Sparkle & Smile

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Green Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Reduce Toxic Chemical Use by Choosing Natural Ingredients for Cleaning

Let’s face it.  Many of us choose cleaning products that we think will do their best to clean our homes.  But some of these products can be harmful to our health and our environment.
The U.S. Poison Control Centers mentions that cleaning products are responsible for some toxic exposures.
The Environmental Protection Agency says that the toxic ingredients in cleaning products can cause short-term health risks, like skin irritations, watery eyes, and respiratory infections, or long-term effects, such as cancer.  
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says when choosing cleaning products, be sure to look on the labels for signal words, such as “caution,” “warning,” “danger,” or “poison,” that are required by law to be put on hazardous products.  
In order to keep our homes safe for our families and pets, we need to find ways to reduce or eliminate the use of toxic chemicals that we choose to clean our homes with.  One way is to use natural ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, castile soap, water, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. 
The Household Products Database, from the National Library of Medicine, mentions that furniture polishes contain formaldehyde (a carcinogen), and can also cause eye, skin, or respiratory tract infections.  Try polishing your furniture with a mix of one teaspoon olive oil and one-half cup vinegar.
Fragrances in air fresheners can trigger allergy and asthma reactions.  Plus, air freshener fragrances may contain tiny particles that can lodge in your lungs.  Try cleaning your indoor air by opening up those windows and bringing some clean outdoor air into your home.  Placing bowls of baking soda around your home can also keep your home smelling fresh and clean.  
Fragrances in detergents contain phthalates, which have been linked to cancer. Some detergents contain alkyphenol ethoxylates, which are suspected hormone disruptors. Fabric softener fragrances may also contain chemicals that have been linked to cancer. Clean your laundry with recipes that conatin natural ingredients like borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or washing soda.
Chlorine bleach can burn skin and eyes and may be fatal if swallowed. Mixing bleach with products containing ammonia also creates a highly toxic chlorine gas. Many scouring powders, cleaning solutions and laundry products contain bleach.
Scrub sinks, tubs and countertops with a paste of water and baking soda or washing soda.
Clean windows with a spray bottle mix of water and one cup vinegar. 
To disinfect kitchens and bathrooms, apply a mix of water and baking soda. 
Use warm water and plain soap instead of antibacterial soap.
Reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals by switching to non-toxic cleaners and make your home and our environment safer!  

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