Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Recalibrate your clean meter

If you use bleach to get things clean...if you spray Lysol liberally in your house...if you use Cascade in your are poisoning your indoor air and leaving toxic residues on surfaces you touch and your dishes. The runoff is also harmful to our environment, notably in frogs, which have experienced significant reproductive organ mutations. Scary, huh?

Not surprisingly, many household cleaners, bug spray, pets' flea treatments and "air fresheners" are known to irritate your lungs, and are especially bad for kids with respiratory issues.

Fortunately, it's easy to find less toxic alternatives. We use diluted white vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (for stains) in place of bleach and harsh chemicals. Vinegar doesn't smell the best, but the scent quickly evaporates.If you really need that clean smell to feel like you cleaned, investigate readily available brands like Method, Seventh Generation, Ecover and Simple Green. Shaklee has a great line, if you know someone who sells that; Melaleuca sells green cleaners, too, but I'm not quite sure they are as good toxicity-speaking.

I'm not a fan of the new green cleaners from companies like Clorox and S.C. Johnson, because they continue to make so many horribly toxic products. I don't think they can be trusted to make responsible ones. We like Method's flushable/compostable bathroom wipes; their stainless steel wipes also work very well. The important things to note for kids are that chemical fragrance usually contains phthlatates, which are hormone disruptors, especially dangerous for little boys.

The blogpost referenced here does a great job of outlining the offenders and explaining the dangers. When in doubt, buy unscented products and brands that use essential oils to perfume products, rather than listing "fragrance" or "parfum" in the ingredients.

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