One of the most commonly used household toxins are our cleaning products. In the past few decades, a plethora of chemicals have come on the market with which we can “clean” our homes. The problem is, these products are doing much more harm than good. Products that claim to disinfect, eliminate mold and relieve offensive odors contain a truckload of harmful ingredients that studies are continuing to prove hazardous to our health. Why is this allowed?
Unfortunately, household cleaning products make no health claims, they are not subject to the FDA’s health tests and regulations. They do not undergo the same rigorous testing for safety as do health products. But this does not mean the fumes they emit are not actually harmful. In fact, the exact opposite is proving to be true.
We all know not to let bleach touch our skin, not to be in an unventilated room while using ammonia, and not to mix our chemicals. Why? Because the caustic nature and fumes of these chemicals can cause all sorts of serious, if not deadly, reactions. The problem is, though, that even with using these precuations, there is a residual affect to using these chemicals in our homes. That bleach you used to scour your tub is still present when you fill your tub with your children’s bathwater, even if you rinsed and rinsed afterwards. The fumes of ammonia and spray on cleaners like Lysol remain in the air, inhibiting our brain’s function and growth.
The list of consequences to our overuse of chemicals in our households goes on and on. So what is the answer? Can we effectively clean and disinfect our homes without the use of these chemicals? Yes we can!
Here are a few helpful hints on how to rid your home of these chemicals and replace them with natural, safe, economical alternatives!
Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
There are dozens of DIY recipes for natural cleaning things you find in your kitchen cupboards, like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon as well as many essential oils. This is easy, economical, and effective. MomsAWARE has an abundance of recipes and resources for making your own cleaning supplies. They are also in the middle of a ten-step journey to chemical-free cleaning challenge. I love this website and all of Andrea Fabry’s Toxic Talk Tuesdays for a wealth of knowledge on how essential oils and everyday, natural ingredients cleanse, disinfect, deodorize, etc. !
At this point in my life, making my cleaning supplies is just too much for me.
I have used Melaleuca for a number of years now and continue to be impressed with it. Their main ingredient is tea tree oil, a natural anti-microbial and generally amazing essential oil. Many of their products are concentrated and will last for a year or more, so even though the up front cost may appear more expensive, it ends up being cheaper in the long run.
So far, the only qualm I have with Melaleuca is that some of their products, including the dish soap and laundry detergent, contain fragrance, a derivative of petroleum.
But for an even more overall cost-effective, simple option,
I recently discovered Norwex and e-cloth and am hooked! The above two options still bring a number of various cleaning supplies into my home that make me feel cluttered. I like more of a “one size fits all” approach, and Norwex has nailed it. With their revolutionary design of a natural, antibacterical silver microfiber cloth, this and water are virtually all you need to clean your entire house! The envirocloth is their all-purpose cloth and works to wipe down and effectively clean your whole house. Of course, they have a vast amount of particular cloths for particular purposes, but for the most part, you can get away with cleaning the majority of the house with just the envirocloth. Use the envirocloth and window cloth and achieve spotless, streak-free windows in seconds–with no chemicals! Clean your oven and stove tops with their cleaning paste and spirinettes and without the use of potent chemicals. Reduce soap scum in your bathroom with the bathroom scrub mitt.
Norwex cloths have a 2 year guarantee but are tested to work for up to 7 years. The e-cloth is comporable, while possibly slightly less quality, but for significantly less cost.
The long and short of it is that there are so many options to effectively and economically clean your home without the use of harmful chemicals! Find what works for you, and share any other suggestions you have!