If you’re trying to reduce the level of toxic chemicals in your life, you’ve probably considered “going green” with your cleaning method. The interest in natural cleaning products has grown substantially in the last 20 years and has spawned a competitive industry. As in other “green” areas, a .,bandwagon effect has inspired some conventional companies to bring out lines that. are fragrance free.
A natural cleaning agent is made of organic matter, either from an animal, plant or mineral, as opposed to synthetic agents that are usually based on petroleum. They contain no harmful ingredients such as perchloroethylene and toluene, which are both considered human carcinogens. Switching to natural products is not just better for the environment, doing so can have real health benefits for you and your family. Planet Green reports that there are 17,000 petrochemicals available as home cleaning supplies, only 30 percent of which have been tested for human and environmental safety.
Vinegar works best for cleaning surfaces and glass, while baking soda will scour tubs, de-grease ovens and lift carpet odors. These ingredients are biodegradable in the sense that their components do not harm the environment when they are incorporated back into the food chain. There is no lingering “fresh” odor, which is important to people with fragrance allergies. Also, they do not produce harmful fumes, chemical burns or nausea from accidental contact, and they do not impact the central nervous system.
Both vinegar and baking soda work as very versatile green cleaners that can clean almost anything. The main difference between a commercially available natural cleaning product and a homemade cleaning solution is the lack of surfactants. Vinegar works best for cleaning surfaces and glass, while baking soda will scour tubs, de-grease ovens and lift carpet odors. Mix either substance with warm water to make an all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner.
In fact, you can mix baking soda, vinegar, borax, washing soda, essential oils and soap to effectively clean and deodorize your entire house. When you have dry cleaning, take it to a “green cleaner” who doesn’t use Perchloroethylene (C2Cl4 and the CAS number is 127-18-4), also called perc. If you do take your clothes to a conventional dry cleaner, air them outdoors before wearing or storing them.
Many dish soaps are made with phosphates, which can increase algae growth in our waterways. If you’re worried about your indoor air, don’t use a commercial air filter. Instead, get a broad-leaf green plant to filter the air naturally, and open the windows when you can.