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Published Jan 23 2014 in are cleaners toxic?, castile cleaner, Category_Green Living, dr bronner's cleaner, eco-friendly cleaner, environmentally friendly cleaner, essential oil cleaner, homemade floor cleaner, homemade glass cleaner, homemade multi-purpose cleaner, how to make cleaner, how to make cleaners, how to make floor cleaner, how to make glass cleaner, popular, vinegar cleanerWhen my daughter started crawling, and putting everything she could find in her mouth, I really started questioning our household cleaning products. Although I had an idea that they were somewhat toxic, I never realized the full extent of their destruction until I started to do more research. Turns out, the common household, multi-purpose cleaner is far more toxic than I’d imagined, and inside the home, it’s our little ones, pets, and elderly who suffer from these products the most. So before I talk about the alternatives, I want to first convince you why you should stop using the poison you currently use to clean with. 1. Health: Household cleaners enter our bodies through absorption in our skin, or inhalation when we breathe. These products contain carcinogens that cause and/or promote cancer growth, neurotoxins that disrupt your nervous system, and “hormone disruptors” that interfere with the body’s natural, chemical messages. Here are a few (of the many) common ingredients found in household cleaners, and the effects that they have on your health.*
- Ammonia: Found in glass cleaner, oven cleaner, drain cleaner, car-polish, and multi-purpose cleaners, is known to irritate the eyes, nose and throat, cause kidney and liver damage, and when mixed with chloramine bleach, the highly poisonous chloramine gas is formed.
- Fragrances: Oh, fragrances…you are the worst! Phthalates are a common fragrance ingredient in floor polishes, glass cleaner, fabric softeners and deodorizers--they are endocrine disruptors, and have even been found to affect the sperm count in men! Air-fresheners contain cancer-causing benzene and formaldehyde (so ironic).
- Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs): Degrade into nonylphenols (NPs), which can mimic the hormone estrogen. In laboratory experiments, NP has been shown to stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells. NPEs can be found in stain removers, all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, degreasers, and car wash products.
- White Vinegar: Vinegar (acetic acid) deodorizes, cuts grease, and due to its level of acidity, it kills bacteria, mold and germs. It is non-toxic and completely environmentally friendly.
- Citrus: Citrus, lemons in particular, are high in citric acid, which makes them a great grease cutter and disinfectant. It can also be used as a stain remover because of its mild bleaching properties. The lemon peels I use help give the cleaner a fresh, lemony scent.
- Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap: This soap is eco-friendly, fair trade, Non-GMO, and is a great alternative to harmful detergents! It is very concentrated, so it’s best to dilute it for cleaning purposes. There are so many uses for castile soap, from shampoo to dish soap, and I use it in many recipes, so stock up if you’re along for the ride!
- Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol): Although environmentally friendly, this is one ingredient that I still want to keep out of my daugher’s reach, and prolonged exposure is also warned to me harmful—so I’m suggesting you should not “huff” it like glue for an extended period of time. That being said, and since you’re not a bunch of morons, Isopropyl alcohol is a fabulous cleaning ingredient. It’s ability to evaporate quickly makes it a great glass cleaner, and since it is 70-99% ethanol, it’s obviously a great disinfectant too.
- Essential Oils: Tea tree oil, and Lavender oil are my favorites essential oils for cleaning due to there disinfectant qualities. Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties that can kill staphylococcus, e-coli, shigella, and salmonella, making it a super hero in the kitchen. There is a long list for what Lavender oil can do--it's so versatile. Check out the health benefits of lavender oil here. Lavender oil as a cleaning agent is a powerful disinfectant with a beautiful scent.
The Only 3 Household Cleaners You Need
Cleaner #1: Multi-Purpose Citrus CleanerIngredients:
The photo on the left is even after he tried cleaning the break dust off with "tire cleaner." The tire on the right has just been cleaned with lemon peel-infused vinegar and baking soda!
- Citrus Peels (majority lemon)
- 1-2 Cups White Vinegar
- 15-20 Drops Essential Oils.
Cleaner #2: Glass and Floor CleanerIngredients:
- 1 Cup Isopropyl Alcohol
- 1 Cup White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Water
- 15-20 drops of essential oils (I like Lavender in this recipe)
Cleaner #3: Multi-Purpose Castile CleanerIngredients:
Ready to Detox Your Home?Step 1: Go around you home and gather all the cleaners that you'd assume would kill you or put you in the hospital if you were to drink them. Step 2: DO NOT DUMP THEM DOWN THE DRAIN! Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) needs to be disposed of properly. Contact your local Regional District, Landfill or Recylcing Depot to find out where they take HHW. It may also be helpful to read this article. Step 3: Make the cleaners I've listed, or experiment with your own!