Have you ever stopped to think about the chemicals and toxins that you are exposed to in your own home?
Our home is where we spend a lot of our time, where we care for ourselves and family and is where we rest and sleep. It should be a safe haven, right?
There are many benefits to clean living, and no one wants to live in a home polluted with toxins and chemicals. Yet unfortunately, cleaning your home with traditional chemical cleaners can lead to a decline in lung function, according to a recent study.
Many of us grew up learning to clean our homes with bleach and strong disinfectants, but most of these cleaning products have been linked to early puberty, infertility, allergies, asthma and even cancer. These are some of the many reasons that we need to implement natural cleaning tips and routines to protect our health.
According to the EWG, “Cleaning products can bring toxic chemicals into your home, which tend to build up in indoor air. In fact, EWG tested 21 commonly used cleaning products—like air fresheners and multipurpose cleaning sprays—and found that they emitted more than 450 chemicals into the air, including a number of compounds linked to asthma, developmental and reproductive harm, or cancer.”
I first learned of the health harm that these cleaning products could cause when my three daughters were infants. Over the 4 year period that the girls were babies, they all began breaking out in rashes and eczema periodically – our youngest almost constantly. When our family or friends would hold our daughters, we noticed that they would break out in rashes in the areas that their skin was touching the clothing of the person holding them. That was an eye-opener for sure!
We had to start requesting our friends and family to place a blanket – provided by us – on top of their clothing before holding our daughters. Talk about awkward! I knew that this was a sign that we needed to take a closer look at our laundry detergents and other cleaning products right away.
We quickly learned that these harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients were triggering the allergies, and later asthma symptoms, in our daughters. So for several years, we searched high and low looking for safer, less toxic products. I started evaluating and thinking about all the surfaces my daughters would come into contact with and what I was using to clean, including our floors, kitchen table, counters, bathroom, and carpet cleaner.
We’ve tried countless brands of eco-friendly and natural cleaning products over the past 10 years and finally got a cleaning routine that works for our family, that is non-toxic and eco-friendly, and actually saves us time and money too!
5 NATURAL CLEANING TIPS TO REDUCE CHEMICALS IN YOUR HOME
1. Ditch your chemical cleaning products and switch to microfiber.
High-quality microfiber cloths, such as Norwex, are an easy, non-toxic, chemical-free way to clean your home. All you need is a microfiber cloth and water! You can clean just about anything with just water, which is not only a natural way to clean but will also save you time and money.
2. Use DIY cleaning solutions, when needed.
Norwex microfiber cloths and mop can clean the majority of your home, but another option is to make homemade natural cleaning products using vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, fragrance-free liquid soap, and essential oils.
A great DIY natural all-purpose cleaner is Lemon Vinegar Cleaner. This recipe is perfect if you want to use vinegar, but don’t necessarily love the way it smells. The lemon really helps make it smell nice!
LEMON VINEGAR CLEANER
- 1 Lemon
- 2 cups Water
- 2 cups Vinegar
Cut lemons into small wedges. Put the lemon slices in a spray bottle. Add two cups of water and two cups vinegar and secure the lid. Allow to sit for 2-3 weeks until the vinegar smell has reduced. Use around the kitchen and bath as an all-purpose cleaner.
You can also visit the Environmental Working Group’s website to download the Guide to Healthy Cleaning, which contains more homemade natural cleaning recipes and tips. I love the EWG because they are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.
3. Don’t use laundry detergents, air fresheners, or any products that have “fragrance” listed on the label.
These products often contain undisclosed chemicals in the “fragrance” that can contain endocrine disruptors, such as phthalates and other ingredients that can trigger allergies.
Look for natural sources of fragrances, such as essential oils.
4. Avoid common chemicals linked to health harm.
Some of the chemicals to avoid are quaternary ammonium compounds(or quats) and triclosan (an antimicrobial) which is linked to triggering allergies and can disrupt thyroid function even at low levels.
Avoid the use of toilet cleaners, oven cleaners, or other products that contain hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, sodium or potassium hydroxide, or ethanolamines. These chemicals can cause skin burns, blindness, and lung irritation.
5. Look for products certified by Green Seal or Ecologo.
According to the EWG, “These certification programs include robust screening mechanisms based on scientific health and environmental standards. If you are looking for a sanitizing or disinfecting cleaning product, choose one certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment program.”
OTHER HELPFUL NATURAL CLEANING TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
- Ventilate! Open your windows, if and when you are using any type of cleaning products.
- Never use ammonia and chlorine bleach together. They can create a dangerous toxic gas.
- Visit the EWG’s website for the Healthy Cleaning Guide and more healthy cleaning tips.
Overall, if you want to create a safer, healthier home, you’ll want to reduce or eliminate cleaning products and make sure you are reading the labels carefully to avoid fragrance and other harmful ingredients. Be wary of “green” labels and products that claim to be natural and eco-friendly, since these terms are largely unregulated. Cleaning companies don’t need to disclose all of their ingredients. You are usually better off making homemade natural recipes or sticking to microfiber options to avoid using cleaning products altogether.
For more natural cleaning tips and cleaning with microfiber:
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