Not so long ago cleaning our homes wasn’t such a complex and convoluted process. A couple of products did the trick back then. Over the last 50 years or so products multiplied not only in numbers but also in toxicity.
It isn’t uncommon to find our cleaning closets filled with products that clean windows, kitchen appliances, floors and countertops, products that clean bathrooms and even shower heads. There are even products to clean children’s toys, cribs, and high chairs just to name a few.
What makes these products any better than the ones our mothers and grandmothers used? Come to think of it… how do we clean our homes?
We’ve grown up thinking that everything must be surgical room clean. Remember that bleach smell or pine scent that’s supposed to say “clean?” Personally, those smells always gave me headaches and made me nauseated… still does.
There’s a reason for the headaches. You see, bleach is a caustic substance. This means that it’s corrosive and eats away at porous substances, including human skin and tissues! And when you breathe it in, it corrodes your internal organs. Yuck! and Double-Yuck!!!
Okay, back to how we clean our homes. We want to “clean,” “deodorize,” and “sanitize,” right? Have you ever stopped to think what these words actually mean?
To “clean” simply means to remove visible dirt. To “deodorize” is to remove or conceal an unpleasant smell. And finally, to “sanitize” is to alter something to make it more acceptable by removing unpleasant features, like infective materials.
Have you ever wondered what guides your decision as to which products to buy? How about advertising and merchandising? You know, those ads we see on television or in magazines? What the front of the packages and bottles say perhaps? “New and Improved!” “Kills 99.99% of Germs,” “Industrial Strength,” “Spring Fresh Scent,” Disinfects,” “Deodorizes,” just to name a few of their claims. Problem is, whenever we buy into it and purchase those products, we’re actually making our homes dirtier and more toxic than they were before!
All of the commercial products on the market today, and yes even the so-called “natural” ones, are loaded with horrific amounts of really toxic chemicals, from known and suspected carcinogens, neurotoxic solvents, reproductive toxins, and hormone-disrupting chemicals. Some even irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory system.
Chemical toxins from household cleaners can also impact how our immune system functions and how the brain develops – think children here, even unborn children.
How do you know if the products you have are safe?
An easy way to check is to turn your boxes and bottles over and look for these words: “CAUTION,” “WARNING,” “DANGER.” That’s really all you need to know. There are even some natural and organic products that have these words on their packaging!
The moral of the story is: Don’t forget to read the ingredients! You know what they say, if you can’t read the words, don’t buy it.
So, what can you use instead of these commercial products?
In our home, the only thing we use to clean is white vinegar and pure water in a 1:1 ratio. If you want to add a scent use a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mixture or even some freshly-squeezed lemon juice. When scrubbing is needed, we use baking soda and good ol’ elbow grease.
When transitioning to greener cleaner products, you can check these out:
- Green Shield Organic All Purpose Cleaner
- Seventh Generation – Free and Clear
- Mild Castile Soap like Dr. Bronners
A good go-to resource to check the safety of the products you’re thinking of buying is the Environmental Working Group’s website.
Keeping your cleaning products and routine simple will help keep your home clean and safe of toxic substances. We may live in a chemical society and may not have much choice once we step out of our homes but in our own homes, we do have a choice.
If you’d like to learn more about greener cleaning products, you can contact me and schedule a time for us to chat.