FindingECO at Home: Household Green Cleaning Guide
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FindingECO at Home: Household Green Cleaning Guide

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FindingECO at Home: Household Green Cleaning Guide FindingECO at Home: Household Green Cleaning Guide Document Transcript

  • FindingECO at HomeGreen Cleaning Guide by Denise Aday www.DeniseAday.com 1
  • This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Toview a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/. 2
  • Contents Why is it important to replace toxic cleaning products in the home and office with non-toxic, eco- friendly ones? ......................................................................... 5 They are untested. .................................................................. 5 Chemicals and Cancer ............................................................. 5 (Just) a Few Dangerous Chemicals to Avoid ........................... 5 Children Especially at Risk ...................................................... 6 We Can We Do? Two Very Simple Things: ............................. 6 Discover & Properly Dispose of Toxic Products: ..................... 6 Replace toxic products: .......................................................... 6 Things to Remember while Shopping ..................................... 7 Make at Home ........................................................................ 7 SAFE & ECO-FRIENDLY INGREDIENTS: .................................... 7 GREEN CLEANING RECIPES: .................................................... 8 Dish Soap (for hand washing, not dishwasher) ...................... 8 Dishwasher ............................................................................. 8 Kitchen Counter Spray ............................................................ 8 All-Purpose Cleaner ................................................................ 8 Glass/Stainless Cleaner ........................................................... 8 Disinfectant Spray ................................................................... 8 Bathroom Cleaner................................................................... 9 Toilet Bowl Cleaner (Homemade Cleaning Bubbles!)............. 9 Basin, Tub, and Tile Cleaner (Soft Scrubbing) ......................... 9 Mold........................................................................................ 9 Drain Cleaner .......................................................................... 9 Wood Furniture Polish ............................................................ 9 No-Rinse Floor Cleaner ......................................................... 10 Carpet Freshener .................................................................. 10 Air Freshener ........................................................................ 10 LAUNDRY............................................................................... 10 Detergent Booster ................................................................ 10 Fabric Stain Remover ............................................................ 10 3
  • Dryer Sheet Alternatives....................................................... 11GREEN CLEANING TOOLS ...................................................... 11 4
  • Why is it important to replace toxic cleaning products in the home and office with non-toxic,eco-friendly ones?They are untested. • 80,000 chemicals are used to produce everyday products, and the vast majority of these chemicals have never been tested independently for toxicity. • Each year approximately 1,800 new chemicals are introduced in the U.S., with little or no toxicity testing. WE are the testing lab for this experiment.Chemicals and Cancer • According to the Environmental Protection Agency EPA, common household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than are other air pollutants. • According to the American Cancer Society, prior to the 20th century only 1 out of 8,000 people in this country were stricken with cancer. Since the Industrial Revolution the incidence has increased to 1 out of 3 people.(Just) a Few Dangerous Chemicals to AvoidMany common household cleaning products expose our families to toxins like: • Ammonia - poisonous when swallowed; respiratory passage irritant; can burn skin on contact; found in floor, bathroom, tile, and glass cleaners. • Butyl Glycol - poisonous when swallowed; lung tissue irritant; found in glass cleaners and all- purpose cleaners. • Hydrochloric Acid - can severely burn skin; irritate eyes and respiratory tract; found in toilet bowl cleaners. • Chlorine Bleach - extremely irritating to the lungs and eyes; sold by itself and also found in a variety of household cleaners. • Antibacterials - used in a variety of products, including dishwashing liquids and multipurpose cleaners; may cause skin and eye irritation. They can also contain pesticides such as Triclosan, currently under review by the FDA. Triclosan is suspected of altering hormone regulation and causing antibiotic resistance. The American Medical Association (AMA) discourages the use of antibacterial agents in consumer products because they may encourage the development of "superbugs" - antibiotic-resistant bacteria. • Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) - toxic to aquatic plants and animals; found in laundry detergents, but may be listed as nonionic surfactants. • Phosphates – detergent booster that can also harm the environment. Look for phosphate-free detergents that use enzymes instead. • Phthalates, aka “Fragrance” - Phthalates are a type of volatile organic compound (VOC) that off- gasses, sticks to household dust, and is then inhaled or ingested. Phthalates can cause asthma and allergies, and are also suspected of interfering with hormones and the reproductive development 5
  • of baby boys. Found in air fresheners, dryer sheets, shampoos, cleaning supplies and other products under the generic term “fragrance.”Children Especially at Risk • Children’s immature organs and developing bodies make it harder for them to eliminate poisons. • Because of their small size, children receive proportionally greater doses of any chemical contaminants found in food, water, and air. Pound for pound, children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food than adults. • Children have their fingers in their mouths and noses constantly and spend more time on carpets and flooring, so come into contact with more toxins than adults do.We Can We Do? Two Very Simple Things: 1. Discover & properly dispose of toxic products 2. Replace toxic productsDiscover & Properly Dispose of Toxic Products:Grab a note pad and a garbage bag or cardboard box. Go around to all the places that store householdchemicals (under sinks, in cabinets, on laundry room shelves, etc.) Examine the labels. If it says poison,danger, warning or caution, write down what function it performs to prepare your shopping list. Place theunused portion in the garbage bag or box (make sure containers are sealed tightly).When finished, seal the bag or cover the box and place in a well-ventilated area, like the garage.On your city’s website, look for the next Household Hazardous Pickup Day for your neighborhood. It mayalso list drop-off locations. If this information isn’t easy to find, try Earth911.com to search by zip code andlearn where to recycle and dispose of just about any household waste and much more.Replace toxic products:There are two ways to replace toxic products with safer, more eco-friendly ones: 1. Purchase a pre-mixed commercial product. 2. Mix them up at home from a few simple ingredients, some of which are found right in the kitchen.It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. DIY what you have time and the inclination to do. Several differentcleaners can actually be made from different proportions of the same ingredients, making quick work of aonce-in-awhile chore you can really feel good about – and saving some money while you’re at it! 6
  • Things to Remember while Shopping • These marketing terms are undefined and unregulated by the US FDA: “Chlorine Free”, “Chemical Free”, “Non-toxic”, “Phosphate Free” and “Natural”. They have no legal meaning, so look beyond such labels to the specific ingredients. • “Organic” is another unregulated term. Look for USDA Certified Organic. • Look for products containing plant- and vegetable-based ingredients. • Use cleaning supplies that are free of the dangerous ingredients mentioned earlier. Also avoid colorings or dyes. • Be sure to use 100% biodegradable products (though this is not a guarantee of safety). • Look for essential oils as fragrance. • Stock up on some basic safe ingredients (see Make at Home below) and mix your own. • A few recommended brands: 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, Bon Ami, and Seventh Generation.Make at HomeThere are inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercialhousehold products. Below are some of the most commonly used ingredients, followed by suggestedrecipes and eco-friendly cleaning tools.SAFE & ECO-FRIENDLY INGREDIENTS:Baking Soda Olive or Jojoba OilWashing Soda Tea Tree OilSalt Other Essential Oils likeHydrogen Peroxide Peppermint, Lavender orLemon Juice Orangeor Lemons Distilled Water orVinegar Filtered Tap WaterVegetable-Based Liquid SoapIMPORTANT!! Never mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together, as it will produce a toxic gas. 7
  • GREEN CLEANING RECIPES: Dish Soap (for hand washing, not automatic dishwasher) Use a vegetable-based liquid soap. Can usually dilute by about half and also use as hand soapin kitchen and bathrooms. Play with the proportions to find a consistency you like.DishwasherNothing I’ve tried so far gets the dishes as clean as commercial products. Look for eco-friendly brands suchas Seventh Generation. They’re coming down in price. Use the minimum recommended amount. If spottingis a problem, use vinegar in the rinse cycle.Kitchen Counter SprayIn a spray bottle mix 2 teaspoons (up to 1/4 cup) white vinegar, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid soap fill rest of theway with water. Optionally, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Tea Tree and lavender have anti-bacterial properties. (Note: Same as first glass/stainless spray below – handy!)All-Purpose CleanerIn a spray bottle mix 1/2 tsp washing soda, a little squirt of liquid soap and 2 cups of hot tap water. Shakethe bottle until the washing soda is well dissolved. (Note: Can also use as a fabric stain remover.)Alternate: 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon liquid soap, 1 teaspoon borax, and 1/4 cup undiluted whitevinegar mixed in a spray bottle. (Note: To use as oven cleaner, spray on and let set for 20 minutes beforecleaning.)Alternate: Mix ½ cup washing soda in a bucket of warm water.Glass/Stainless CleanerIn a spray bottle mix 2 teaspoons vinegar and 1 quart water. (Optionally add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid soap,which will help cut the wax from past products. Use also as kitchen counter spray.)Alternate: Mix 2 tablespoons borax and 3 cups water.Rub dry with newspaper from the recycling bin to avoid streaking.Disinfectant SprayIn a spray bottle mix 2 teaspoons borax with 4 tablespoons of vinegar and 3 cups hot water.Alternate: Spray undiluted hydrogen peroxide OR undiluted vinegar to clean and disinfect. To sanitize, leaveit on the surface for a few minutes. IMPORTANT!! Never mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together, as itwill produce a toxic gas. 8
  • Bathroom CleanerMix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water. Especially effective on mold.Alternate: Mix together 1/4 cup borax and 1/2 gallon hot water. (Hot water helps activate borax’s cleaningproperties.)Toilet Bowl Cleaner (Homemade Cleaning Bubbles!)Pour 1/4 cup baking soda into bowl and drizzle with vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes or up to 1/2 hour.Scrub and flush. Add borax for stains.Basin, Tub, and Tile Cleaner (Soft Scrubbing)Moisten surface, sprinkle with baking soda, and scrub.Alternate: Mix together 1/2 cup baking soda and 2-3 tablespoons liquid Castile soap. Mix up just enough forcurrent use. (Optionally add a bit of vegetable glycerin to keep moist for next use. I haven’t had the best ofluck with this.)MoldStraight vinegar kills approximately 82% of mold. Spray on and leave without rinsing. The smell will dissipate.Alternate: Scrub with a vinegar and salt paste.Alternate: 2 teaspoons Tea Tree oil (somewhat pricey, but a little goes a long way -- just get small bottle)mixed with 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spray on the mold and leave without rinsing. The smell willdissipate. Drain Cleaner Pour 1/2 cup baking soda in the drain, followed by 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and let set 20-30 minutes or more. Flush with hot water. Alternate: Follow directions on the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda box. For clogged drains (standing water), first try a plunger or snake. Push and pull vigorously.Wood Furniture PolishIn a small jar mix 1/2 tsp oil (ex. olive or jojoba, a natural wax) with ¼ cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Dip asoft rag into the mix and wipe onto wood surfaces. 9
  • Alternate (for varnished wood): use a mild vegetable oil soap.To remove watermarks, rub with toothpaste and polish with a soft cloth.No-Rinse Floor CleanerMix several tablespoons of liquid soap in a bucket of water (roughly 1 part soap to 40 parts water) and stirgently. On tile and laminate floors, I add a splash of vinegar to avoid buildup. (Note: Use this on any flooringthat can be exposed to water.)Carpet FreshenerGood old baking soda. Sprinkle on, let sit for a bit and vacuum.Air FreshenerMix a few drops of your favorite essential oil (such as peppermint, lavender or orange) with distilled orfiltered tap water in a spray bottle.Place a small opened (or perforated) box of baking soda in the refrigerator, closets and other enclosed areasto absorb odors. LAUNDRY Grate 1 bar of Castile soap and stir in a lidded container with 1 cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda, and 1/4 cup baking Soda. Use 2 tablespoons of the mix per regular load. Alternate: Soap Nuts. Visit FindingECO.com for more information about this 100% natural, biodegradable, USDA Certified Organic, fair trade, sustainable, eco-friendly, non-toxic and very economical laundry detergent alternative. It’s the only laundry“detergent” our family has used since April 2011. My sensitive skin loves soap nuts! They’re also perfect forfront-loading machines, as they’re low-sudsing and don’t need removing from the rinse cycle.Detergent BoosterBorax or washing soda – Follow directions on the box.To get rid of sour smells, add one cup vinegar or baking soda to a wash load. This will also soften clothesenough to avoid using a fabric softener in the dryer.Fabric Stain RemoverIn a spray bottle mix 1/2 tsp washing soda, a little squirt of liquid soap and 2 cups of hot tap water. Shakethe bottle until the washing soda is well dissolved. Spray on fabric & rub together or with a rag. Be sure torinse your hands, as washing soda is caustic and may irritate your skin. (Note: This is the same as the first all-purpose spray cleaner recipe above.) 10
  • Alternate: Soak fabric in 1/4 cup borax and 2 cups cold water.Alternate (blood): Spray with hydrogen peroxide just before washing. If the spot’s still fresh enough foreffective treatment, you’ll see it turn white when sprayed.)Dryer Sheet AlternativesUsing baking soda or vinegar in the wash cycle should soften clothes sufficiently to eliminate the need forfabric softener in the dryer. Vinegar will also cut down on static.The same goes if you use soap nuts in the washer. No fabric softener required.For scent, put a few drops of your favorite essential oil on a reusable cloth in the dryer.Some people love wool dryer balls, which are supposed to cut drying time by separating the clothes as theytoss, but I find the bouncing noise from the dryer quite annoying. (Note: avoid the PVC plastic dryer balls astoxic.)GREEN CLEANING TOOLSSpray Bottles - You can reuse old ones if the previous product was non-toxic, or purchase some good-qualityspray bottles from a local hardware store that you can label and use over and over.Cleaning Rags from old t-shirts or wash rags and towels too raggedy for personal use anymore. A greatreplacement for wasteful paper towels.Old ToothbrushesPlant-Based Sponges that you can compost.Long-lasting Scouring Pads and Brushes.Bucket or Reused Plastic TubGlass Jars 11
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