require less laundering time and cost, (C) enable minimalist practices and budgets, and (D) are backed by the Norwex guarantee previously mentioned. These workhorses will last you years. Have you noticed how much you spend on cleaning supplies? Paper towels and sprays (so many!) are priced low, but as you go through them quickly the cost climbs. In fact, it’s estimated that households spend $500–$600 on cleaning supplies in a year. Instead of buying items you wear out (or use up) in a year (or a month!), invest in items that will last and be better for you (and the planet)! But how does the Envirocloth and its friends accomplish the likes of A through C? See details in the product descriptions below!
4. Yes, Norwex treats its sales consultants well. I took several months to feel out the company, but eventually felt so confident and excited about its mission and ethical approach that I became a consultant myself! There are definitely incentives to reach sales points and others goals, but if I don’t, not a big deal. I’m excited, not pressured, to share what Norwex has to offer. And I’ve never been in a sales-driven position before, so this is new, but I’m comfortable sharing it with others because I really am behind the mission.
5. And a big bonus: Yes, I actually clean my house now! Everything that I’ve bought from Norwex has made my house easier and FASTER to clean. It takes five minutes to sweep and mop my entire downstairs now? Sure, I can spare five minutes. I can dry all my dishes with one towel, because one towel can hold so much water? Awesome. My dusting mitt actually TRAPS the dust instead of smearing it around? I guess I’ll actually dust a couple times a year now. And honestly, I think the fact that I’ve paid a little more up front for my cleaning tools motivates me to use them more often.
Okay, lest I get carried away, I’m just going to share my very favorite Norwex items that will make spring-cleaning (or regular-cleaning) your home so much better! Please check them out because they will change your life, improve your environmental practices, and ultimately, can save you money.
The Glorious Envirocloth
So much more than the microfiber cloths you can find in a two-pack at a dollar store, this towel goes above and beyond. Typical microfiber is composed of strands 1/6 the size of a human hair, but Norwex’s is at least 1/200 of a human hair. So it has a much tighter weave and more surface area, and can pick up more grime (or liquid) than typical towels. Then, because of the cloth’s density, it can remove up to 99% of bacteria from a surface. No chemicals required! Take that, wasteful sanitizing wipes! (You’ll need to make sure to launder it properly to retain its maximum cleaning power, but Norwex makes that easy to do, too!) Want to see a super cool video of how effective the Envirocloth is? Take 2.5 minutes and check this out! The big bonus found in this cloth, and many similar Norwex microfiber products, is the Baclock feature. Silver fibers are actually woven into the cloth itself, so no matter the mess you clean up, all you need to do between launderings is rinse and wring out the towel, hang it to dry, and the Baclock will keep mold, fungi, and bacterial odor at bay. So you won’t need to wash it after every use, and many people comfortably wait one to three weeks between washes(!). And where can you use the Envirocloth? The kitchen, the bathroom, floors, walls, railings, car surfaces, electronic devices, and so many more places! It’s helpful to have a couple on hand, but I now have two towels I use regularly for wiping up instead of 10-12 small ones that have to be washed after one day’s use. Laundry is easier to stay on top of and my towel basket is no longer overflowing.
The Wonderful Window Cloth
Best buds with the Envirocloth, this towel’s smooth surface is the perfect follow-up to dry and polish surfaces (especially glass, mirrors, faucets, counter tops) to a gloriously shiny finish! Like the Envirocloth, this is most effective when folded into quarters before wiping. This ensures full contact with the surface you’re trying to clean.
The Delightful Dusting Mitt
Once I knew I was hooked on Norwex, this is what I chose to get my spouse to love it too. Why? Because in nearly ten years of marriage, I’ve probably dusted the house 3.5 times. It’s definitely one of those chores that adds up subtly enough but requires a hassle, so I can’t generally be bothered with it. I’d have to switch to a new cloth mid-dusting because grimy streaks would pile up once the cloth was saturated, then I’d have to go back to pick up what I’d missed, and so on. My husband has done more than his fair share of dusting, but this mitt is helping me make it up to him. The extra-plush microfiber of the mitt can pick up dust with just a spritz of water or by statically-charging it (fold in half and rub the sides together). It’s so dense that it can hold many more particles than your typical dusting cloth, with no need for chemical sprays that leave residue and attract more grime. Bonus: kids love the idea of getting involved with this fun glove to wear. Plus, there’s a kid-sized version!
Reduce Waste with the Cleaning Paste
I love this cleaner for the extra-tough scuffs, dirt, and more that the Envirocloth can’t remove on its own. Hard water stains on your sink? Messy shoe soles? Permanent marker on your laptop screen? Don’t panic – the cleaning paste’s safe and effective blend of marble flour, natural soap and traces of coconut oil gently power away these and more. It’s safe to use on tile, walls (I’ve cleaned up a lot of errant wall drawings with this!), ceramic, and burn marks on cooking dishes. And its safe enough to eat, if you really want to! I’ve tasted it!! A classic case of “Yes, you can, but do you really want to?” Its nickname is “elbow grease in a jar” and in my home, it’s completely replaced magic erasers. I’ve had my paste for nearly two months now, and have barely scratched the surface of it despite using it at least weekly. In the past I have easily burned through two to three magic erasers in this amount of time, so the cleaning paste is a great way to reduce costs, packaging, and impact on the environment by creating less waste and using less energy for disposable cleaning tools.
The Marvelous Mop System
Before my Norwex mop came into my life, I’d rarely do a full mopping of the living room (hardwood floors are the norm here in the South) because it took forEVER and seemed to be more work than it was worth. But sweeping and mopping take a fraction of the time with this mop system, and it’s more effective. It’s got a beautifully wide base, so it cleans a larger surface area with each swipe. The dry pad is made of fluffy microfiber that catches all the dust, hair, and tiny particles my regular broom would often leave behind. And to use the wet pad, I just add water, wring out the excess, mop (it goes so quickly!), and my floors shine. To pick up the dust piles, I just wipe up with a damp Envirocloth and use the Rubber Brush to clean any dirt still on the dry mop pad. For the wet pad, I just rinse and wring again, then hang to dry. So many mops require replacement parts (pads, washing fluids, and more) or are low-quality due to the low price. The mop system was definitely an investment for me, but I was pleased with the great quality of the set, the adjustable handle, and that of course it’s also backed up by the two-year microfiber warranty. By switching to a mop/broom that will last so much longer, I’ve reduced the waste my family would create. Plus, Norwex recently added a second mop variety with the wet mop pad made from 70% recycled material!
The Stupendous Bathroom Scrub Mitt
While a regular Envirocloth is a great cleaning tool that can be used to scrub your shower too, this mitt goes the extra mile to help us deep clean without chemicals. I’ve tried the “scrub your shower while you shower!” thing before, but the scent of the cleaners that promised to combat mildew and soap buildup burned my nose and did NOT feel safe. This tool is double sided, with Norwex’s classic plush microfiber on one side and a tougher scrubbing side on the other. I’ve been cleaning my shower with only water since January, and I can vouch that the soapy buildup, grime, and mildew are powered away with just this mitt in hand (on hand?). Norwex does offer some enzyme-based cleaners for bathroom and shower when extra help is needed, but I’ve been happy with the microfiber alone so far!
The Safe Haven 5 Set
Finally, if you feel excited to switch to cleaning options that are chemical-free and minimally wasteful, this package deal of Norwex’s Envirocloth, Window Cloth, Dusting Mitt, Cleaning Paste, and Laundry Detergent will save you a few extra dollars! The only item I didn’t already praise at length is the detergent, but it’s filler-free, highly concentrated, and safe for microfiber and the environment alike! Normally the cost of these items individually adds up to about $114. But this collection of the essentials for a chemical-free cleaning experience is just $99.
I’d love it if you check out my Norwex shop in any of the links above, or here! I’m happy to answer questions and share more about my experience as we go along. While I need to catch up here on all the changes I’ve been making to live a more environmentally-friendly life, each shift has helped me reinforce the desire to make it a permanent part of my choices. Making Norwex part of my home is a big part of that, and my home is (consistently) cleaner than ever, too! It’s never perfect, of course (if only you could see the pile of papers, toys, and randomness around my computer as I type!) but many of the chores I’d previously considered “deep cleaning” are now happening on a regular basis! It’s quite magical. 🙂
One side note: if you love the fresh scent of cleaning products but want to ditch the chemicals, essential oils can be diluted and safely used with Norwex microfiber products. Lemongrass oil is my favorite right now, so I add 10-20 drops to a spray bottle (depending on volume), 1-2 drops hand/dishwashing soap, and then fill the bottle with water. Shake to combine (the soap will help keep the oil particles from separating from the water) then spray freely!