After featuring how to detox and cleanse yourself after the holidays and housework, it’s time to focus on safe products for cleaning your home.
I was appauled by a Clorox Bleach commercial featuring their cleaning products in a kid’s classroom in order to prevent the spread of germs. Well, chlorine bleach is one of the most toxic chemicals you could expose a child’s delicate system to. Again, we as “average” Americans are getting their information from advertisers, when their goal is to sell – not to educate!
I am happy to report also, that even the Clorox Company has started a line called “Green Works.” Now again, I was weary, as they are a big corporate company, and just because it says “natural” on the label, it could be an advertising ploy. But alas! I read the contents and it contains plant and mineral based cleaning agents that are biodegradable, and not tested on animals. It contains no phosphorus and no bleach. No Bleach! The very company that is synonymys with bleach is developing products without it! My fiancé and I have tested it, it works just as well as the other toilet bowl cleaners that contain bleach. We also live in a neighborhood with one huge mainstream grocery store, and was surprised they carried some of the newest eco-friendly brands like Method.
And well, you have to take a moment to realize what this really means in the bigger scope of things. It means that the bigger corporate companies are changing, because of where we as consumers are putting our dollars. It just goes to show, that our buying power IS changing the way even the big corporate companies function! I know as an individual you may think, “well, I’m just one person,” or “my neighbor is still using the harmful stuff, so his crap is going down the drain while my eco friendly is mixing with it.” Well, if we keep making choices otherwise, can you imagine one day when the government bans Chlorine and that neighbor will have no other choice! So let’s show those companies what products are the right ones now, and for future generations.
So here is a concise explanation of dangerous chemicals found in cleaning products, and a list of the “green” ones. Pull out all those cleaning products from your cabinets and read the labels. Of course after you have deduced what is safe and what is toxic, the dilema is what to do with it: either use it up, donate it to a local church…? as you don’t just want to dump down the drain. Well, that choice is up to you, and simply making the commitment not purchase them any more is a huge first step. If this seems all new to you, carry with you the next time you shop the list of harmful contents and names of companies that are eco-friendly…and become an avid label reader! This is the BEST way to make educated purchasing decisions.
Avoid these harmful chemicals:
Alkylphenol Ethoxylate - is a “stain remover” – harmful to immune system & disrupts hormones
Ammonia – poisonous when swallowed, eye, nose & throat irritant, lethal gas when mixed with bleach
Glycol Ether aka Butyl Cellosolve – damages nervous system, bone marrow, and the kidney and liver. The EPA Clean Air Act has classified as hazardous air pollutant
Chlorine Bleach – emits a poisonous gas, is an eye, nose, throat, skin, and lung irritant, harmful. May damage immune and reproductive systems. Is harmful to our water systems and rivers and lakes when washed down the drain
Formeldehyde - highly toxic & a known carcinogen
Phenol - suspected carcinogen, fatal if swallowed
Phosphates – harmful to the environment and our water supplies: when drained into lakes algae over-produce and consume the phosphates, then microorganisms consume the algae depleating water of oxygen resulting in lakes and rivers drying up! – found in dishwashing liquids and laundry detergents
Sodium Hydroxide – eye, nose, and throat irritant: found in drain, metal and oven solutions
Sodium Laurel Sulfate - a common "de-greaser" is a carcinogen, toxin, genetic mutagen
And “terms” that are not natural or necessarily safe:
Antibacterial – strips away your bodies’ natural defenses to protect against germs
Fragrance – is usually artificial, or petrochemicals
Nontoxic – is not a term verified by the government
All-Natural – again, sometimes it’s an advertising ploy – READ THE CONTENTS
I call this the safety zone:
Here is a list of more environmentally-friendly ingredients:
Enzymes - instead of phosphates or solvents
Vegetable-based cleansing agents
Liquid castile soap
photo:Sacremento Magazine, Beth Baugher
Here is an entire list of Eco-Friendly Cleaning Companies and Products:
(There are so many,
and so many more I have yet to discover, I'm sure!)
Green Works by Clorox
Timothy Corrigan Home Care
Click on any of the company's websites above, they provide a store finder to find where products are sold. Some of them offer free samples & coupons, too! Or you can order directly online from their website and they may offer a discount on shipping. Most are available at great discount prices on drugstore.com & amazon.com.
Start smart, Start simple with the ECOS Kitchen Starter Kit, includes 4 products for under $20!*pictured above* http://www.ecos.com/
GO GREEN GO!
The “greenest” you can go – is truly all natural, the most environmentally friendly list:
Mix with water, put into empty spray bottles and create your own, effective, truly all natural cleaners:
White Vinegar – mix half and half with water for all surfaces, (except wood) Best for windows! Lemon Juice – add to vinegar to cut the sour smell – lemon juice is anti-bacterial too!
Baking Soda – a good scrubbing powder for sinks, tiles, and bathtubs & absorbs odors
Borax - an "oldie but a goodie" - brightens laundry (instead of bleach), use as toilet bowl cleaner, too. My mother used this, and my grandmother, too!
Hydrogen Peroxide – great degreaser and natural sanitizer. It is considered an oxygen cleaner, great for cleaning for wood or plastic cutting boards
Olive Oil – great for polishing wood
Lemon Oil – wood polish, smells great too!
Other quick tips:
No more sponges! – they harbor bacterias & mold, use organic cotton wash-cloths instead
Avoid paper towels! – use old cotton knit tshirts as rags to wipe things clean. Then wash & re-use them again and again. If you can't kick the paper towel habit, at least buy them unbleached. Or use biodegradable wipes by Method & Green Works.
WANT YOUR "ECO" VOICE HEARD? Sign petitions against companies who continue to use harmful chemicals, host a "green cleaning party", and to get more information on safe cleaners go to this amazing website: Women's Voices for the Earth: http://www.womenandenvironment.org/