All of us take measures to clean our homes. Spring cleaning is common all around the world and especially in American homes. Indoor air pollution and the warming weather can cause humidity to leave dirt in our homes and expose us to a lot of germs. To avoid this, most of us have the habit of using gallons of toxic materials in the form of household cleaning products. Here comes the picture of toxicity and harmful effects chemicals can have on our health.1
When we use toxic chemicals to clean the dirt in our homes and keep it germ-free, we automatically expose ourselves to dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately, even the terms “natural” and “green” labeled on them do not mean much and do not make them totally safe. While we must keep our homes clean, we cannot even afford not to use chemicals at all. So, to avoid the dangerous implications they can have on our health, we must look for effective home remedies to keep our houses clean.
Which Toxins Are The Most Harmful?
Many chemicals are cancer-causing agents. They can disrupt the functioning of the endocrine system and may also cause harm to the reproductive system.2 Chemicals found in common household cleaning products such as laundry detergents and cleaning sprays hit the skin and lungs and go directly into the bloodstream as it passes through the liver and kidneys. Look at the list below to find out which toxins are the most dangerous of all.
1. Ammonia is the most well-known offender, and you should remember never to mix it with any product that contains bleach.3 Mixing ammonia with bleach have found to release toxic vapors that leave people suffocated and even unconscious.
2. Glycol ethers used in cosmetics, soaps, paints, perfumes, and foods can cause fatigue and nausea, leave people lethargic, and can also result in kidney and liver damage.
3. Phosphates are mostly found in dishwasher detergents and can cause a lot of environmental damage.
4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) includes 1,4-dichlorobenzene and can result in irritation of the nose and throat, cause dizziness, and trigger asthma symptoms.
5. Phthalates have been found to cause reproductive harm, disrupt the endocrine system, cause cancer, and even lead to organ damage.
Other ingredients that are equally harmful are nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), petroleum solvents, formaldehyde, and chlorine, to name a few.
DIY Non-Toxic Recipes To Clean Your Home
To avoid being affected by dangerous toxins, you can always go for non-toxic household products and clean your home effectively. Vinegar and baking soda have proved to cut through dirt and sanitize nooks and corners.4 You can also use elbow-grease in some instances. Look at the remedies below to learn more.
1. Baking soda can replace your regular dishwasher detergent and is safe to use on metals and porcelain leaving no scratch at all. You can also clean your oven with baking soda. Simply sprinkle a cup of baking soda over the bottom of the oven and cover it with water to make a thick paste. Leave it overnight. The next morning, it will be easy for you to wipe the grease as the grime will loosen. Once the mess is cleaned, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap and wash off the remaining residue.
2. Unclog your drain by pouring ½ to 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. Pour ½ to 1 cup of vinegar in it and cover the drain for 15 minutes. If you can see bubbles like a volcano, it means that the cleaning has been done. Just flush your drain with a gallon of water.
3. To deodorize carpets, sprinkle baking soda liberally on them, leave them for 15 minutes, and vacuum them.
4. To clean any silver objects, boil two to three inches of water with 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and a sheet of aluminium foil. Submerge the silver and boil the water for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the silver from the pan and wipe away the tarnish.
5. Pour ½ a cup of baking soda and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into the toilet bowl. Pour ¼ cup of vinegar to it and then, scrub with a toilet brush.
1. Fight mildew by spraying white vinegar on them. Let the vinegar sit for 30 minutes and scrub it with a sponge. Rinse with warm water. For heavy grime, mix baking soda with some liquid castile soap. Scrub and rinse and then, spray white vinegar and wipe the area dry.
2. To clean your countertop, mix vinegar and water in 1:1 ratio. Spray on the surface and wipe it off. If you have a stone counter, use rubbing alcohol or vodka instead of water as the acidity might harm certain stone surfaces such as marble and granite.
3. To use it as an effective fabric softener, take one gallon jug of white vinegar and add 20 to 30 drops of an essential oil to it. Add ⅓ cup of this mixture to each load of laundry. Remember to shake well before use.
1. To sanitize your chopping board, cut a fresh lemon in half and rub it across the surface. Leave the juice on for 10 minutes and then, rinse. You can also use coconut oil to clean and sanitize or condition a wooden chopping board.
2. You can make your own dishwasher detergent by liquid castile soap and water in 1:1 ratio. Add lemon for fragrance by using two teaspoons of lemon juice to one cup of the mixture. Store it in a glass jar and pour the mixture into the detergent compartment in your dishwasher. To rinse the compartment, just add plain white vinegar.
With these easy, DIY remedies to clean your home, you stay toxin-free and also keep your house spick-and-span.
|↑1, ↑2||Sack, Thomas M., David H. Steele, Karen Hammerstrom, and Janet Remmers. “A survey of household products for volatile organic compounds.” Atmospheric Environment. Part A. General Topics 26, no. 6 (1992): 1063-1070.|
|↑3||Reisz, George R., and Roger S. Gammon. “Toxic pneumonitis from mixing household cleaners.” Chest 89, no. 1 (1986): 49-52.|
|↑4||Rutala, William A., Susan L. Barbee, Newman C. Aguiar, Mark D. Sobsey, and David J. Weber. “Antimicrobial activity of home disinfectants and natural products against potential human pathogens.” Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology 21, no. 1 (2000): 33-38.|