So you are someone who is careful of what food you ingest. You buy organic, you drink filtered water, you purify the air in your home, you do yoga regularly. But have you thought about what exactly it is that you touch, what you spray into the air, what you inhale… every single time you clean? A horrifying number of the most harmful toxins ever created are probably found right in your cupboards. Stop. The. Madness!
The average household contains anywhere from three to 25 gallons of toxic materials, most of which are in cleaners. And get this – there is NO law that requires manufacturers of cleaning products to list their ingredients on their labels, nor are they required to test their products to make sure they are safe. Cleaning ingredients are considered “trade secrets,” so government regulations are actually more concerned about protecting this proprietary information than they are about protecting human health or the environment. Nice, huh?
It’s easy to know what to avoid when the package clearly states: Danger, Warning, or Poison. Don’t go near these – it’s not worth it. But even in packages that don’t say these words, there are still some other incredibly harmful ingredients to look out for. Detox your home and protect your health by avoiding a few of the worst key chemical cleaning products here (and try some of the natural alternatives given after!):
- Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners are toxic to your respiratory and circulatory systems.
- Diethylene glycol found in window cleaners depresses your nervous system.
- Phenols found in disinfectants are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
- Formaldehyde is found in spray and wick deodorizers, and is not only a respiratory irritant, but a suspected carcinogen.
- Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners can quickly damage your mucous membranes.
- Perchloroethylene, in spot removers, is known to cause long-term liver and kidney damage.
- Butyl cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver.
- Replace your toxic cleaning products with new ones from a natural food store. Make sure that they list all of their ingredients, and that they do not contain petroleum-based surfactants, chlorine or phosphates. Be sure to look for the words “nontoxic” and “biodegradable.
Even better, make your own! Some of the most effective cleaners are made with ingredients that you probably already have at home, and are fun and easy to make. (Packaged in pretty glass bottles or jars and put in a basket, they also make great gifts for anyone who just moved into a new house!)
Homemade Natural Cleaning Solutions:
- Furniture Polish: Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 pint of vegetable oil. Apply a small amount to a clean cotton cloth and wipe wooden parts of furniture.
- Rug Deodorizer: Deodorize dry carpets by sprinkling liberally with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes and vacuum. Repeat if necessary.
- Mothballs: Use cedar chips or a sachet with any or all of the following: lavender flowers, rosemary, mint, white peppercorns.
- Whitening Scouring Powder: Combine 1 cup baking soda, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1/8 cup borax, 1/4 cup grated lemon, orange or grapefruit peel and mix well. Scrub using a damp sponge.
- Glass Cleaner: Combine 1 1/2 cups vinegar, 1/2 cup water and 8 drops citrus essential oil in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray and wipe with a dry cloth or towel.
Keep yourself informed! Some helpful links: