It’s springtime, which means it’s time to scrub, sweep and sanitize every square inch of your house. Spring cleaning is also the perfect time to make the switch from hazardous chemicals to natural cleaning products!
The average home is filled with conventional chemical cleaning products, many of which can have a negative impact on both your family’s health and the health of the environment. But you don’t have to sacrifice sparkle for safety; consider these four popular cleaning products and their non-toxic alternatives:
- What’s in it: Isopropanol, propylene glycol, ammonium hydroxide, blue dye
- Why it’s bad: May cause respiratory discomfort, skin irritation, reproductive problems and destruction of aquatic plants
- Non-toxic alternative: Vinegar — make your own solution by diluting ¼ cup your vinegar of choice with 2-3 cups of water, or try a “green” window cleaner made with natural ingredients
- What’s in it: Phthalates, nitrobenzene, petroleum distillates, phenols
- Why it’s bad: May cause respiratory and skin irritation, headaches, as well as genetic defects and hormone disruption in humans and animals
- Non-toxic alternative: Olive oil and lemon juice –mix 1 cup of oil with ½ cup lemon juice for a pleasantly scented natural polish that cleans, shines and protects wood surfaces
- What’s in it: Chlorine, sodium carbonate, phosphates, artificial color, artificial fragrance
- Why it’s bad: May cause skin irritations, releases vapors that contribute to indoor pollution and respiratory discomfort, can leave toxic residue on dishes, encourages the growth of algae blooms (a major cause of fish and aquatic plant death)
- Non-toxic alternative: Try a phosphate-free, natural brand or make your own, with ½ cup liquid castile soap (don’t use regular soap, unless you enjoy cleaning up a bubbly mess!) with ½ cup water and a teaspoon of refreshing lemon juice
- What’s in it: Phosphates, phenols, petroleum distillates, artificial color, artificial fragrance
- Why it’s bad: Can cause skin irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin, as well as nervous system disruption, respiratory discomfort and water pollution
- Non-toxic alternative: Consider a phosphate-free formula such as The Clean Collection’s lavender detergent. Or if you’re up for the task, try making your own detergent with 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of washing soda, and 1 bar of soap. Shave the bar with a grater and stir in the other ingredients. Use 1 tablespoon per load of laundry.
Have your own “green” cleaning solutions or suggestions? Post them here!