Green Diva Home Detox: Easy Non-Toxic DIY Household Cleaners

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Had a great time on Ebru Today talking about how to detox our homes as we prepare to seal ourselves in for the colder months. I focused primarily on cleaning products because I think so many folks don’t realize just how toxic they can be and how important it is, especially when our homes are closed up during the colder season, to try to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals.

Here are a couple of things to consider when thinking about the kinds of cleaning products you want to use in your house:

  • The EPA ranks indoor air pollution among the top 5 environmental dangers
  • The average household has 3 – 25 gallons of toxic materials in the house, most of which are cleaning products
  • A European study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that regular use of common household cleaning sprays was linked to a 30 – 50% increased risk of asthma – YIKES!
  • There are approximately 17,000 chemicals used in the array of common household cleaners found in most homes, only 30% of these are tested for side effects on human health and the environment! ahhhhhhhh

Here are a few toxic chemicals found in many household cleaners and their effects on human health:

  • Chlorinated Phenols – found in toilet bowl cleaners, are toxic to the respiratory and circulatory systems
  • Diethylene Glycol – found in window cleaners, depresses the nervous system
  • Phenols – found in disinfectants, are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems
  • Nonylphenol Ethoxylate – a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners – BANNED IN EUROPE – has been shown to biodegrade slowly and when it does, it biodegrades into more toxic compounds. nice
  • Formaldehyde – found in spray and wick deodorizers, is a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen
  • Petroleum Solvents – in floor cleaners, damage mucous membranes
  • Perchloroethylene – a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage
  • Butyl Cellosolve – common in all-purpose, window and other cleaners, damages bone marrow, nervous system, kidneys and liver
The list goes on. Have you cleaned up your cleaning products yet? Are you running for your cleaning product cabinet? Please do – get rid of the stuff, then check back in. We’ll still be here and we have some solutions, so don’t despair. You CAN be green AND clean!
 
Meanwhile, the GoodGuide did a pretty good comparison and rating chart for cleaning products that is worth taking a look at. You can always go to Environmental Working Group’s website and look through their chemical index . . . It’s a little scary, but offers a lot of information. 

or Make Your Own! 

Some of my favorite, effective and simple DIY cleaning product recipes . . . 

Borax-Free Laundry Detergent (for sensitive skin) - my friend and fellow green sista from the GreenSisterhood.com, EcoKaren, does a LOT of research for all her posts and projects, so you can count on the efficacy of her recipes. I loved this one because I have particularly sensitive skin, AND IT CLEANS WELL!

All-Purpose, Glass Cleaner & Much more – another sista from the hood, Stephanie Moram offers several simple recipes using white vinegar to make effective household cleaners.

Oven Cleaner - this is a crazy easy recipe and while it doesn’t do the scrubbing for you, it doesn’t kill you either!

All-Purpose Amazing Baking Soda – Beth Terry is another extremely thorough blogger who documents her adventures with products and experiments extremely well. Her post on the many uses of baking soda offers quite a few great ways to use baking soda for everything from bathroom cleaning to scrubbing stubborn pots to room and rug deodorizer.

Garbage Disposal Cleaner – LOVED this one – vinegar ice cubes – Brilliant!

Natural Soft Scrub that WORKS - another simple, but effective one from EcoKaren, she cracks me up . . .

Homemade Foaming Soap?!? - I’ve got a touch of Howard Hughes (not the super wealthy part – bummer) – the germaphobic hand washing part (although I’m not quite as crazy as he was about it!). Most hand sanitizers and soaps contain triclosan and other icky toxic ingredients, which are bad for us/bad for the environment. I must try this recipe! Meanwhile, here’s a short Green Light (minute and a half) ditty on why most hand sanitizers are yuck.

 

About the author / 

Megan McWilliams (Green Diva Meg)
megan@thegreendivas.com'

(aka Megan McWilliams) is a green living expert and media personality as the producer and host of the Green Divas Radio Show. She has been sharing low-stress ways of living a deeper shade of green for over 20 years. She also produces podcasts and videos for the Green Divas and other clients through the Green Diva Studio.

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7 Comments

  1. eaaroach@yahoo.com'
    Emily @Random Recycling October 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm -  Reply

    Thanks for sharing my hand soap recipe. Enjoy!
    ~Emily

  2. reddogcarpet@gmail.com'
    vehicle interior cleaning October 12, 2012 at 5:35 am -  Reply

    Wow, this blog is very interesting and elegant; I love to read this every day, thanks for sharing this to us, I definitely shared this to my friends.

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