Monthly Archives: September 2014

5 Toxic Cleaning Products

Many consumers, with the best of intentions, are actually poisoning their homes with chemical laden cleaning products. While your home may look and smell clean, traditional household cleaners are toxic and pose serious adverse health problems. Here’s the dirt on five cleaning products that you should toss and replace with greener options.

5 Toxic Cleaning Products

Ammonia

Ammonia is a popular ingredient in glass and window cleaners. When used, ammonia can affect individuals immediately. It can irritate the lungs when inhaled and can cause burns when it comes into contact with the skin. In fact, long-term exposure often results in serious lung diseases, like asthma and bronchitis. Risks are amplified when mixed with other cleaning products, such as bleach. This chemical combination produces a highly poisonous gas.

Bleach

Household bleach has many uses including whitening laundry, sanitizing household surfaces and killing mildew and mold. It is used alone and as a disinfecting ingredient in other products such as tub and tile cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners. However, the dangers of bleach are significant to your health. Exposure to bleach can immediately irritate eyes, skin and lungs. More serious side effects can include respiratory problems, headaches or migraines, skin burns and damage to the nervous system. When mixed with other cleaners, the toxic fumes emitted can be deadly. Additionally, studies have shown that exposure to bleach can disrupt the function of the thyroid gland in humans.

Triclosan

Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent found in many consumer products, such antibacterial hand soap, dishwashing liquid and toothpaste. While research is undergoing, studies have linked this ingredient to possible endocrine and hormonal disruptions. Furthermore, the medical community is concerned that products containing triclosan are actually helping to promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria, which could be disastrous for public health.

Sodium Hydroxide

Oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide, which is also called lye. It is a highly caustic substance that should never come into contact with the skin, as severe burns can occur. The substance also produces toxic vapors that burn the eyes if exposure is prolonged. Many who are exposed to oven cleaners in unventilated areas experience a sore throat that lasts for several days following use. This is due to the burning of the throat and lungs as the chemical is inhaled.

Like oven cleaners, drain cleaners also contain sodium hydroxide that can burn the skin, eyes and lungs if inhaled. Additionally, these products can cause blindness if they accidentally splash into the eyes. They can be deadly when poured into a drain or toilet that already contains a cleaning agent with bleach. When this occurs, deadly chlorine gas is formed.

Unfortunately, many of us were raised with these products in our homes. It is what we know and know works. However, not all the products lining the shelves of the grocery store are safe. Don’t brush the dangers of these products under the rug. Read the labels and look for green products that have garnished a seal of approval for being 100% all natural and non-toxic.

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Essential Oils: A Healthy & Fragrant Addition to Green Cleaning

As people experience the simple joys and excellent results they get by using common household items, such as baking soda and vinegar, it is natural to want to freshen up your cleaning solution recipes. The addition of essential oils is the next logical step in this process.

Essential Oils

Far More Than Just a Fragrance

Essential oils, as used in aromatherapy, can be revitalizing and stimulating (peppermint) or relaxing and soothing (lavender). However, you may not realize that it also offers other valuable health benefits. In fact, many essential oils have antimicrobial properties that make them particularly effective at killing fungus and other harmful bacteria, as well as sanitizing surfaces and clearing the air of unwanted odors.

The most commonly used, all-natural and biodegradable essential oils in green cleaning products are also easy to find and affordable, which makes incorporating them into your cleaning regimen stress free.

Five of the Best

  • Lavender: also known by the scientific name of Lavandula angustifolia, lavender oil is popularly used for its powerful antimicrobial action, floral scent and relaxing properties. A few drops of lavender essential oil can be added to white vinegar and water to clean floors and hard surfaces, as well as added to homemade laundry soaps for a luscious scent.
  • Lemon: scientifically named Citrous limon, lemon juice and lemon essential oil can be used in many ways to naturally freshen your cleaning routine. It is excellent at killing germs, cutting through grease and zapping soap scum. Its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties make this a great green solution for sanitizing surfaces, especially in kitchen and bathrooms. The low pH and high acid content also easily removes hard water stains and mineral deposits.
  • Peppermint: also called Mentha piperita, peppermint oil is an excellent insect and pest deterrent, as well as a strong antibacterial agent for surfaces that leaves behind a refreshing, minty scent.
  • Orange: like lemon oil, orange oil, or Citrus sinensis, adds antimicrobial action to cleaners for all types of surfaces. Additionally, it is an excellent grease-cutting agent.
  • Tea Tree: otherwise known as Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil is an essential oil that every home should stock for both its disinfecting properties when used in cleaning, and its important healing and antiseptic properties when used for skin care. Tea tree oil is one of nature’s finest antibiotics.
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Why Green Cleaning Options are the Best Options!

It is true; we tend to become set in our ways. In fact, most people can look inside their homes and find that they recognize many of the products they buy as the same ones used by their parents, during their childhood years. It is not that these familiar products are necessarily better or even cheaper; it is just human habit of choosing what we know. Thankfully, the move toward green cleaning products is doing its part to make sure that our children see something far different, and safer, when they look around their homes a few decades from now.

Benefits of Going GreenGreen Is Easy on You

Storage space is precious to homeowners. Having shelf after shelf of cleaning products takes up valuable real estate that families could utilize in far better ways. Instead, simple pantry items, like vinegar and baking soda, can form the basis of a complete arsenal of powerful home cleaning products. Even better, these green cleaners are non-toxic and won’t need to be stored under lock and key for safety around kids and pets.

Green is Easy on Your Wallet

Commercial cleaning products, especially the brand names that we grew up with, can be quite expensive. Each one has a separate purpose, requiring us to purchase many different products. Most pantry items used for green cleaning are extremely affordable and available on most grocery or convenience store shelves.

Even better, each one will have many different uses in our homes. For example the same baking soda that is used for green cleaning can also be used in cooking, taken internally for indigestion, used as a natural toothpaste, and as a freshener for both laundry and litter boxes. How’s that for versatility?

Green is Easy on the Planet

Eco-friendly cleaning products are derived from plants or minerals and do not have long lists of harmful side effects. Most are so gentle that toddlers can help parents with the cleaning chores with no risk of accidental poisonings and skin irritations. These green cleaners will not harm pipes, ruin septic systems or pollute groundwater. Isn’t it time you went green?

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