The second way that cleaning chemicals harm our homes is by coming into contact with surfaces we touch and eat off of. This can be especially harmful to families with small children who tend to frequently put objects in their mouths. Children in general have poor hand to mouth habits and over-spray from a cleaner can end up traveling quite a distance to land on unintended surfaces. Again, this problem is a serious one, but it’s also one that can be almost completely avoided at home.
It may seem daunting to switch over all the cleaning products in your home. That’s why I’ve come up with this helpful timeline of just how to start and which products are impacting you and your family the most.
How to Make the Switch
It wasn’t until I had my first daughter that I knew I had to make a change. I didn’t do it all at once either. It was a long slow process of changing one thing at a time. I was so confused when I would walk down the cleaning aisle, choosing what I hoped was a safe cleaner based on the eco-friendly name. But what I learned later on was that just because a company’s name sounds healthy, it may not be. I started using EWG’s Database for cleaning products to help me remove the worst offenders in my cleaning arsenal.
Step 1: Go to Environmental Working Group’s Database of Household Cleaners to see see where your cleaning products rank. Anything that you use daily and has an F score should be removed right away.
Step 2: Decide if you want to make your own cleaning solutions or buy healthy made-for-you products. Either way decide is a step in the right direction. The list below includes everything you will need to make your own with links to purchase the items. Or if you’ll be purchasing your own, I highly recommend Thieves Cleaning Products.
Step 3: Remove and replace everyday and kitchen cleaning products with your choice of non-toxic ones.
Step 4: Remove laundry detergents, stain removers and fabric softeners and replace with non-toxic laundry care items.
Step 5: Remove all bathroom cleaners that contain toxins and replace with non-toxic solutions (tub and tile cleaners, toilet bowl cleaner, disinfectants, etc.)
Step 6: Remove all deep-cleaning solutions, or cleaners you only use once in a while and replace with a non-toxic option.
The Problem with Store-Bought Cleaning Products
Some of the worst in ingredients include:
BLEACH: Skin and respiratory irritant. When mixed with other cleaners can cause poisonous gasses to be released into air.
PHOSPHATES: Can be poisonous if swallowed and cause severe irritation to nose, throat and skin
SODIUM HYDROXIDE: Causes severe burns and tissue damage when in contact with skin and fatal if swallowed
QUATERNARY AMMONIA: Actually considered a pesticide and is harmful to the nervous system as well as skin.
GLYCOL ETHERS: Long term damage to reproductive system and endocrine system (hormones).
Again, many cleaners don’t list these ingredients on their bottles, yet they are extremely dangerous to our indoor environment and our bodies. Unless you know every ingredient in a product, it’s best to research it before purchasing.
This is the exact reason that making your own cleaner can give you the most peace of mind. Cleaning with vinegar, baking soda and essential oils means you know EXACTLY what’s in that bottle. There are some companies who also put their ingredients on the bottle, but you have to search them out. I use Thieves Concentrated Cleaner for just about everything in my house, and I love that on the bottle it says “if ingested drink plenty of water”.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IN THE BOOK:
Safe Ingredients to Make Homemade Cleaners
It not only kills bacteria and rids my home of unwanted germs, but it also promotes a healthy immune system. I can’t tell you how much our family needed this when I started using it. Before we started using Thieves we would all sneeze for hours after we used our disinfecting bathroom cleaner. It would irritate our noses and throats whenever it was sprayed.
Another great perk is the cost. The concentrated cleaner lasts us for a few months, and like I said, we use if for just about everything. It’s our daily cleaner, kitchen cleaner, window cleaner, carpet cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and floor cleaner (for starters!). I’ve calculated the costs and it has cut my cleaning purchases by 60%. And the great thing is if I run out, I just fill up my spray bottle and make more.
I have started giving samples to all my new home buyers that I do inspections for and many of them have started switching over to this safer cleaner in their own homes.