According to Robert Roundtree, MD, the average home contains 3-10 gallons of hazardous materials. The same products that we use to clean our homes can be toxic to our bodies. So how can we begin to make simple changes to improve our cleaning products for healthy living?
To Increase The Safety of Your Cleaning Products for Healthy Living
- Take an inventory of your home and all of the products that could be considered “toxic.” Be on the lookout for nontoxic alternatives for each one.
- Choose household cleaning products that are chemical free. It is important that they are phosphate and chlorine-free as well. Phosphates can cause algae blooms in lakes and ponds.
- Buy non-chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach creates toxins that can be harmful to your health. In addition, chlorine fumes may be irritating to breathe for people with allergies and asthma.
- Get rid of unwanted chemicals safely. Contact your local trash collection service to find out how to dispose of them properly. Never dump materials in the backyard.
- If any toxic products do exist in the home, lock and store them in a place where children will not be able to reach them. Remember to lock up prescription, over-the counter medicines, supplements and herbal medicines as well.
Using green cleaning products, or those better for the environment, actually promote a healthier experience for you and your family as well. Reducing exposure to chemicals can improve our breathing quality while still getting our surfaces sanitized. Try these first, in each room of your home:
Healthy Living Cleansers in the Bathroom
- Toilet: Use a non-toxic dish detergent and warm water to first wash the outside of the bowl and then clean the lid so you are not cross-contaminating. To clean the commode, use a natural cleaning product, or hot water with white vinegar and lemon. For stains, mix ¼ cup of borax and ⅓ cup of white vinegar. A Journal of Environmental Health study found vinegar to contain antimicrobial effects as a chemical disinfectant. Leave this mixture in the toilet to sit overnight and then flush in the morning for a sparkling, chemical-free healthy living clean.
- Tile: To loosen stuck-on grime, steam your restroom with hot shower water and closed doors and windows. Mixing a healthy living paster of baking soda and lemon juice, you can clean grit and grime from grout using an old toothbrush.
- Tub: Preventing odor and chemical scents, you can use a bicarbonate of soda with a moist cloth. Clean the faucet parts with baking soda and white vinegar with a slice of lemon for a citrus scent.
Creating a Clean Healthy Living Kitchen
- Microwave: Cut lemon and hot water can loosen microwave grime and make your faucet sparkle.
- Counters: Adding two teaspoons of white vinegar to dishwater will sanitize whatever you clean and make surfaces safe for food prep.
- Oven: Use 4 TBSP of baking soda to one teaspoon of Borax and create a paste with a little water. When you rub this onto all interior surfaces of your oven, the cooked-on gunk will come off with a damp rag and no threat of harmful chemicals to your healthy living clean.
Living Areas Made Clean for Healthy Living
- Odors: Mix cold water and bicarbonate of soda will neutralize odors. Adding one TBSP of lemon juice or a few drops of an essential oil, you can freshen any space naturally. You can also cook the rinds of citrus fruits with a cinnamon stick in a small pot on your stovetop on low for a more fresh harvest smell.
- Windows: Make windows clear with a mixture of warm water and plain white vinegar. Buff dry with old newspaper for a streakless, chemical-free shine.
- Surfaces: Always go back to a spray bottle mixture of warm water and white vinegar with fresh lemon juice for odor reduction. This will both freshen and sanitize.
By David Spitz D.C.