Safe Cleaning Products For Your Home
Choosing Safe Cleaning Products For Your Home
with help from the Environmental Working Group.
Most of the cleaning products that line our shelves are full of chemicals that can vary in health hazards from cancer, lung damage and even heart problems to itchy runny eyes, allergies and chemical burns.
These toxic cleaning products become dangerous to our health when these chemicals fill the air we breath with toxic fumes or when our skin, the largest organ in our body, absorbs them as we use them, and even when they are accidentally ingested by children. The U.S. Poison Control Centers handled 120,434 toxic exposures last year involving children under six who swallowed or spilled cleaners inside their homes.
Though ingredient listing is mandatory for the food we eat, both the cosmetics and cleaning products that we come in contact with daily are still allowed to hide many of theirs. Inevitably since manufacturers aren't required to disclose all of their ingredients many don't, including some that claim to be green and safe.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that 1/3 of the fragrance ingredients contained in fragrance products are toxic but because the chemical formulas of fragrances are considered trade secrets they are not required to list them. Instead they are free to list the chemicals as "fragrance" even though some are on the EPA's hazardous waste list and are known to cause cancer, birth defects, disrupt hormones and create nervous system disorders.
This is just one of many examples of how the information on products we use becomes complicated beyond reason and in ways that make it hard for us to know what we are purchasing.
More Safe Choices At Your Store
As public awareness has grown and customers are more informed about the harm they face in these chemicals the market for safe cleaning alternatives has grown. Products that offer effective solutions without chemicals but instead using naturally safer ingredients are available and more and more people are choosing to use them.
The Environmental Working Group is helping consumers make informed choices by sifting through more than 2,000 popular cleaning products and rating them A through F based on their level of safety and disclosure of ingredients. They spent a year creating the EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning that lists their top picks along with their scientific research findings. Brand products were tested individually so green brand names may have some products that made the list and some not, while well known product lines known for their chemical content like Lysol have products that surprisingly made the list.
Here are some examples of top products by brand that the EWG has listed on their website as safe and effective;
- Mrs Meyer
- Seventh Generation
- Simple Green
- Dr Bonners
- Better Life
Categories to Avoid
There were some categories of cleaners the EWG suggest avoiding altogether as they are unnecessary or there are no safe alternatives.
- Air Fresheners (contain hidden fragrance mixes that trigger allergies and asthma)
- Antibacterial products (can help to create drug-resistant super bugs)
- Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets (cause allergies and irritate the lungs)
- Drain Cleaners and Oven Cleaners (burns eyes and skin)
Another Choice - Make Your Own Products
Naturally healthy cleaning products can also be simple to create right in your home. They are effective and cheap though you will have to change your way of thinking on some subjects to really appreciate your homemade products. I realize now that the strong fragrance scent left behind after cleaning with my commercial products doesn't necessarily indicate how clean my surfaces are but it does tell me that toxic residue from fragrance chemicals have been left behind for my family to breathe.
I've changed my mind about how many different products I need to get the cleaning job done too. Every cleaning job doesn't need a new and unique formulation but in fact a few ingredient combinations can be used all around your home to clean, shine, fragrance and even remove germs without any chemicals at all.
Companies like ours at Krystal Klear Products offer microfiber cleaning cloths and mops that can be used for cleaning your surfaces of dirt and bacteria but require only simple water to pick up 99% of the bacteria avoiding the over use of disinfectants which have been proven to encourage the growth of super-bugs resistant to antibiotics.
Here are some easy DIY cleaning products recipes you can make in your own kitchen with just a few basic ingredients.