Approximately 85,000 chemicals are in use today. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, complete toxicological screening data is available for only 7% of these chemicals, and more than 90% have never been tested for their effects on human health. Wow!
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, household cleaning products rank among the most toxic everyday substances to which people are exposed, and most chemical brands are not safe.
Some especially toxic household cleaners include ammonia, chlorine bleach, aerosol propellants, detergents, petroleum distillates, phthalates, and toluene.
Many of these substances not only harm the skin, but they also give off toxic fumes that affect the person using the product and everyone else in the area.
Everything from dermatitis to headaches to cancer have been associated with the chemical products we use to clean our furniture, bathrooms and clothes, including air fresheners.
Traditional cleaning agents infect our lungs with carcinogens, assault our immune system, and expose us to unnecessary physical stress.
They are also typically made from petroleum, and remain toxic in the earth’s soil, water, and environment for generations.
In contrast, green cleaning products are typically made with common kitchen ingredients like water, white vinegar, baking soda and castile soap. Some also include coconut or orange oils, and other powerful plant ingredients.
Making the switch to naturally derived, biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products is easy. Today’s green cleaning products have been proven to clean just as well—if not better than— traditional cleaning products without the side effects associated with the use of toxic chemicals.
As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market.
Look for brands like Branch Basics, Mrs. Meyer’s, CitraSolv, Ecover, Seventh Generation, and Method next time you are at the store. Branch Basics is my favorite, and I find it actually works better than any conventional products I’ve used.
In these financially challenging times, being green usually means saving money too! These effective, non-toxic green cleaning recipes cost just a few dollars to make:
Homemade Glass Cleaner
Using isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar together makes a quickly evaporating spray glass and mirror cleaner that competes with national brands. This formula can also be used to give a nice shine to hard tiles, chrome, and other surfaces.
If you use old newspaper to wipe your windows and mirrors, you’ll have the ultimate eco-friendly, streak-free shine!
- 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp. vinegar
Mix together in a reusable spray bottle.
- 2 tsp. borax
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 3-4 cups hot water
- 15 drops tea tree oil
- Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and mix well.
- For extra cleaning power, add 1/4 tsp. liquid soap to the mixture.
Tub and Tile Scrub
- 1-2/3 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup liquid soap
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. vinegar
- Mix all ingredients, adding the vinegar after the other ingredients are well mixed. (if you add the vinegar too early it will react with the baking soda).
- Immediately apply, wipe and scrub.
- 1 cup of borax
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- Pour both borax and vinegar into the toilet before going to bed. In the morning, scrub and flush.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- Mix into a bowl or spray bottle, and polish furniture with a soft cloth.
- Wipe dry with another cloth.
- To brighten laundry, add one half cup of strained lemon juice during the rinse cycle.
- For a fabric rinse, add one quarter cup white vinegar during the washing machine’s rinse cycle to remove detergent completely from clothes.
- To reduce the amount of laundry detergent you need to use, add baking soda or washing soda. These minerals soften the water, which increases the detergent’s power. For liquid detergent, add one half cup soda at the beginning of the wash. For powdered detergent, add one half cup soda during the rinse cycle.
Related: Homemade Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent
For even more awesome cleaning recipes, including dishwasher detergent, floor polish and more, check out my favorite book on the subject, DIY Non-Toxic Cleaners.