It’s springtime! Before you load up on green smoothies, start with this easy guide to detox your cleaning routine.
Nothing beats a crisp spring day to make you feel more rejuvenated after a long busy winter with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Spring is also the time to open the windows and let fresh air in to motivate our spring cleaning. While that cross-breeze may feel fresh, the chemicals in many cleaning supplies are not. To protect your family and the environment here is a helpful guide to going green with your cleaning supplies.
Chemicals To Avoid:
Chlorine & Ammonia – These active ingredients can irritate the skin as well as the respiratory system, and when mixed, can create hazardous fumes.
Phosphates – Some examples include nonylphenol and octylphenol which can lead to algal blooms. Protect our marine life!
Phthalates – Often found in fragranced products, phthalates can be absorbed through inhalation or through the skin and are known endocrine (hormonal) disruptors.
Triclosan – Also suspected to be endocrine disruptors, triclosan is more commonly associated with antibacterial products, which are generally to be avoided, and is known to promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.
2-Butoxyethanol – These compounds contribute to respiratory problem in addition to such serious conditions as narcosis, pulmonary edema, and liver and kidney disfuntion. Unfortunately the EPA does not require this ingredient to be listed, but it can most often be found in window and multipurpose cleaners.
Chlorine – The body’s response to chlorine can be as minimal as a respiratory irritant to as severe as a thyroid disruptor. To minimize your chlorine consumption check out the ingredients in store-bought toilet bowl cleaners, laundry whitening, mildew treatments, and scouring powders.
Sodium Hydroxide – This extremely corrosive chemical can lead to serious burns on the skin and eyes. NaOH is often found in drain and oven cleaners.
Perchloroethylene “Perc” – Now classified as a “possible carcinogen” by the EPA, perc can also cause dizziness and inhibit coordination. This neurotoxin is often found in upholstery and carpet cleaners and dry-cleaning solutions.
Reputable Products: Green Gear
E-Cloth – These nylon and polyester cleaning cloths pick up 99% of bacteria without absorbing any of the grime, so a quick soak in hot water and the E-cloth is back in action.
The Duop – This “bucketless mopping” gadget has a ball-and-socket joint with a detachable microfiber cloth that can washed and replaced making it one of the cleanest and greenest mops on the market.
Reputable Products: Green Brands
Dr. Bonner’s – Try their Castile Soaps and Sal Suds
Seventh Generation – All Purpose Cleaner, Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Shower Cleaner, and Glass & Surface Cleaner
Our House – Sanitizing Surface Cleaner & Shiny Surface Cleaner
Naturally Yours – Enz-Away; Basin, Tub and Tile Cleaner; and Gentle Soap
Eco-Friendly DIY All-Purpose Cleaner:
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1/2 lemon juiced (optional)**
- 15 drops essential oil (opt for calming scents like eucalyptus and lavender or something zingy and citrus based)
Mix all ingredients in a 16 oz. spray bottle, shake up and get cleaning!
**If using lemon juice, store cleaner in fridge between cleanings.
There are some products on the market that hit the mark on eliminating some but not all of the ingredients listed above. Each person’s sensitivity to chemicals and ingredients is individual and it’s best to research the ingredients on any product you are using before determining if you find the ingredients tolerable. When we are educated about our choices we make better choices! I also don’t want anyone to feel they have to dump everything down the drain and start from scratch. Maybe you make this transition gradually or all at once, the choice is yours.