Earth Day is around the corner and what better way to celebrate than to commit to a green spring clean? Just like we discussed at our second workshop, many products we use to clean our homes are toxic and can make the inside of our homes less healthy. Using natural cleaning products will reduce the toxins in your home. They can improve your indoor air quality by decreasing exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes. Natural cleaning products will also help our overall environment by decreasing the amount of chemicals that are released into our soil, water, and air. Through the use of green cleaning products, we are moving towards a more eco-friendly, healthier way of living for everyone.
Be wary of products that do not disclose all of their ingredients. On personal care and household products, the use of the labels “organic,” “non-toxic,” and “eco-safe” is not regulated by the FDA or USDA. Companies can use these terms even if their product is toxic. If you would like to find out about some of the chemicals in the cleaning products you use, check out www.scorecard.org. Simply type in the name of a chemical on the ingredient list of a cleaning product and find out the health hazards associated with it. For example, household bleach is a neuro- and blood toxicant.
There are a lot of earth-friendly products out on the market today. Their efficacy has increased significantly from some of the early attempts. One of our longstanding favorites for soaps, shampoos and cleaners, is a San Diego County, family -owned company, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. BioKleen is another company you can trust to be eco-friendly.
There is also the option of making these cleaning items yourself with common, earth-friendly products such as borax, white vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda.
Some SqueakyGreen recipes* are listed below.
All Purpose Cleaner
2 cups of hot water
1 tsp. biodegradable liquid
soap or borax
1 tsp. white vinegar or lemon juice (to cut grease)
Fill spray bottle with hot water. Add soap and vinegar or lemon juice. Shake bottle gently solve ingredients.
1/4 cup of baking soda
1 cup of vinegar
Sprinkle baking soda into toilet basin followed by the vinegar. Allow mixture to sit for several minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse with water. A mixture of borax(2 parts) and lemon juice (1 part) will also work.
2 cups hot water
1 tsp. borax
3 tsp. white vinegar
Fill spray bottle with all three ingredient and shake for 30 seconds. Keep bottle in shower and mist sower wall and door/curtain after each use. Helps prevent mold and mildew from developing.
* From a grant from: The California Integrated Waste Management Board and San Diego Regional Household Hazardous Waste Partnership