Many of the products we use to clean our homes contain toxic chemicals that may and can be harmful to our health, including solvents, surfactants, fragrances, caustics or chemical disinfectants. These chemicals are known to cause eye, skin and throat irritation as well as more serious chronic respiratory and neurological diseases and even some cancers. Before you use a product, think about the toxic residue that will remain on your skin, on surfaces and in the air inside your home.
Cleaning products can also contaminate our drinking water sources when they are rinsed down drains and flushed down toilets. Recent studies have shown that when common liquid laundry detergents are discharged into rivers and other bodies of water, they can interfere with reproductive function in marine life.
Avoid products labeled “Danger,” ”Poison,” or “Warning” and work outside or provide fresh air if you must use a strong product to get a job done.
It is easy to make your own safe cleaners from simple food ingredients. Here are some non-toxic cleaning solutions you can make yourself:
Baking soda – cleans, deodorizes, scours, removes stains
White vinegar – cuts grease, cleans windows, unclogs drains, acts as a mild disinfectant and deodorizer, works as a fabric softener in the wash
Lemon juice – bleaches, deodorizes, cleans
Coarse table salt – removes rust; combined with lemon juice, polishes copper
Olive or walnut oil – polishes furniture, removes non-latex paints and adhesives from hands
Borax (also known as sodium borate) – cleans, bleaches, deodorizes, controls ants and cockroaches
Washing soda – cuts grease, scours, removes stains
Vegetable-based liquid soap (castile soap) – is a general purpose cleaner
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) – is a concentrated natural disinfectant that can be added to liquid hand soap as well as dish and laundry detergents
Hydrogen peroxide – removes stains, can be used as a mild alternative to chlorine bleach
Toothpaste – polishes silver
Hot water – added to baking soda, borax or washing soda makes an effective scrubbing paste and increases efficacy
Microfiber cleaning cloth – enhances the cleaning power of any of the above
BioKleen – A manufacturer and supplier of earth-friendly, safe, non-toxic and biodegradable cleaners for industrial, marine, automotive, janitorial and household purposes.
Bon Ami – A unique, earth-friendly company providing biodegradable household cleaners for all surfaces that are free of chlorine, perfumes and dyes.
CleanWell – All natural hand sanitizers and hand wipes made from renewable resources. Contains no alcohol and safe for kids!
Ecover – An international company active in the production of ecological cleaners, supplying dishwashing, laundry, household and personal care products to more than 20 countries.
PureGreen24 – The first “green” disinfectant, PureGreen24 has the lowest toxicity rating assigned by the EPA. Available for purchase from the website.
Seventh Generation – Non-toxic and environmentally safe household products, including paper towels and tissue, cleaning/dish/laundry products, trash bags, diapers and baby wipes and personal hygiene products.
Universal Stone - an organic, non-toxic, low odor, all-purpose cleaner from Germany that cleans, polishes and protects almost every hard finished surface.