Our post on “Our Favorite Green Tips” got me thinking about different ways we can create safe and healthy home environments. One commonly overlooked area is household cleaners.
Just because household cleaners are on the shelf at your grocery store, doesn’t mean they are safe! Of the roughly 17,000 chemicals found in common household products, only 3 in 10 have been tested for their effects on human health. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t require manufacturers to test household cleaning products before they are sold in stores. That’s scary stuff! We are breathing and touching these chemicals.
Also, the EPA does not require chemical manufacturers to conduct human toxicity studies before approving their chemicals for use in the market. A manufacturer just has to submit paperwork on a chemical, and wait 90 days for approval.
When shopping for cleaners, just because an item has the word “natural” on it, doesn’t mean it’s “natural.” The word “natural” is undefined and unregulated by the government.
Tips on Choosing Safe Products
- If a product smells too strong and makes your eyes water, avoid it. Cleaners can “emit” fumes even while being stored.
- Avoid products that make cleaning too easy. If you don’t need to scrub, you should wonder why!
- Try making your own cleaners. Not only will you save money, but it is so much better for you! Try using vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
To make your own household cleaner, fill a spray bottle with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution and use in the kitchen to wipe counter tops and appliances. It’s a great disinfectant and gives a fresh clean smell. Fill another bottle with vinegar (apple cider or white.) Use the hydrogen peroxide solution and the vinegar right after the other. It doesn’t matter which order, just be sure not to mix them in the same bottle.
If you need a substitute for commercial abrasive cleaners, try baking soda. Use a grated cheese container made of glass and has a steel cap (the kind you find at a pizza place.) Fill it with baking soda and sprinkle it on surfaces and scrub.
What are your favorite non-toxic household cleaners?