This is a guest post from Stefanie Gomez . She’s got some really good info about some of the icky stuff that’s actually in many of the everyday household cleaners you may be using. Enjoy!
It’s hip to be green and know that you are educating yourself and others to make sustainable choices that protect the environment and your health. We spend a lot of time thinking about the foods we eat and the clothes we wear. The cosmetics we purchase and the furniture we buy. One of the areas that many people overlook however is the type of cleaning products they purchase for the home. Are you working hard to live green and then losing the battle when it comes to the chemicals you purchase to clean your house?
It can be surprising how many people don’t bother to read the label when it comes to cleaning supplies. Taking a pragmatic approach to household cleaners you might consider that a solvent which clears through your drain like acid might have a detrimental effect on the environment. Down the pipe and out to your sewer and straight into your local water table and fresh water supply.
Like all other aspects of green living the first step is to educate yourself on the type of chemicals that you have been using and the hazard to both the ecosystem and your personal health.
The Ingredients of Household Cleaners
There are a variety of chemicals and solvents that are mixed in household cleaners that create toxic compounds and in some cases known harmful carcinogens. Interestingly many of the most harmful toxic household cleaners and chemicals have been banned in Europe but are still used in many North American products.
- Formaldehyde is frequently found in room deodorizers and is a known carcinogen.
- Butyl cellosolve is a ‘streak free’ window and glass cleaner that is known to damage bone marrow, the central nervous system. Diethylene glycol is also present in window cleaners and has been found to impact the nervous system as well.
- Nonylphenol ethoxylate is found in laundry soap and all purpose cleaners and while banned in Europe it presents ongoing risk the environment as it biodegrades.
- Chlorinated phenols are the chemicals responsible for keeping your toilet stain free. They are also responsible for creating respiratory and circulatory issues.
What is more alarming is the fact that when combined these volatile organic compounds can mix and create off gassing that damages our indoor air quality. Harmful toxins can also be absorbed into soft surfaces such as upholstered furnishings, draperies and carpets or inhaled as dust particulates.
Do a Clean Sweep and Replace
If you are ready to detoxify your home and remove harmful cleaning supplies, remember to dispose of chemicals in a responsible way. Most municipalities provide a safe chemical drop-off to prevent toxins from being included with regular garbage and to prevent pollution. Take advantage of community “clean-up” days to dispose of your household chemicals without harming the environment. The Center for Disease Control recommends consulting with the manufacturer’s instructions for safe disposal.
Replace harmful store-bought cleaning supplies with natural products instead.There are a number of manufacturers creating sustainable cleaning supplies and green products. You can also use lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar to create your own home cleaning products, just like our Grandparents used. They are not only healthier but they are affordable and will save you money on cleaning supplies.
Remember that you don’t have to compromise having a clean home for the benefit of the environment. You can choose better options to naturally disinfect and sanitize your home without creating a detrimental impact. If these natural methods worked for our grandparents they will work just as well for a generation learning that industrial progress and convenience are not worth substituting for a healthy ecosystem and an environmentally sustainable future.
Stefanie Gomez is associated with Essentia, manufacturers of the world’s only natural memory-foam mattresses. She understands the importance about green/Healthy living hence she generally blogs about eco-friendly lifestyle, health/wellness, healthy and sustainable living options.