The air inside of our homes can be more toxic and deadly than the air outside. With all the talk of pollution
nowadays, very few people are pointing out that the most waste and pollution is being caused by the everyday products we use in our homes. That’s right; most the products found on the store shelves, even ones claiming to be all natural, are in fact not natural and can be more toxic than smog.
You see, most products are based on a few simple ingredients; that is, they use either petroleum byproducts, lye, chlorine, or ammonia as their base cleaning solution. Who wants those on the skin or in the home? Petroleum byproducts not only give off noxious, undetectable carcinogens, they also leave an oily residue that attracts more dirt. Who wants that? You clean only to have to clean more because the cleaning solution cannot be rinsed off of stuff.
Lye is an all around no-no. It forms the base of most commercial cleaning products in the U.S. They even mix it with cow fat to make bar soap for the body. This product slowly eats away at whatever is cleaned with it. That means your cloths, the sink, the carpet, and other surfaces become eroded and tiny holes form that can trap dirt particles forever. Besides that, it is worse than petroleum products when it comes to safety. It is more harmful than sniffing exhaust fumes, and yet millions of unaware consumers are filling their homes with it only to have to also pay a huge doctor bill because the family is always sick.
Chlorine may be the worst yet. It produces a chemical compound known as dioxin, a byproduct of its natural cycle as the chemical breaks down. It is used in swimming pools, as part of disinfectants, and in most household stain removers. Bleach can cause pneumonia with repeated exposure as it systematically destroys lung tissue. Smoking cigarettes is a lot safer. And sadly, it builds up in the home; it doesn’t go away. So after a short period of time from using regular dishwashing detergents, bleach, that gritty grime cleaner, or other products containing bleach or chloramines, your home is filled with a cancer-causing, oxygen-destroying compound that is making you tired and sick. It literally leaches oxygen from your body right through your skin and lungs.
Ammonia is another of our household cleaners. I could go on to another whole topic about ammonia. It isn’t safe and it attracts pets to urinate wherever it is used. Besides being a noxious smell, it is just something to be avoided in household cleaning.
And by far this list is not at its end, though I will end here. I could write a book about all the chemicals used in the making of commercial household and body cleaning products, such as PBA, and fragrances, and some surfactants. Instead, I want to give you hope. You can have a germ free, clean home without all the cancer-causing and autism-causing, and pneumonia- and asthma-causing chemicals. You can have clean indoor air and a sparkling fresh home.
The answer is using or making all-natural cleaning products that deliver all their name implies. Most cleansers can be made with what you have in your food cabinets, while others can be found at your local grocery store such as Target, Wal-Mart, or other retailer who supports biodegradable green products. Just watch out for false advertising.
From the Home
1. Baking soda is one of the best cleansers on the market today. It has endless possibilities.
Toss a cupful into the wash to brighten whites or colors and remove stains. Use as an all-purpose scrubber for stubborn surface stains around the home. It’s an all-natural deodorizer for stinky floors, carpets, cupboard, or other surfaces. Simply sprinkle it on, let set, and vacuum or dust away.
It can be used on the teeth as a gentle polisher, on the hair as a shampoo or hair product residue remover, or in the bath water to leave your skin feeling soft and radiant. Got hard water? Use it to soften the water in your wash loads of clothes, dishes, or floors. You can also mix it with your water before adding it to a fresh-water aquarium to help soften the water. Do you have a nasty stain, spill, or urine spot on your carpet? Simply pile it on the spot and let dry, or wet a stain and then apply. When dry, vacuum it up.
2. White vinegar and lemon juice are excellent disinfectants.
Use it on your floors, on surfaces, in your washing machine, or as an addition to any wash water. It also helps soften water, and its acid fighting power kills germs and bad smells in a heartbeat. Use it straight, or dilute it. It makes an excellent spray for disinfecting surfaces and can replace aerosol disinfectant sprays around the home. At the same time it is safe enough to add to your favorite foods and it is so cheap.
Do you have tarnished metal objects, stainless steel, brass, copper, or silver? Use a mild solution of vinegar or lemon juice and baking soda to scrub the surfaces. Pots and pans can be submerged onto warm water with this mixture and boiled until sparkling clean. Wipe off residue, and admire them. Additionally, this mixture can be used to deodorize any space. Place a dish of it in the microwave or oven and set to low heat for a few minutes, leave it in the fridge overnight, or use it on a urine stain. Simply wait till it has stopped fizzing and then let it work its magic.
While these are excellent in aiding the healing and cooling of a mild skin burn from a hot object, tomatoes can clean copper and brass to a sparkling clean. Just use raw fresh ripe tomatoes, preferably frorm a home garden. Use them like you would the vinegar and baking soda cleaner.
4. Hot Water
How water is an excellent cleaning agent. Use it as hot as your gloved hands can stand and a scrubber pad. It cleans and disinfects with ease. If you buy a carpet or surface steamer you can even disinfect these surfaces with ease. And nothing is more natural than water. Just be sure to use distilled in your steamer equipment to avoid those nasty hard water and mineral build up stains. (This goes for other surfaces too, especially if the water has iron in it.)
5. Essential Oils
Orange or lemon oil added to water in a spray bottle can be used to clean wood furniture or wood floors. It conditions as it cleans. Just add 10 drops to a full spray bottle of water, spray on, and wipe off with a soft cloth.
Lavender kills germs and bacteria. It’s safe for skin and surfaces, and pests hate the smell. Run mice, fleas, and other vermin off surfaces with it. Simply use it like the orange oil or add it to the orange oil. It adds a pleasing scent and a calm atmosphere.
Household cleaner essential oil. Now it sounds strange, but Wyndmere essential oils markets this oil blend. It’s a blend of oils such as spruce, eucalyptus, grapefruit, orange, and others. The effect is disinfected air and surfaces with a pleasing scent that lasts for days. Use a dilution similar to the orange oil spray bottle or mix a few drops in with any bucket or tub of cleaning water. I mix a bottle of it up with distilled water and vinegar to make a fast clean anywhere solution. The bottle lasts for a week or so.
There are other essential oils out there; a little research could provide you with a list of plant derived oils that are safe for you and your home with no ill side effects.
6. Orange cleaner
A few companies market this stuff. I would be troubled to name just one. The list of ingredients is usually orange oil, citrus peel, and a few other organic and plant derived ingredients. It works great, removes bad odors and stains form work clothes or cleaning rags, and cleans well around the home. It works very well. We use it for our floors and other surfaces. It’s strong enough for the grease on your auto, and gentle enough to use on your towels. Just be sure to use it according to the label direction as it needs to be diluted first.
7. 7th Generation
Petroleum and chlorine free, this product bases its products on corn. Its philosophy is simple; think ahead to the world we make for the next seven generations. The cleaning products work fantastic and are usually cheaper than the products they replace. Their laundry soap works excellently on clothing; it cleans, brightens, and leaves them smelling fresh. The fabric softener works better than other softeners I have used; a little bit goes a long way.
The all-purpose cleaner can be used anywhere. It fights grease, sparkles up mirrors, removes odors, and disinfects. We even use it on leather and wood surfaces that are washable. It comes in both scented and unscented versions. A very tiny spray of it cleans very, very well.
The dish soap 7th Generation is also pretty good . It smells great and gets them just as clean as other petroleum based brands, without the petro. It is also corn based. Try it along with any of the other corn based products such as the dishwasher detergent, baby care laundry soap, or other wide range of cleaning products.
We tried the mop and the dish soap and were impressed by both. The microfiber mop came with an all-natural floor cleaner and works like a charm to pull up stains, stuck on food, and even grease. The floor was clean and disinfected. The dish soap works as well as the other ones on the market and comes in a wide variety of all natural scents. If my memory serves me right, Method is soy based and comes in recycled packaging with soy ink. It’s cheaper than the commercial products on the shelf, and the mop was sturdier than the other floor cleaning products found nearby.
9. ScentSation (1-800-333-8294)
Removes odors fantastically well and lingers in the air for days. It’s not overpowering and is safe for nearly all surfaces. It’s made of all natural compounds. It is environmentally correct, and is not over powering. We use it by adding it to mop water, a spray bottle of water for room spray, or in cleaning solutions that need an added boost of freshness. It contains water and essential oils. We have the potpourri scent, and it comes in a spray bottle.
It literally destroys any odor. It has almost no scent and leaves the room and surface just smelling clean. It’s an enzyme that’s safe for pets and children and disintegrates within minutes of use to leave no harmful compounds in the air or on the surface. Use it to remove urine smells on wood, carpet, tile, bedding, diaper pails, any flooring, and any surface that is safe to get wet. Use it for anything from mold or mildew smell to pet odors, sports equipment, carpets, automobiles, garbage cans, basements, furnaces, ductwork, furniture, fish smells, smoke smells, or any other noxious smells. It works quickly and safely.
As for Cleaning Rags, buy aftermarket rejects, from auto parts stores or in Wal-Mart. Microfiber and white rag grab bags can be a great way to use up products that would normally be wasted. Most these products are made form cotton or blends. Microfiber is safe for all surfaces, even skin, yet it works magic on things that need to be scrubbed such as stains and floors. Old sheets, cotton bed sheets, make excellent rags for cleaning windows and smooth surfaces such as wood or stone. Old underwear also make good rags, just give then a good wash through and cut up into useable sizes like the bed sheets. Nearly all old used clothing can be recycled this way if it is made of the right fabric.
Cleaning Up Our Act
There are more and more products on the market. These are my top ten. Our home smells fresh and clean when we use them, and our respiratory problems ands skin allergies are now a thing of the past. No more grimy surfaces that attract more dirt, no more overpowering chemical smells, and certainly our home is cleaner.
There is a lot we can do to protect the environment. The first thing we can do is clean up our home environment. We can do this by removing toxic and unsafe chemicals from our homes and replacing them with all natural and organic cleaning solutions that work just as well if not better.
You may feel compelled to run out and replace all your cleaning products, or you may feel overwhelmed to toss out all the money you have spent on them. Changing out cleaning products can be as simple as replacing them when you run out with the alternative toxic commercial product. Just be sure to make sure that they are not just safe for the environment, or biodegradable, but that they also promote a clean and healthy home. After all, the air quality in your home is the first thing you can do to improve your health today.