Sparkle & Smile

Blog for Cleaner and Healthier Homes.

Green Cleaning Tips and Tricks Uncategorized

Under the Sink: Cleaning Supplies

March 23, 2010

A great deal of cleaning goes on in most homes.  We wash, scrub, vacuum, spray, and polish so that our homes stay clean and neat.  Strange as it may seem, some of these cleaners also can cause pollution, both indoors and outdoors.  How green are your cleaning supplies?

1.  Laundry detergent:  Your washer sends a lot of dirty water down the drain.  Besides dirt, what is in that water?  Many detergents contain phosphates, chemicals that help get clothes clean.  When phosphates get into waste water, they speed the growth of algae, which can kill fish and plants that live in the water.

     Besides phosphates, some detergents contain concentrated chemicals, like surfactants (which help with cleaning) and bleach (which removes stains).  Surfactants are made from petroleum, the nonrenewable source from which oil and gasoline are made.  Most bleach contains cancer-causing chlorine.

     Some detergents claim to be "biological", meaning that they contain enzymes to help dissolve stains and make the detergent work in cooler water.  Some detergents claim to be "biodegradable", which means that the detergent breaks down and becomes harmless in the waste system.  But this doesn’t always happen. 

2.  All -purpose cleaners may contain ammonia, which can be harmful to your lungs, and chlorine, which can form cancer-causing compounds when released into the environment.

3.  Drain Cleaners contain very strong chemicals such as lye and hydrochloric and sulfuric acids.  These can burn your skin and can cause blindness if they get into your eyes.

4.  Flea and tick control products contain ingredients that have never been adequately tested for safety.  While not intended for use on people, they can rub off your pet onto furniture, exposing you to the risk of cancer and other diseases.  

5.  Floor and furniture polishes contain phenol, which causes cancer in laboratory animals.

6.  Metal polishes contain ammonia, phosphoric, and sulfuric acids, which are not healthy to breathe.

7.  Mothballs contain p-dichlorobenzene, which causes cancer.

8.  Oven cleaners contain lye, a powerful chemical that can burn your skin and lungs or cause blindness if splashed in your eyes.

9.  Toilet cleaners contain chlorine and hydrochloric acid, which can burn your skin and eyes.

   Take a good look at the cleaning products you use to clean your home with.  Note which ingredients they contain that may be harmful.  Why expose your family to all these toxic chemicals?  Help save the planet and keep your family healthy br green cleaning your home.    
    

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