Almost everyone comes across some type of cleaning product everyday and we don’t always know what ingredients are in these products. Many common household cleaning products contain ingredients that could potentially harm the environment, and can even cause harm to people. It is important to know what cleaning products are safe to use especially if you have small children. With such a large focus on being environmentally friendly, there are increasing numbers of all natural products on the market that are becoming easier to find everyday.
Many common household cleaners contain ingredients that can irritate our skin, eyes, and lungs, and they can also leave pollute the water or leave toxic residues when we wash them down the drain. Even dish detergent can cause pollution as it often times contains phosphates which pollute groundwater. Laundry detergent can contain bleach and other corrosive substances, and wood cleaners contain many toxic, flammable chemicals like nitrobenzene. To combat this problem many companies have introduced green cleaning products that are made with all natural ingredients and are much safer than cleaning products that contain ingredients like bleach and ammonia. Household cleaning products can also be made from safe substances that can be found right in most peoples houses.
Common household items such as soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and borax can be used to make a variety of natural cleaners that are safe for your family and the environment. A mixture of white vinegar and water makes a great glass cleaner and is safer and much cheaper than buying a bottle at the store. You can use either baking soda or cornstarch as a carpet deodorizer, and a mixture of white vinegar or lemon juice and salt makes a great cleaner for mold and mildew. There are many different recipes available which use common household products that you can use to clean.
Research has been done regarding the effect on the environment of using cleaning products that contain toxic ingredients and the results are somewhat shocking. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside a typical home is on average about two to five times more polluted than the air just outside the home, this is due largely in part to pesticides and household cleaners. A study from the U.S. Geological Survey of various streams revealed that over sixty percent of streams surveyed contained disinfectants, and metabolites from detergent. Not only does using all natural cleaning products protect the health of you and your family, it helps to protect the environment as well.
- Safe Cleaning Project Initiative – information on a national effort to reduce women’s exposure to to hazardous chemicals found in cleaning products
- Household Products Database – a great database from the US Department of Health and Human Services featuring information on what is in household products, the potential health effects of certain ingredients, and how to safely handle any hazardous substances
- Cleaning Product Facts – some great information on little known facts about cleaning products from the Soap and Detergent Association
- Product Labels – some tips on reading cleaning product labels and the importance of doing so
- Phosphates in Detergent – a huge amount of information on the use of phosphates in laundry detergent, which are now widely outlawed in many places
- Homemade Cleaning Recipes – a great list of ingredients that can be used to make your own natural cleaners, also includes some great cleaning recipes
- Natural Cleaning Products – a great article on why it is good to switch to using all natural cleaning products, also provides information on some companies that make all natural products that can be purchased