Concerned about what’s in the household cleaning products you use daily and what it might be doing to you and your family’s health? Well, you should be. Many cleaning products contain toxic chemicals. According to the 2009 Poison Center Statistics from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 4,280,391 calls to the National Poison Data System. Household cleaning products accounted for the third highest number of those calls.
If you’re worried about all the toxic cleaning products in your household, you have a few options:
- You can ignore the problem and pretend it doesn’t exist.
- You can make your own homemade cleaning products.
- You can purchase non-toxic, eco friendly cleaning products that aren’t harmful to the environment.
Obviously, the first option isn’t one you would choose or you wouldn’t still be reading this, so let's move on to the other 2 options.
Making your own homemade cleaning products (option 2)
One important advantage to making your own homemade cleaning products is you know exactly what’s in them.
My wife and I have some blueberry bushes in our backyard because we love blueberries. Over the years, we’ve spent a considerable amount of money and time on the netting and the structure that supports the netting. We probably could have bought enough blueberries at the store to feed our entire town for a decade with the money we spent on our blueberry bushes, but to us it’s worth it. One reason is that we know for sure the blueberries are organic and that they aren’t sprayed with pesticides.
Today we can go to the store and buy blueberries that carry the USDA Organic Seal and that are labeled 100% organic, but that wasn’t available years ago when we planted the bushes. Besides, 100% organic can really be only 95% organic, but that's another topic.
The point I’m trying to make is that spending extra money and time producing something yourself can be worth it to you because you’re involved in the entire process and you know exactly what went into the end product. The same applies to making your own natural, non toxic cleaning products. You probably have most of the ingredients in your home already, and homemade cleaning products can be considerably cheaper than commercial cleaning products. If you’d like to go the DIY route, we have some natural cleaning product recipes further down this page. Also, The Green Clean Book * will give you access to homemade cleaning recipes, tips and other ideas on making cleaning products that are non toxic and safe.
Craig Mackenzie's ZeroChemicals is a two volume guide which goes into detail about the toxic chemicals we use daily in our household cleaners, personal care products and more. This guide shows you how to save money while replacing harsh, harmful chemicals with safe, natural alternatives. You can get this information packed guide here: ZeroChemicals *. Throw away your toxic cleaning products today and replace them with safe homemade cleaning products. You’ll sleep easier knowing that you’re cleaning with products that aren’t harmful to you or the earth.
Homemade Cleaning Product Recipes
A few precautions:
- I have seen quite a few recipes for homemade cleaning products that use ammonia. I would not use ammonia in any recipes. If you want to find detailed information on ammonia, you can read the Toxicological Profile for Ammonia at the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry website.
- Do not mix homemade cleaners with commercial cleaners.
- Label your homemade cleaning products with its purpose, the ingredients, and instructions on how to use.
- Keep homemade cleaners out of reach of children and pets.
- Avoid contact of cleaners with eyes and prolonged contact with skin.
- Don't using baking soda on nonstick pots and pans (it may scratch them) or aluminum pots and pans (it may discolor them).
- Don't use vinegar or any acidic ingredient (lemon, lime, etc.) on marble.
Here are some of the items most people have in their homes which can be used to make homemade cleaning products.
- Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) – an all-purpose non-toxic cleaner and effective deodorizer that also neutralizes acid and softens water.
- Borax – (sodium borate) – a good alternative to bleach because it disinfects, deodorizes, and helps remove stains. It also softens water and helps boost the cleaning power of soaps and detergents.
- Lemon juice or lime juice – contains citric acid. It deodorizes and is good for removing perspiration and grease stains on clothing.
- White Vinegar – a good disinfectant that can remove mildew. Useful for cutting grease.
Homemade Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
1 part salt
2 parts borax
2 parts baking soda (washing soda also works)
Mix well and store in waterproof, airtight container to avoid the mixture clumping.
Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to the rinse compartment.
Homemade All-purpose Cleaner (not for use on marble)
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and shake. For tub and shower let sit for 45 – 60 minutes, then rinse.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
about 3/4 cup borax
Flush toilet to wet sides of bowl and then sprinkle borax around the bow. Spray vinegar over the borax around the bowl and let set for a couple hours, then scrub with a toilet brush.
Baking soda makes a good scouring powder. Just wet the surface with water and sprinkle on the baking soda.
If you have burnt on food in a pan, sprinkle on baking soda, add water and bring to a slow boil on the stove.
Pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it set for 15 minutes and then flush the drain with hot water. You may need to repeat the process.
Purchasing Non-Toxic, Safer Cleaning Products (option 3)
Now I realize making your own homemade cleaning products takes time and isn't as convenient as purchasing commercial cleaners. Many people just don’t have the time or inclination to make their own natural cleaning products, so they choose the third option and purchase safe cleaning products from companies they can trust.
Purchasing safer, non-toxic, cleaning products that aren’t harmful to the environment is what the other pages of this website are about (see links in menu at top).
To clean everything in your kitchen, bathroom and on most surfaces in your home, try using the eco friendly Skoy cloth instead of a sponge or paper towel. It's 100% biodegradable and the Skoy cloth is a chlorine-free product using water-based colors and inks. It has an absorption factor of 15x its own weight and is, according to Skoy’s website, the equivalent to using 15 rolls of paper towels in an average home. Get your Skoy cloth here *.
Steam Cleaning, another alternative to toxic cleaning (option 4)
Okay, those of you who are paying attention might have noticed that we didn't list an option 4 at the top of the page. We just sort of snuck it in here, but it's an option that might be worth considering.
Clean without harmful chemicals by using vapor steam. Clean dirty grout, pet stains, greasy surfaces, moldy walls and much more. Large selection to choose from. Save up to $150 on the WhiteWing Steamer and $30 on Gruene Steam Cleaner – the Natural & Eco-Friendly Way to Clean! *