This guest post was written by Michael Hayes, founder of Empire Maids, a NYC based housecleaning service specializing in organic and family friendly cleaning methodologies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From shampoos and deodorants, to cosmetics and household cleaners, we are surrounded by chemicals. However, for many of you, it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. On the other hand, as more studies and tests are conducted, there is a growing concern about the harmful effects these toxic chemicals have on our families and pets in the long run.
There is proof that prolonged use or exposure to chemicals, particularly the harsh, toxic properties contained in cleaning agents, can be hazardous to our health. While it’s important to keep your living space clean, it is equally important to maintain a chemical-free environment within the walls of our home. The best way to do this is to replace those toxic chemical cleaners with non-toxic alternatives. Here are some useful tips to get you started.
1. Say ‘No’ To Ammonia!
Yes, ammonia-based cleaning agents are excellent for getting household surfaces gleaming and removing stains; however, it is a toxic chemical that causes skin and throat irritation, respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues. Older individuals and young children, in particular, are more susceptible to the harmful effects of ammonia. Therefore, it is best to use safer, non-toxic alternatives such as:
- White vinegar (diluted/undiluted)
- Baking soda and water/white vinegar
- Rubbing alcohol
- Toothpaste and water
You can clean almost any household surface using one of the above cleaning solutions.
2. Chlorine Isn’t The Answer To Toilet Bowl Cleaning
A wide range of toilet bowl cleaners contain chlorine for good reason. It is very effective in removing stains rather easily. With that said, we should point out that prolonged exposure to chlorine (mixed with other toxic chemicals) can also cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other issues. To clean your toilet bowl without the use of harsh, toxic chemicals, consider any of the following options:
These products may require more elbow grease and time to clean your toilet bowl efficiently, but they are the safest alternatives to those harsh chemical cleaners.
3. Clean Windows Without Glycol Ethers
Glycol ethers are the collective name for a number of harsh solvents used in glass cleaners. It is also the reason for that pungent odor you smell when the fumes become airborne. While this unpleasant fragrance can be rather overbearing, the real problem lies in the harmful effects glycol ethers has on our health. They can cause drowsiness, throat irritation, allergies, and more serious health-related issues such as kidney and liver damage. As an alternative, look for eco-friendly glass cleaners or simply make a solution of water and vinegar to wash your windows.
4. Try Natural Fabric Softeners
The use of fabric softeners is so common that no one seems to question the toxic chemicals present in these sheets that help make your laundry soft and fluffy. Well, you should know that fabric softener sheets have proven to leave chemical residue on your clothes and fabrics that can lead to skin irritation or rashes. Hence, we advise replacing dryer sheets with approximately half a cup of white vinegar to achieve the same softness as you typically would with dryer sheets.
When it comes to non-toxic alternatives for home cleaning, the biggest misconception is that they will not be as effective as their toxic, chemical counterparts. Well, we hope these tips will put those concerns to bed and awaken more important ones regarding the use of toxic cleaning agents.
What tricks do you have for going from toxic to safe in your life?