Detoxing Your Cleaning Routine
With spring upon us, many people are anticipating a long held tradition to freshen and clean their homes. With that comes the choice of which cleaning products to use. While there are endless product choices available to consumers that all promise impeccable results, many people are unaware of the dangers involved in using these cleaning products.
The average cleaning product, whether it is bleach, dish soap, air freshener, or an all-purpose cleaner, contains harmful chemicals. Some of these chemicals, called “cancer causing agents” are linked to causing cancer. Other chemicals can cause eye irritation, damage red blood cells, cause chronic respiratory problems, headaches, asthma, allergies, disrupt hormones, and the list goes on.
Federal laws are currently not in place to force manufacturers to disclose all ingredients used in the cleaning products, but some manufacturers do list some of their ingredients. However, a little research will reveal which ingredients cause harm. Even if you are away from home while the cleaning is being done, the chemicals resonate in the air and on household surfaces. This is why many people have chosen to utilize the ‘green’ products available on the market.
What Does it Mean to Be Green?
Simply stated, green products are products that do not contain toxins that are harmful to your health or the environment.
There is not enough space here to list all the harmful chemicals that can be found in most cleaning products, even some of the so-called “green” varieties. It is important to note that some of the green cleaning products on the market are not really green due to lack of guidelines that have yet to be imposed by the FDA. Consumers can research products listed and ranked at the Environmental Wellness Group (EWG) site, www.ewg.org, to see which products meet the true “green” standards. The EWG is currently one of the leading advocacy groups for green or natural cleaning products.
Top Green Products
I’ve spent a significant amount of time researching products, trial and error, and have found a handful of top quality products that truly are green and safe to use.
EcoSense product line by Melaleuca company. This line of products is sold by a private company (Melaleuca) and you will not find these products in stores. It is a company that ships directly to consumers. These are the highest quality products for the best price.
Bon Ami is a scouring powder like Comet. It’s made from eggshells and ash and works great on tougher cleaning projects.
Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Pure Castile Soap (Peppermint) is sold in most natural food stores and has a variety of uses. The EWG ranks this as a top soap to use for all-purpose cleaner.
Sun & Earth All Purpose Cleaner (Light Citrus) is an all-purpose cleaner that can be found in some natural food stores. Environmental Wellness Group gives this cleaner an A rating for being green.
If you are interested in making your own products, white distilled vinegar works best. It is a great all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner and even disinfectant when used properly. To make it, pour one cup into your mop water and you’ll have a healthy, effective floor cleaner. (Note: there are varying opinions on using vinegar on wood and granite floors.) When using vinegar, be sure to use a 50/50 ratio of vinegar and water for window and all-purpose cleaner, otherwise it will be too acidic to use on your surfaces. The smell is… well, pretty vinegary, but it does dissipate as the cleaner dries.
Baking soda can also be used as a natural scouring product. Some people like to mix white distilled vinegar with baking soda to make a paste for tough areas like the oven.
Whether it is simply switching the products you use or hiring a cleaning services that specializes in green cleaning methods, the most important thing to remember is that care should be taken to protect the health of you and your family from any looming toxic cleaning chemicals.