If you read the label on your bathroom or kitchen cleaner it likely includes warnings about exposure to skin, or maybe warns of possible breathing problems. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals we use in our home to clean and disinfect can come at a cost to our health and the environment.
There are many products you can use for a squeaky-clean and healthy home!
Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, has been used for cleaning purposes for thousands of years. It was even used for ancient Egyptian mummification! In fact, baking soda was used to clean The Statue of Liberty and make her shine!
- Baking soda is a good option when scrubbing is needed. A paste made with baking soda and a little water will scrub most stains from the oven or refrigerator. Baking soda is mildly abrasive, so don’t use it on any surfaces that can be easily scratched.
- Try soaking glass baking dishes in soapy water with two tablespoons of baking soda. They can be cleaned easily after a short soak.
- Baking soda will eliminate odors; sprinkle on the carpet before you vacuum, or place an open box in your refrigerator to absorb food odors.
Vinegar makes a good all-purpose cleaner that kills bacteria and viruses. It even cuts through grease and dirt.
- Combine with baking soda to help keep sluggish sink drains moving.
- Create a very simple “general purpose” cleaning spray using one-part vinegar to one-part water. If you don’t like the smell of the vinegar by itself, add a few drops of organic essential oil, such as tea tree, peppermint or lemon.
- A combination of vinegar and dish soap can also be used for general cleaning in bathrooms and kitchens. Combine one-part vinegar and one-part dish soap to two parts water. Mix well and use in a spray bottle.
Organic and Green Cleaners
There are a number of products sold that are labeled organic or green.
- Be sure to read the label carefully to verify ingredients. Make sure that the ingredients do not include toxic chemicals and that the cleaner is not abrasive.
- Do your research. Check out companies that manufacture green cleaners. Many companies market products as natural but include ingredients that are harmful to your family, your pets, and the environment.
- Look at websites that rank the products for effectiveness and health. One website that does this is the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org), a nonprofit organization that has a variety of guides for the consumer, including recommendations of cleaners and personal care products. If they don’t have a specific product listed, you can look up an ingredient to see their toxicity ratings. There is also an EWG app to make it easy to do a quick search while you shop.
Once you have swapped out healthier versions of cleaning products, consider looking at your choice of laundry detergent, shampoo, soap, deodorant, makeup and toothpaste to see if there are healthier options that are available to you.
Your home should be a comfortable and healthy place for you to relax and recharge. Eliminating toxins is an important step in making your home a place of wellness for you and your family.
|Top 8 harmful ingredients to look out for in householder cleaners, air fresheners, dish soap, and laundry detergents and fabric softeners:|
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS)
|Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Working Group, American Lung Association|