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 Eco-Labels.org 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 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!