Clean Food But Toxic Home

Clean Food But Toxic Home post image

So many of us are working very hard to clean up our eating habits and source fresh, organic, local foods from farmers, but we still live in a toxic environment at home. There are over 500 chemicals in the average home — many are used for cleaning and body products. It just doesn’t make sense to spend all that time and money on great food and yet continue to use products the have so many toxic chemicals in them.

These products don’t work any better than their natural or non-toxic counterparts, and they damage the environment and may jeopardize our long-term health.

Check out the company before you use the products

Third party ecologos and product labels are used in marketing and can be misleading. For independent reviews, use Consumer Report’s to find out what claims on labels really mean and if they’re actually regulated. You can also use the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Household Products Database to look up specific products and find out their ingredients. Another option is to go to the company’s website or contact the company to find out what they put in their products.

Toxic cleaners your mother used

I don’t know about you, but my mother was a cleaning fanatic. She would cometize everything from dishes to counter tops to bathrooms. Everything was so sterile, my poor dog had nothing to smell in the house but comet. It’s no wonder we all had trouble with gut bacteria. It was all destroyed by comet! Don’t do that in your home!

Chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach is one of the oldest cleaners and one of the harshest. Chlorine bleach kills all kinds of germs, molds and mildew on contact. But it is very harsh if it comes into contact with your skin. Manufacturers include chlorine bleach in a wide variety of cleaning products as well as some laundry and dishwasher detergents.


Undiluted ammonia is highly irritating to the eyes and respiratory system. As my organic chemistry teacher used to say “if you can smell it you are receiving it into your body.” Ammonia is good for cutting through grease and cleaning windows, but it is hard to avoid “receiving it” when you are using it.

Together, ammonia and bleach create a very toxic gas so should NEVER be used together!

What to look for

Look for green and non-toxic cleaners that don’t contain chlorine, alchohols, triclosan, triclocarbon, lye, glycol ethers, or ammonia. Choose cleaners that are labeled petroleum-free, 90% biodegradable in 3 days, or phosphate-free, VOC-free, and solvent-free.

Non Toxic Solutions

Hydrogen peroxide or vinegar are good substitutes for the harsher chemicals. They kills mold and mildew, sanitizes counters and cutting boards, and removes stains from counters. For household cleaning, specifically look for “chlorine-free” on the label. Use one product at a time, and rinse surfaces thoroughly. Use some good old fashioned elbow grease to scrub out stains in stead of relying on a toxic cleanser to do it.

Here is a recipe for a good all purpose cleaner:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 to 3 teaspoon liquid castille soap
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree oil

Mix ingredients above and store in a bottle. Add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil to give it a pleasing scent.

Here is a recipe for a good glass cleaner:

  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 quart warm water

Mix ingredients above. Pour into a spray bottle to apply and wipe with paper towels as you would with other glass cleaners.

Support companies that are doing the right thing!

Check out this fantastic e-book from Mommypotamus for homemade beauty Products!

This post is shared at: Whole Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Clean Food But Toxic Home, Creative Juice Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Monday Mania, Barnyard Hop, Hearth & Soul Hop

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Leave a Comment

  • Jamie October 10, 2012, 7:32 am

    After the birth of my first child I noticed the strong fumes from the cleaning products that I was using to clean our bathroom that was right next to her room. Since then I have been making my own cleaning products. You can find most of my recipes here on my blog;

  • Heather October 10, 2012, 7:54 am

    Just a question. You say to avoid lye but then say to use castille soap which is essentially oil and lye – so use soap or not?

  • Rebecca October 10, 2012, 8:46 am

    Lye reacts with oils to make soap – it is a chemical reaction and once the reaction takes place the lye has all been used up, turned into soap. Just like oxygen is the gas we breathe but when chemically combined with hydrogen it’s water and acts completely different. So… properly made soap has no lye in it and is “safe” to use. Though in many cases with a daily shower I think you’re better off with just water to keep your skin bacteria and natural oils in place.

  • Solveig October 10, 2012, 8:57 am

    Ditto with Rebecca and Heather. The lye itself IS toxic. When making homemade soap, the lye in combination with the oils causes the process called saponification, which buffers the lye. After they are poured into their molds, they are cut into bars in 5 days and it takes a good 5 weeks or more for the soap to completely saponify to be safe for use.

  • Jill October 10, 2012, 10:50 am

    HI Jamie,
    Thanks for the recipes. I also have sensitivities to chemicals such as cleaning products. I use a damp rag for dusting and vinegar for the floors.

  • Marbara Stivers October 10, 2012, 11:39 am

    After researching and cleaning up our food, my next goal was to get the chemicals out of our home. After attending a Norwex home party, I decided to sell these microfiber products – you only use water to clean! Haven’t bought any cleaning supplies since March…and don’t anticipate ever buying any. We also have laundry and dishwasher detergent w/o fillers. I have no problem telling people about these products because you are saving time, money, your health and the environment 🙂

  • Heather October 11, 2012, 11:51 pm

    Thanks everyone. Its good to the know all the lye is saponified by the time we are using it as soap.

  • Solveig October 12, 2012, 9:30 pm

    There are still non chlorinated cleansers out on the market (although you may have to hunt for some of them on the web) that use simply use grit and your elbow grease so that you don’t have to use comet or ajax that are chlorinated. There are: Old Dutch Cleanser, Bab-O and Barkeeper’s Friend.

    • franny April 30, 2013, 5:14 pm says that “The ingredients of Old Dutch Cleanser are pumice powder and bleach. The exact formula is still proprietary information. The product first appeared in 1905, and has had several owners since then.” This suggests to me that it is indeed chlorinated.

  • Jennifer October 16, 2012, 12:31 am

    With eating all of this butter/oil now, i’ve noticed my (very young) kids always have grease stains on their clothes. I don’t know how to get it out. Any suggestions?

  • Kel December 29, 2012, 12:27 pm

    Heather – I was having the same problem until I discovered that my homemade laundry soap would take the oil stains out if I wet the clothes and rubbed it in the spot before putting into the laundry. My laundry soap is a combination of fels naptha soap, Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda.

    • Kel December 29, 2012, 12:28 pm

      Oops! Sorry, not Heather – I meant “Jennifer”. 🙂

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