With spring right around the corner, many people are anticipating a long held tradition to freshen and clean their homes.
With that comes the choice of which cleaning products to use. Most people are unaware of the dangers involved in using regular cleaning products.
The average cleaning product, whether it is bleach, dish soap, air freshener, or an all-purpose cleaner, contains harmful chemicals. Some of these chemicals, called “cancer causing agents” literally cause cancer. Other chemicals can cause eye irritation, damage red blood cells, cause chronic respiratory problems, headaches, asthma, allergies, and can disrupt hormones. The list goes on.
That’s why it is so important to “go green”, even if it’s just for your health’s sake.
Federal laws are currently not in place to force manufacturers to disclose all ingredients used in the cleaning products. But some manufacturers do list some of their ingredients, and a little research will reveal which ingredients cause harm.
What does it mean to be green?
Simply stated, green products are products that do not contain toxins that are harmful to your health or the environment.
There is not enough space here to list all the harmful chemicals that can be found in most cleaning products (even some of the so-called “green” varieties). By the way, some of the “green” cleaning products are not really green due to lack of guidelines that have yet to be imposed by the FDA.
You can check products listed and ranked at the EWG site (Environmental Wellness Group http://www.ewg.org ) The EWG is currently one of the leading advocacy groups for green or natural cleaning products. To save yourself time, I’ve included a list of healthy products below.
I’ve spent a significant amount of time researching products, trial and error, and have found a handful of top quality products that truly are green, and safe to use.
1. EcoSense product line by Melaleuca company. This line of products is sold by a private company (Melaleuca) and you will not find these products in stores. It is a company that ships directly to consumers.These are the highest quality products for the best price.
2. Dr. Bronner’s 18 in 1 Pure Castile Soap (Peppermint ) Found in most natural health stores, it is a healthier alternative to a general cleaning product.
3. J.R. Watkins – These products smell good and work well. They can be found in some stores, and again a little pricier than your average cleaning product, but you receive a huge return on your investment when you consider your health.
4. Seventh Generation Toilet Cleaner- Found in some health stores, thsee toilet cleaners have an ear their smell, but are some of the best options for toilet cleaners because they lack harmful toxins.
5. Bon Ami – This is a scouring powder like comet. It’s made from egg shells and ash and works great on tougher cleaning projects. Baking soda can also be used as a natural scouring product. Some people like to mix white distilled vinegar with baking soda to make a paste for tough areas like the oven.
DIY – If you are interested in making your own products, white distilled vinegar works best. A great all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and even disinfectant when used properly. Pour a cup into your mop water and you’ve got a healthy, effective floor cleaner. (Beware: there are varying opinions on using vinegar on wood or granite floors.) When using vinegar, be sure to cut the vinegar in half with water for window and all purpose cleaner, otherwise it will be too acidic to use on your surfaces. The smell is… well, pretty vinegary. But the smell dissipates as it dries.
If all of this is too much, you can always hire a green cleaning service to do your cleaning for you. Even if you are away from home while the cleaning is done, the chemicals resonate in the air and on the surfaces. Care should be taken to protect your health and your family’s health from these toxic chemicals. Simply switching your products could save you a lot of money and headaches down the road.
Mary Moore is the owner of Green Clean Homes, a green cleaning service located in Gainesville FL http://www.greencleanhomes.com. In her spare time, she helps others to learn more about green products. For more information on green cleaning products, visit http://www.bestgreencleanproducts.weebly.com
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