Cleaning has never been my favorite household task. Even walking through the cleaning aisle at the grocery store gives me a headache.
For a long time, I wasn’t much concerned with the safety of my cleaning products. If they did the job and smelled fairly nice, I could put up with the watering eyes and burning throat. Then I got pets–two cats that seem to rub up on everything they could and acted more like dogs sometimes by licking the floor. Were the cleaning products getting on my pets?
If you have kids, you probably had the same reaction. How safe is that cleaner I just used on the table, which probably left a residue regardless of how much I wiped up, and little Timmy is now gnawing on?
It’s no secret that cleaners–something that’s thought to be good for us–contain toxic ingredients and could cause adverse health problems.
Household cleaners account for tens of thousands of unintentional injuries every year in the home; from burns to poisoning to death, they are often in the top ten reasons for poisoning in children and pets.
Some of the harshest and most dangerous chemicals in cleaning products include bleach, ammonia (which is the main culprit for my watering eyes and headaches), formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid (which can cause burns). If you check your cleaning products, you’re bound to find one (or more) of these ingredients in them.
Thankfully, consumers are beginning to get smarter about what they buy and companies are responding with less-toxic options for cleaning. A few brands I’ve found to work excellently and still be safe include Dr. Bronner’s, Mrs. Meyers and Method.
And for those of us frugal folks, check your cabinets for some of these non-toxic cleaners you probably already have:
• Vinegar: This common household item can be used to take off pesky price-tag stickers, clean windows, remove stains from carpet, clean countertops and bathrooms, keep away ants, clean coffee pots, and so much more.
• Salt: Clean up spilled red wine with this table staple. Or, mix with a little vegetable oil to remove water rings from wood.
• Baking soda: Pour on grease/oil stains in the garage for easy cleanup; use as a paste to clean crayon off white walls or to clean porcelain sinks or bathtubs.
If you want to get really crafty, Google homemade cleaners to find recipes using common household items like those above. I’ve made several multi-use cleansers out of vinegar, water and a few drops of essential oils that work amazingly well. Plus, you can control the scent, meaning no more cleaning headaches!
Jessica Aycock is a certified holistic health coach, military brat and avid blogger. She received her health coach training from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NYC. From her blog, Deployment Divas, Jessica educates military spouses and families about healthy living amid the chaos of military life. Jessica currently lives in NC and is about to undergo her first deployment as an Army girlfriend. Follow Jessica’s blog at www.deploymentdivas.com.