- 11 Super Easy Clean Living Tips for a Toxin-Free Home
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- Learn How To Keep Your Home Free of Toxic Air Pollutants
- 27 Chemical-Free Recipes for DIY Spring Cleaning
Unfortunately safety data on many of the antibacterials used as alternatives is scant. Found in laundry stain removers, oven cleaners, and degreasers, 2-BE is a skin and eye irritant that made the list of toxic substances in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. This ingredient is a solvent used in some degreasers and heavy-duty cleaners. Banned for use in cleaners in the EU, this compound has been linked to reproductive health effects. Fragrances may also trigger asthma and allergies.
In addition to the above effects, many common cleaning products will burn or irritate skin and eyes, and many are fatal if swallowed. Thankfully, none of these ingredients are necessary for cleaning your home. A growing number of commercial, non-toxic home cleaning products are also available as healthier and environmentally responsible alternatives. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe ingredients that you can use alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.
The vast majority of cleaning projects can be tackled with nothing more than vinegar, baking soda, soap, and water, but other ingredients are useful for specific jobs. Unscented soap in liquid form along with soap flakes, powders, or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Castile soap is one example of an excellent, versatile cleaning ingredient. Avoid using soaps that contain petroleum distillates.
Use white vinegar to cut grease; remove mildew, odors, and some stains; and to prevent or remove wax build-up. Washing soda or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral.
11 Super Easy Clean Living Tips for a Toxin-Free Home
It cuts grease; removes stains; softens water; and cleans walls, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use with care, since washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum. Alcohol is an excellent disinfectant. However, some safety concerns with isopropyl alcohol also known as rubbing alcohol make other forms of alcohol the more cautious choice.
Vodka is a potent odor remover, and other forms of ethanol grain alcohol can be used for cleaners and disinfectants. Citrus solvent cleans paintbrushes, oil and grease, and some stains. But beware: citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities. A common disinfectant for wounds, hydrogen peroxide can also be used for disinfecting in the kitchen or bathroom. Its mild bleaching effect makes hydrogen peroxide an excellent stain remover for fabrics and grout.
It may cause skin or respiratory irritation, so handle with care. Many people consider borax to be a mild skin irritant. The MSDS lists borax as a health hazard of 1, similar to salt and baking soda.
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However, recent research indicates that sodium borate and its derivatives have the potential to harm the reproductive system. While studies have not been done in humans, at least one study clearly shows endocrine disruption in animals, and the European Union now considers borax toxic to human reproductive systems. Most cosmetic manufacturers have removed borax and sodium borate from personal care products because they are easily absorbed by human skin. If you choose to use borax in home cleaning, use sparingly and protect yourself. Combinations of the above basic products can provide less harmful substitutions for many commercial products.
Here are some formulas for safe, alternative home care products. Note: These formulas and substitutions are offered to help minimize the use of toxic substances in your home and reduce the environmental harm caused by the manufacture, use, and disposal of toxics. Before applying any cleaning formulations, test in small hidden areas if possible. Always use caution with any new product in your home. Make sure to keep all homemade cleaning products well labeled and out of the reach of children.
Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. Or use a citrus-based natural all-purpose cleaner.
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Another alternative is natural fiber cloths , which lift off dirt, grease, and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years. Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell. In contract, the formulas below absorb and remove odors for a healthier breath of fresh air. Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using the shower. Combine drops of your favorite essential oil with a cup of baking soda and sprinkle liberally on carpet.
Allow to sit for a few hours before vacuuming. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water. For fresh grease spots, sprinkle cornstarch onto spot and wait 15 — 30 minutes before vacuuming. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Lemons are one ingredient to keep in your house cleaning arsenal.
Day-to-day cleaning can be done with simple soap and water or vinegar spray. To remove stuck-on food, wet the area with hot soapy water and sprinkle with baking soda. Cover with a damp towel and allow to stand for half an hour, then wipe with a clean damp cloth. Use a silicone spatula to help loosen food.
Learn How To Keep Your Home Free of Toxic Air Pollutants
Be sure to remove all residue. Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe. For cleaning bamboo or wooden cutting boards, Bamboo Goo conditioner is another excellent non-toxic option. Different types of stains respond better to different types of stain removers.
Straight vinegar can be used for many food stains, as well as sweat and set-in stains. Just spray the stain thoroughly prior to washing. A solution of water and hydrogen peroxide can be used to soak out grass, underarm, and many food stains.
Remove stains in cups by applying vinegar to a sponge and wiping. Let cool, wipe with a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly with water. For surfaces other than granite or marble, an all-purpose vinegar solution is a good choice, and undiluted vinegar works for disinfection when necessary. Stick with soap and water for granite and marble, which can get etched by acids like vinegar. Use hydrogen peroxide if you need to disinfect.
Plastic food storage containers: Soak overnight in warm water and baking soda In-sink garbage disposal units: Grind up lemon or orange peel in the unit Carpets: Sprinkle baking soda several hours before vacuuming Garage, basements: Set a sliced onion on a plate in center of room for 12 — 24 hours. Avoid conventional detergents and fabric softeners, since additives may build up and make the diapers less absorbent in addition to exposing little ones to potentially hazardous chemicals. Mix equal parts washing soda, baking soda, and kosher salt. Increase the washing soda slightly if your water is hard.
Commercial low-phosphate detergents are not themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae, which uses up oxygen in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use liquid soap. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for tough jobs. Or use a citrus-based, natural dish soap. Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and 3 cups hot water.
27 Chemical-Free Recipes for DIY Spring Cleaning
Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners. To disinfect kitchen sponges, put them in the dishwasher when running a load. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain.
After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue.