If you are tired of feeling guilty for using chlorine bleach, ammonia or other harsh chemicals that can damage the Earth and make you and your children sick if you are not careful, you have several options for natural home cleaning. In most cases, green cleaning products work just as well as conventional cleaners, without the as much cause for concern.
Types of Natural Cleaners
While eco-friendly natural cleaners were once a specialty item, usually found in health food stores, you can, as of 2010, find natural cleaners in many discount stores or supermarkets. It seems that there is a natural cleaning remedy or alternative to every basic cleaner, from laundry detergent that uses plant-based surfactants instead of petroleum-based, to bleach that uses hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine. You can also find natural dish soap, dishwasher detergent, all-purpose cleaner and bathroom cleaners on many store shelves.
You can use several common pantry ingredients to produce natural cleaning remedies at home. Combine 2 tsp. white vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle to make window cleaner. A mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water can be used to remove stains from laundry and the carpet. Scrub sinks and stove tops clean by sprinkling baking soda over the surface, then rubbing with a wet rag or sponge. You can also make a paste of 1 tbsp. baking soda and 1/4 cup water. Use that to clean out your refrigerator and microwave.
If you choose to purchase natural home cleaning products, you may pay a premium over conventional cleaning supplies. Making cleaning products at home is usually much less expensive than buying conventional products or commercial natural ones. You’ll also pay less if you buy certain classic natural cleaning products, such as borax or washing soda.
In addition to cost, many natural cleaning products offer other benefits. While certain conventional cleaners are poisonous, such as chlorine bleach, which can damage your lungs and release trihalomethanes, a type of carcinogen, according to Umbra Fisk of the Grist website. Chlorine bleach also releases a dangerous gas when mixed with other cleaning products, such as ammonia. Under most circumstances, you do not have to worry about natural cleaning products poisoning your children or releasing toxic fumes.
Even though they are less poisonous than conventional cleaners, you should still exercise caution when using natural cleaning products. Keep them out of the reach of children, so that they do not accidentally ingest the products. Also keep an eye out for products labeled “natural” or “biodegradable” that actually are not or that contain more chemicals or non-renewable ingredients than they should. When shopping for natural products, the Environmental Working Group suggests that you only purchase cleaning products that have been certified by Green Seal or EcoLogo, independent certification programs.