Non-Toxic Ways to Clean Your Whole Home
You clean your home to make it safe and healthy for yourself and your family. But if you’re using conventional cleaning products, you’re replacing dirt with all kinds of chemicals and toxins that can themselves be harmful. These chemicals can exacerbate allergies and asthma, damage indoor air quality, impact the environment, and have other toxic effects on people, pets, and even plants.
Are Chemical Cleaners Really That Bad?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit that examines the effects of chemicals and toxins on the environment and people, found that 53% of cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful to your lungs. You may even notice the warning “fatal if swallowed” on some bathroom cleaners in your own home! Even worse, EWG also found that only about 7% of cleaning products fully disclose their ingredients on their labels — leaving off some of the worst (and scariest) chemicals they contain.
What About “Natural” or “Eco-Friendly” Cleaners?
There are no federal regulations that require cleaning product manufacturers to disclose their ingredients. Even if a product is advertised as “natural,” there’s no requirement for it to live up to that claim. Your best bet is to make your own cleaners (see our tips below), or if you prefer store-bought, to choose something that has met rigorous third-party criteria. Check out EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning for a list of products rated A-F, or search the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Safer Choice-Certified products.
How to Clean Green
Do you need to trade dirt for chemicals to have a truly clean home? Actually, no! With white vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and salt, you can clean pretty much anything, from windows to laundry. (And later you can make lemon cake.) Plus, these ingredients cost next to nothing compared to store-bought cleaners.
By reducing your exposure to some of the worst chemicals in cleaning ingredients, you’re also reducing your exposure to known carcinogens, harmful fumes, and even ingredients that can be immediately fatal to you, your children, or your pets. And when you cut out the chemicals, you’re also not releasing them into the water supply by washing them down the drain or allowing them to run off into the gutter, thereby benefiting the environment.