Everyone likes a clean home, but what you clean it with can leave you either breathing easy or, surprisingly, breathing toxins that can be worrisome for your health. It’s well documented that ingredients in many common household cleaners may be carcinogenic and particularly problematic for your respiratory tract. This week, at Modern Kids Design, we took it upon ourselves to gather information about common chemicals found in everyday cleaning products and offer some natural green cleaning solutions to help make your home safer.
Here are some chemicals to watch out for in common household cleaners:
- Ethylene Glycol butyl Ether – 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE): found in conventional power degreasers, mirror and glass cleaners, stain removers, all-purpose cleaners, carpet stain cleaners, and granite and grout cleaners.
- Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether (DEGBE): found in disinfectant cleaners, bathroom cleaners, disinfectant wipes, aerosol oven cleaner sprays, and foaming bathroom cleaners.
- Troclosene Sodium Dihydrate: found in toilet bowl cleaners, cleaning powders with bleach, hard water performance boosters, and stainless steel powder cleansers.
- Phosphates: found in laundry detergents, dishwasher detergents, hard water performance boosters, air fresheners and room sprays, and stain-lifting foams.
- Ammonium Hydroxide: found in glass cleaners, disinfectant sprays, floor cleaners, cleaning erasers, surface cleaners, bathroom cleaners, window cleaners, foam cleaners, laundry stain removers, and glass wipes.
So, if you are concerned about that cleaning product under your sink, don’t be. This is an easy fix. Good quality, safe household cleaners are priced right and easily available. And, if like us, you like to mix it up a bit and occasionally make your own products, here is a DIY you might enjoy. We know, using the word enjoy and cleaning in the same sentence is a bit of a stretch but, honestly, when you throw in the essential oils and make your products smell great, it is kind of enjoyable!
If you want to quickly and simply craft your own cleaners from common ingredients that are most likely already in your home, here are a few ideas:
All Purpose Cleaner
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
20-30 or more drops of essential oil (optional)
Mix together and store in a spray bottle. Great for hard surfaces like countertops and kitchen floors, windows, and mirrors.
1 cup soap flakes (buy or make from grating vegetable soap)
½ cup washing soda
½ cup baking soda
1-2 tablespoon oxygen bleach (optional for extra whitening power)
Mix ingredients together and store in a glass container. Use 1 tablespoon per load (2 for heavily soiled laundry), wash in warm or cold water.
For soft water: use 1 cup soap flakes, ¼ cup washing soda, and ½ cup baking soda.
For hard water: use 1 cup soap flakes, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup baking soda.
Note: This recipe can be safely used in HE washers.
Tips: Add ½ cup white distilled vinegar to rinse as a fabric softener. For a whitener, use hydrogen peroxide rather than bleach. Soak your dingy white clothes for 30 minutes in the washer with ½ cup 3% peroxide. Launder as usual.
⅔ cup liquid castile soap—without sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate (SLS) or Diethanolamine (DEA)
3 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
5 drops tea tree essential oil
20 drops lemon essential oil
1⅓ cups water
Pour soap, glycerin, tea tree oil, lemon oil, and water into a bottle. Shake well to emulsify. Place soap beside sink and use on dishes and hands. This fragrant formula will also clean your kitchen countertops beautifully.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, let soak for at least 30 minutes and then scrub with toilet brush.
Tip: Let ingredients soak for a while to make for easy scrubbing, especially on persistent stains like toilet bowl rings.
½ cup baking soda
½ cup vinegar
Pour baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Flush with boiling water.
Tip: Prevent your shower from clogging by using a drain trap to catch hairs.
Now your house is clean and nontoxic. And your laundry is free from synthetic fragrance and chemical residue. Bravo for you! What’s next?
Make Your Home Smell Fresh the Healthy Way
Rather than reaching for a room spray, try:
- placing a few boxes of open baking soda in “fragrant” rooms
- scooping out half an orange and filling it with a tablespoon of salt.
- soaking cotton balls in essential oils. Simply hide them around your home away from pets and kids to enjoy your favorite scents naturally.
Hope this helps and, as always, thanks for reading! 🙂