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Green Cleaning for Health and a Healthy Environment

    Did you know that the cleaning products you pick from the supermarket shelves contain a cocktail of toxic chemicals? These chemicals harm humans, plants, animals, and the earth. They can harm unborn fetuses and infants, causing irreversible damage in many cases. There are thousands of cleaning products that promise sparkling clean floors, toilets, kitchens, and laundry. What they don’t tell you is that they can also cause a range of health issues. The recent pandemic has brought cleaning, hygiene, and sanitation to the forefront like never before. There was a huge and immediate need for an ultra-clean environment to reduce the risk of germ transfer. However, it also increased awareness of the safety risks of using commercial cleaners. But if you toss out your chemical-loaded cleaners, what are you left with? Despair not; plenty of amazing, affordable, and easy alternatives exist. So, here are some great tips for Green Cleaning for Health and a Healthy Environment in 2023. 

    What Chemicals Do Commercial Cleaners Contain?

    A recent book by Beth Greer, titled Super Natural Home, explores the extent and nature of chemical content in our everyday cleaning products. Environmental experts opine that cleaners present in the average home could be in the region of more than sixty.

    Alarmingly, there is no federal regulation of chemicals in domestic cleaning products. There is no requirement for ingredients or products to meet safety standards nor undergo any testing before they are launched in the market.

    California was the first state to mandate ingredient labeling under the Cleaning Product Right To Know Act for both in-store and online cleaning products.

    Though manufacturers claim that these products’ minuscule amounts of chemicals are harmless, the problem is constant exposure and gradual build-up. We also know very little about how these products react with one another. You may have noticed certain effects when you use them, such as headaches, eye and skin irritation, and, most dangerously, the risk of cancer and respiratory diseases.

    Some of these toxic chemicals include:

    Phthalates: in air fresheners, toilet paper, dish soap, bathing bars, or any cleaner or cosmetic that contains fragrance. They cause endocrine disturbances.

    Perchloroethylene: in carpet and upholstery cleaners, spot-cleaners, and dry-cleaning. They are possible carcinogens and cause dizziness and loss of muscular coordination.

    Triclosan: in dish-washing detergents and hand soaps labeled anti-bacterial. Causes antibiotic resistance and endocrine resistance and could be a possible carcinogen.

    Ammonium Compounds: in fabric softeners and domestic cleaning products labeled antibacterial. Causes skin irritation and respiratory problems that could lead to asthma.

    2-Butoxyethenol: in kitchen and window cleaners and multipurpose cleaners. Causes sore throat, pulmonary edema, narcosis, and liver and kidney damage.

    Other commonly found chemicals include ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, coal tar dyes, ethanolamines, phosphates, sodium lauryl sulfate and laureth sulfate, silica powder, and more.

    Being exposed to this massive level of chemical toxicity is certainly not something you would choose for yourself or your loved ones. These chemicals poison the soil and groundwater and release toxic fumes into the air.

    What Is Green Cleaning?

    This is a process and lifestyle where you consciously select products that are good for people and the planet. These products are a better choice because they are biodegradable, less wasteful, and made from environmentally friendly ingredients. It means you are aware of cleaners’ chemical components and deliberately avoid such products.

    When you choose to adopt green cleaning, you may face some challenges:

    • Common misconceptions and myths that deem green cleaning products as expensive, using exotic ingredients, and difficult to store and use
    • Lack of information on product labels. Manufacturers are not required to disclose all the ingredients on the labels of household cleaning products.

    “Green-washing” where some companies make false claims of being eco-friendly, safe, or natural

    Green Cleaning for Health and a Healthy Environment in 2023

    To adopt green cleaning, you will have to make a deliberate and conscious choice to avoid chemical cleaners. One way to do this is to enroll yourself and the family in a short-term course in this subject.

    This gives you the awareness and ability to read labels and understand the chemical components in the product. You can look for labels such as Design for Environment, Low VOC, or No VOC (volatile organic compounds). Other labels include Green Seal, Safer Choice, and Ecologo.

    You can choose products from your supermarket’s Eco-Friendly shelves or a supermarket that stocks non-toxic cleaning products. Check with your supermarket if they can source and stock green cleaning products. Encourage your relatives, neighbors, and friends to patronize this store and help popularize the Green Movement.

    Whenever you buy, check if they can be stored for a longer time. Then you can buy them in bulk at a discount. This is useful if the store is at a distant location.

    Buy multi-purpose cleaners. Most cleaning products can be used for different purposes and can do double duty.

    If you hire a professional cleaning company, check whether they use eco-friendly products and methods.

    Make Your Own Green Cleaners

    Making your own household cleaners is the safest and smartest way to fight toxic cleaners and chemicals. Most of the ingredients in these all-natural cleaners are available right there in your kitchen or pantry.

    All-Purpose Cleaner: Removes odors, hard-water stains, wipes wall smudges, shines appliances, metal, and tiles. Mix vinegar and water in equal proportions, add lemon rind and fresh rosemary for fragrance. Pour into a spray bottle and spritz on the affected surface. Let it remain, then dry it with a damp microfiber cloth. Don’t use it on granite or marble.

    Cleaner-Deodorizer: Make a thick paste of baking soda and a little warm water. Apply liberally on steel sinks, ovens and cook-tops. Leave overnight and wipe dry with a damp microfiber cloth. To remove nasty drain smells, pour baking soda directly into the drain and leave overnight.

    Glass: Mix ½ cup of white vinegar, ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol, 2 cups of water, and any essential oil for fragrance. Spray on mirrors, glass surfaces, and windows. Avoid using it in direct sunlight. To prevent streaks, apply the solution on paper towels and rub.

    Rust stains: Dip half a lemon in ½ cup of borax powder and rub on porcelain or enamel. Rinse and dry. Don’t use marble or granite.

    De-Greaser: Mix 2 cups water, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, ½ tsp dishwashing liquid, and 1 tbsp baking soda in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray on the greasy surface. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe dry with cotton waste.

    Most of these products can be used to remove mildew, clean bathroom and kitchen tiles, clean hardwood, and unblock drains.

    Final Thoughts

    Switching to green cleaning can make all the difference to your family’s health and well-being. You can prevent allergies and serious diseases such as cancer. Ensure that your whole family is on board before you make the change. This helps to build a more aware and conscious transformation of your environment.