There is lots of good Green cleaning advice out there. Quick search of the GoGreen blog you will find you some. For some instant gratification, you can check out this article about green cleaning practices gift giving.
Some people first dipping their toes into green cleaning might wonder, “how bad can my cleaner be?”. The answer to that my adventuring eco-friendly friend is, really bad. You probably have already figured out bleach is a baddie, but who would expect something labeled “Simple Green” to be anything but?
Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner has an ingredient in that is not only toxic, but disrupts your hormonal system. Not sure about you, but Mother Nature has gifted me with enough fun with my hormonal system without a floor cleaner screwing me up more!
Never one to bring up a problem without offering solutions, here are some of the most toxic cleaning products on the market, according to EWG, and the natural alternatives.
All-Purpose Cleaners that are Toxic
• Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner—This product is anything but green. It contains 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent that soaks through the skin and damages red blood cells; even more dangerous is that some people miss the fine print and don’t dilute it.
• Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser—Orange may seem natural, but these sprays contain d-limonene, which can react with ozone in the air to form tiny harmful lung-penetrating particles and the known carcinogen formaldehyde.
• Clorox, Fantastik, Febreze, Formula 409, Mr. Clean, and Spic and Span— EWG says many sprays sold under these brand names contain quaternary ammonium compounds or ethanolamine, compounds that can cause or trigger asthma.
- A Better Green Solution: Create your own potent germ-killing cleaner for pennies by combining nine parts water and one part white vinegar in a spray bottle. For extra-tough jobs, such as those involving raw meat, you can spray hydrogen peroxide (spot-test first) followed by the vinegar solution and kill virtually all germs.
- Go Green Marketplace has a wide selection of cleaning products from Come Clean Natural Cleaning Kit
• Whink Rust Stain Remover—A product used to brighten porcelain toilets and sinks, the fine print says, “May be fatal or cause permanent damage.” The product can also penetrate the skin and attack underlying tissues and bone. What’s your bright requirement for your toilet? This one makes me think of the Orbit gum commercial, except with a smiling toilet.
- A Better Green Solution: Dump half a bottle of white vinegar into the toilet, shut the lid, let sit overnight, and then scrub and flush in the morning. Think how gratifying it will be to get something done while you are sleeping.
• Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner—California is more strict when it comes to toxic compounds, and it’s put a ban on nonylphenol ethoxylate, an ingredient in this floor cleaner that is toxic to the environment and disrupts the hormonal system.
• Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner—Contains high concentrations of a substance that the United Nations says is “suspected of damaging the unborn child.”
- A Better Green Solution: Spot-test and use the nine-parts-water, one-part white vinegar solution to kill germs on your floor.
- Check out these wood cleaners from Method Wood for Good Cleaner
• Scrubbing Bubbles Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner & Extend-a-Clean Mega Shower Foamer—These lung-inflaming products contain 10 percent DEGBE, a solvent banned in the European Union at concentrations above 3 percent.
• DampRid Mildew Stain Remover Plus Blocker— Contains a hazardous solvent and another ingredient banned in European Union cleaners.
• Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Lime & Rust Remover—Could kill you or your pet if it’s swallowed. While you probably won’t be drinking out of the toilet, your pup might sneak a slurp, The acid in the cleaner can also cause irreversible eye damage.
• 2000 flushes and X-14 Toilet Bowl Cleaners—These chlorine-based products are “fatal if swallowed.”
- A Better Green Solution Solution: Make your own tile scrubber to clean your bathroom.
½ cup baking soda Liquid soap (consider Dr. Bronner’s peppermint or eucalyptus castile soap or plant-based, unscented detergent). If you go with unscented as your base, consider adding some essential oils.
Place baking soda in a bowl; slowly pour in liquid soap, creating a smooth paste.. Add optional essential oils. Scoop onto a sponge, scrub, and rinse. A halved lemon is the perfect selection of scrubber. Ooooh.. this smells good just writing it!
- Here are also some green bathroom cleaners that are available on Go Green Marketplace, Mrs. Meyers Bathroom Cleaner, Superior Bathroom Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner from Ecover.
• Easy-Off Fume-Free Oven Cleaner—Contains a powerful lung irritant in concentrations higher than what’s allowed in the European Union.
• Wal-Mart Great Value Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner—The label says, “Will burn skin and eyes. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and clothing. Harmful if swallowed. Avoid inhaling spray mist. Wear long rubber gloves while using…” Hmmm. How about not using at all?
• CVS Fume-Free Oven Cleaner—Don’t fall for the “fume-free” name. When labels claim you need to ventilate to protect yourself from harmful vapors, the product is not safe to smell. It also contains an ingredient linked to cancer.
• Easy-Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner Aerosol Spray—Another label with warnings that outweigh the benefits..
- A Better Green Solution First line of thought, clean spills quickly. Very messy spills should get handled first with some crumbled newspaper, or brown shipping/packing paper. Wipe first. Then use this spray. Mix 2 cups hot water, 1 Tablespoon natural dish liquid 1 teaspoon borax.Mix the ingredients, spray on a spill, let sit for 20 minutes, and wipe off with a clean cloth.
- If you have a heavy duty cleaning job, check out these products from Better Life
• Drano Professional Strength Kitchen Crystals Clog Remover—The label says the product can cause blindness or death. The crystals left lodged in the plumbing can produce a caustic splash back or mix with other things you’re washing down the drain to produce a dangerous chemical reaction.
- Green Solution: EWG recommends using a drain snake and plunger to remove clogs.
- If you want to make a cleaner, another recipe and step by step for you.
- For septic systems, here is a green septic treatment option from Drainbo
• Glade Air Freshener Sprays—Air fresheners and other cleaning products often contain addictive additives that can be gateway drugs. That can be fatal if you’re inhaling some Glade products. EWG says Wick automatic air fresheners and old English furniture polish carry the same warning.
- A Better Green Solution: Beeswax candles are great alternatives to scented candles and actually help clean your indoor air by producing negative ions.
- You can also put some vodka/alcohol in a spray bottle with pure essential oils of your choice. Make it a pretty bottle and you will leave it out.
• Ajax, Dynamo and Bab Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergents—These brands contain formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen. In the short term, formaldehyde can also trigger allergies and asthma. Formaldehyde is not something you’ll find on the ingredients label, but EWG detectives found it hiding in the technical disclosures for workers under “formalin.”
• Final Touch Ultra Liquid Fabric Softener—These sheets contain a toxic compound called quaternium-18 that doesn’t break down easily in the environment. It’s banned in cleaning products in the European Union.
- A Better Green Solution: Add a half cup of white vinegar to your washer’s rinse cycle for naturally more static- and wrinkle-free clothing. I never am around during a rinse cycel so I use Zum Laundry Soaps. Less need for fabric softener.
- Check out laundry soap nuts, a new product that will wash up to 50 loads of laundry.
- The Go Green Marketplace offers dozens of laundry products for green cleaning and green housekeeping
As always recommended, visit ewg.org. for complete list cleansers to stay away from.