Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Squeaky Clean, Green Home!

How toxic are your cleaning products?

What cleaning products do you use to clean your house? Can you pronounce all of the ingredients listed? Do you know which ones are harmful to you and the environment? We believe it's important to know what's in the products we use to keep our house clean. With a little reading you might be surprised at just how harmful many cleaning products are - not to mention the damage they are doing to our aquatic ecosystems once flushed down the drains.

Despite the myth that most cleaning products fall into one of two categories toxic or expensive, we believe that there are other options that don't cost much and are not toxic. So this blog is about an awesome squeaky clean and green cleaning product that we've started using.

So what's in your average collection of cleaning products? 

The average household contains a large number of toxic chemicals, which we're exposed to on a regular basis ranging from synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven cleaners. Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity. While manufacturers are keen to point out that in small amounts these toxic ingredients aren’t likely to be a problem, we are exposed to them routinely, and in combinations that were never tested.

Some of the common nasties include:
This one is found in fragranced household products (think air fresheners, soaps etc). If 'fragrance' is listed on the label, there’s a good chance phthalates are present. Phthalates are suspected endocrine disrupters associated with reproductive effects, including reduced sperm count in men.
A very common nasty found in polishing products and glass cleaners. People who get a lot of ammonia exposure often develop chronic bronchitis and asthma. Ammonia can also create a poisonous gas if it’s mixed with bleach.
Toilet bowl cleaners, mold removers and laundry whiteners can all contain chlorine, as did chemical weapons in World War I. Do you really want this in your house.

So what do we clean with?

One of the cheapest and most simple cleaning products we've started using is Vinegar. It cost just over  $1 for 2 litres last time we shopped. Vinegar is a weak form of acetic acid that is edible (and can't harm your stomach).

Vinegar (with a citrus twist)
We've recently discovered that soaking citrus peel in vinegar for 2 weeks, before discarding the peel creates an even better product. Our citrus vinegar has cut through greasy pots and cleaned up our stainless steel cook top up an absolute treat. We think the addition of the citrus (we used orange peel) also removes most of the sharp vinegar smell. We've also used it to clean all our kitchen surfaces and the shower, where it cleaned up the tiles way better than any other product we've paid a lot more money for!

PS One last piece of advice - don't waste your money on an air freshener - open the window and buy some indoor plants to help filter the air.

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