Have you ever walked into a freshly cleaned bathroom and just want to… hold your breath? If you’re like me just breathing in the smell of chemical cleaners is enough to make you sick. If you can’t pronounce some of the ingredients listed on the bottle it’s a good sign it’s something you shouldn’t be using. Just look at these common ingredients used in typical household cleaners:
Ethanolamine – according to ewg.org (Environmental Working Group), this ingredient can cause ill effects to the respiratory system, chronic aquatic toxicity, can effect your nervous system, and can irritate your skin and cause allergies. This is found in common surface cleaners and window/glass cleaners.
Dipropylene Glycol Butyl Ether – according to ewg.org, there is concern this ingredient can cause cancer, affect developmental, endocrine, and reproductive systems, damage DNA, cause ill effects to the respiratory, digestive, and nervous system, and cause skin irritation and allergies. It can also damage your vision.
So, I think you get my point. You don’t want these things anywhere near your home. So what do you do? Go natural! There’s a lot of doubt out there on how effective natural and safe cleaning products are but most people just don’t know some of the goodies that are out there!
Here’s my list of go-to cleaning products:
Dr. Bronners Castile Soap – castile is a purely vegetable based soap. This soap is so safe that Dr. Bronners says you can use it on your hair and as a body wash as well! I do use this as hand soap in the summer but find it too drying in the Canadian winters.
How I use this product: Dr. Bronners castile soap is alkaline so it’s very safe to use on natural stone. Most cleaners out there are on the acidic side and can etch, stain, and pull the finish off of natural stone, especially marble, which is particularly sensitive to acidic cleaners.
Best Uses: I like to use this product to clean my bathrooms from top to bottom excluding chrome fixtures, glass, and toilets. It is very effective at cleaning grout with a little bit of elbow grease. I mop the tile floors with this. I use it to clean my baby’s toys and potty. A little goes a long way.
Vinegar – This is a very common natural cleaning product and is very safe to use except on natural stone as it is acidic.
How I use this product: I use this in combination with baking soda to clean the toilets. It is also very good diluted with water to clean glass, mirrors, and chrome fixtures. Vinegar can also be used as a fabric softener in the laundry when needed.
Baking Soda – This is a great natural and gentle surface abrasive.
How I use this product: when mixed with vinegar it is very effective at cleaning toilets and the kitchen sink. I also use it to remove leftover toothpaste in the sinks. When I have a particularly difficult spot to clean in the grout (i.e. where my son has splatter blueberry puree) I will mix this in with Dr. Bronners Castile soap to give it more oomph. But please, do not use this on polished natural stone as it can leave scratches.
Seventh Generation Granite and Stone Cleaner – This is an amazing product specifically formulated to clean sealed natural stone. It is restorative and can bring natural stone and man-made surfaces back to life. It is also biodegradable and safe to use on food preparation surfaces.
How I use this product: Every few weeks I use this to spruce up the granite countertops in the kitchen and the marble countertop in the bathroom. It leaves a wonderful shine and my countertops look brand new again.
Planet 2x Ultra Laundry Detergent (liquid) – Made for HE machines (they also have one for non-HE machines), this product scores an A with ewg.org. It is unscented, uncoloured, hypo-allergenic, and is not tested on animals. It is also phosphate free.
How I use this product: I use Planet 2x Ultra Laundry Detergent for all our laundry needs including to clean cloth diapers and baby clothes. It is very tough on stains. Even though my son smears blueberry puree all over his clothes they come out stain free. Our cloth diapers never come out with stink and residue free.
Essential Oils – I am a huge fan of using essential oils for a number of different ways including in a diffuser to cleanse the air when someone is unwell or if I’ve cooked something with a very strong aroma. I will update this post with a link once I have my list of must have essential oils for the home ready to go.
How do you clean your home? Are you ready to purge some of the common household cleaners and switch over to the safe side? If this post has inspired you to check out what chemicals are lurking under your kitchen sink I urge you to search for your specific product on ewg.org. They provide product scores based on the ingredients. Before I purchase any new cleaning product I use this site to check it’s safety for my family and the environment first.
Let me know your comments and questions. I'd love to hear from you!