Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your typical household cleaning supplies? If you answered “no” go ahead and take a minute to do so, I’ll wait...
If you are like most people, then the products you own don’t even tell you what is in 99% of them. So how do you know what’s safe? The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals, which we are exposed to on a regular basis. And if you think "it can't be that dangerous, it's been tested, right" think again! The majority of chemicals commonly used by industry have had little or no safety testing. It's one of the many jobs of the EPA to test these chemicals, but they receive little to no funding to do so, and many of them have been grandfathered into the regulations.
It’s time to get smart about your cleaning supplies and get the toxins out of your house! Environmental Working Group (EWG) has an up to date database which rates cleaning supplies based on product attributes, ingredients and toxicity. Here’s a sample of the best and worst:
EWG Top Products:
Laundry Detergent - Imus GTC 2X Ultra Laundry Detergent, Citrus Sage
Dishwasher Detergent - Up & Up auto dish packs, fresh
Bathroom Cleaner - LYSOL CLING Clip-On Toilet Bowl Deodorizer and Cleaner, Spring Waterfall
Greenwashing - Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner
Banned Abroad - Scrubbing Bubbles - Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner & Extend-A-Clean Mega Shower Foamer.
100 + Hidden Chemicals - Comet Disinfectant Cleanser Powder
Emit Toxic Fumes - EASY-OFF Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner Aerosol Spray.
Looking for a “greener” clean? Try these great cleaning tips:
Oven cleaner - Sprinkle baking soda liberally to cover the bottom of the oven. Spray with water.
Wait 8 hours, scrape and wipe clean.
Grease, soup scum, and lime - Mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar with water in a bucket or spray bottle and use it to clean everything from windows and mirrors to toilets and floors. Use undiluted vinegar to tackle tougher cleaning jobs.
Grease, mold and Mildew - Combine lemon juice with other pantry staples such as vinegar or olive oil to make cleaning products that work harder, and to leave a fresh, natural scent
Furniture Polish - Blend 1 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of lemon juice in a spray bottle, mist onto a soft cloth and polish like normal.
Looking for more?
For more on toxic chemicals check out this recent interview conducted by NPR.
For more DIY green cleaners check out this recent story by the SF Gate.