Behind the shine of the bleaches, foams and sprays, are artificial fragrances and toxic chemicals that can contribute to indoor air pollution, which can be harmful if inhaled or touched, and may be poisonous if ingested.About 90 percent of all accidental poisonings occur in the home. In fact, some cleaners are among the most toxic products we can buy. Some cleaners even pollute the ground water or contain flammable ingredients and corrosives that can irritate eyes just by opening the containers. Many of them could send us to the hospital or even cause death if swallowed.The potential dangers of toxic home cleaning products have many people on a “go-green” path. In 2009, sales of natural cleaning products in the United States totaled $150 Million. Some of these cleaners are labeled with big promises and a hefty price tag. However, just because the ingredients in green cleaners are plant-based or “natural” does not necessarily mean they are safe.
Everyday products found in your home can be used to make non-toxic cleaners for many of your cleaning needs. They are safe to keep around the house and children, and they are easier on your bank account.
Here are some recipes to try:
Furniture Polish. In a spray bottle, mix the juice of 1 lemon, a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of water. Shake and apply to the furniture. Allow the mixture to sit on the furniture for 5 minutes before buffing it with a dry polishing cloth.
Disinfectant. Combine 2 cups warm water and 1 tablespoon borax. Dissolve borax in water and pour mixture through a funnel into a refillable spray bottle.
Linoleum and Laminate Floor Cleaner. Combine 2 gallons warm water and 1/4 cup lemon juice or white vinegar. Mix together in a bucket. Add 1/4 cup liquid soap for added cleaning power, if desired.
Carpeted Floors. To green clean carpeted floors, make sure to buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Vacuum at least 2-3 times a week. Avoid chemical rug cleaners. Instead use a low-moisture or dry cleaning rug shampoo with hydrogen peroxide or biological/enzymatic cleaners.
Tile Floor Cleaner. Use a gallon of water with a few teaspoons of tea tree oil. Add a few squirts of liquid soap. This can also be used on linoleum floors.
Hardwood Floors. Dampen a towel using a solution of 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Wring all the moisture out of the towel until just barely damp. Towels are the only safe way to damp mop a hardwood floor. Excess water from self wringing mops works down between the boards eventually warping the boards at the edges.
Computer Keyboard and TV Remote. The TV remote and the computer keyboard are probably two of the germiest things in the home. Wipe the tv remote down with an alcohol wipe at least twice a week to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. To clean your keyboard, gently shake out the crumbs or vacuum it. Wipe the keys and the mouse with an alcohol wipe or a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol dabbed on it.
Microfiber Cloths and Terry Towels. Hand-sized terry towels are a bacteria-free alternative to sponges. Use wet or dry and throw into the wash when dirty. Microfiber cloths are terrific for dusting and polishing, no cleanser required.