“Better Living through Chemistry” has brought us the modern standard of living and eased our lives. But decades of thoughtless usage and disposal has caused incalculable damage to ourselves and our planet. Household cleaning products may be the most toxic everyday items that we use. It’s time to rethink and use non-toxic substitutes to reduce your impact on the environment.
The Top 10 Household Offenders
How many of these products, considered ten of the worst household cleaning products, are in your home?
- Drain cleaners
- Oven cleaners
- Toilet cleaners
- Spot Removers
- Metal Polishes
- Furniture Polishes
- Cleansers and powdered cleaners
- Window cleaners
- Liquid Cleaners
Most of these cleaning products consist of some pretty harsh and very environmentally damaging chemicals. They go down the drain and flow through the sewage system to a treatment plant (or into your septic tank), and then the water is expelled back into the water system.
GREENING YOUR CLEANING
Natural cleaning recipes abound on the Internet. You will find the same ingredients with different proportions. First try with smaller quantities of the more expensive ingredient; you can add more until you find what works for you.
Baking soda absorbs oil. Anything that has an oily residue can be cleaned by shaking a bit of baking soda inside, then rinsing with warm water.
NATURAL DRAIN CLEANING
½ cup vinegar ¾ – 1 cup baking soda Pour the baking soda down the clogged drain, then pour in the vinegar and watch it fizz. Cover. Allow the baking soda and vinegar solution to sit and work for about 30 minutes. Pour a few cups of hot or boiling water and just wash away the clog. For a big clog you may need to repeat. Monthly treatments may reduce potential clogs.
NATURAL WINDOW AND GLASS CLEANING
Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake it well and use to clean windows or any other glass.
NATURAL FURNITURE POLISH
Mix ¼ cup vinegar with a couple of drops of olive oil. Tip (1): The best type of vinegar is organic apple cider vinegar. If you are concerned about staining, use distilled white vinegar. Tip (2) you can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar. Apply to furniture using a soft cloth. Be sure to shake the bottle during cleaning to keep the mixture from separating. Wipe completely off.
VINEGAR AND BAKING SODA TOILET CLEANER
1 cup vinegar ¼ cup baking soda Pour the vinegar into the toilet bowl. Leave it sit for about 30 minutes. Scrub as needed. You can sprinkle the brush with baking soda for a little added effectiveness.
TUBS AND SHOWER TILE WALLS
Wash down with baking soda. For added strength you can wipe down with vinegar first and then scour with the baking soda. Do not to leave vinegar on tile grout because it can damage it.
COUNTERTOPS AND MIRRORS
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray and scrub. You can warm first and let stand for a bit for really tough jobs. Rinse thoroughly.
Baking soda can be sprinkled in the bottom of your trash can, diaper pail and recycling bin (and many more). This will help with ongoing odor removal.
UTENSILS AND CONTAINERS
Let them soak with water and a little dishwasher liquid. Really, this is a green tip.
Mix equal parts vinegar and water in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for three minutes. Let it stand in the microwave for about ten more minutes. Everything should be loosened up and easy to wipe off.
Combine one tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon of baking soda. Add one tablespoon of water and mix to create a paste. Spread with a cloth and scrub.
Use this as a monthly preventative measure. Pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 gallon of boiling water down the disposal. This melts and loosens the offending materials that clog drains. You can also use citrus pieces or rinds down the disposal to clean the disposal’s blades and gives a fresh scent to your kitchen.
For information on green cleaning options that you can make at home, here are a couple of great resources:
- Non-Toxic Home Cleaning Options
- 67 Homemade, All-Natural Cleaning Recipes
- 9 Cleaners You Can Make Yourself
- Homemade and Natural Cleaning Products
- 66 All-Natural Cleaning Solutions
And for off the shelf products, here are a couple of choices: