I get such an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction after tidying up the house. I have cleaning wipes in most rooms and fun gadgets like Swiffers and mini vacuums on every floor. Since I’m taking small steps to reduce toxins in my family’s world, I’ve spent the past year paying more attention to the ingredients in my cleaning products.
I actually was surprised. As an avid Whole Foods shopper, I often grabbed well-known brands like Method. After scouring the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning database and reading many of the suggested links, I came up with these general conclusions to help guide my future shopping trips.
Findings for Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
5. All natural isn’t necessarily good:
Just because a product says all natural, free or clear, it could still have tons of toxins that irritate allergies, promote cancer cells and are horrible for the environment. My favorite cleansers such as Method products and ALL Free and Clear laundry pods, scored horribly. Look for labels that say, “petroleum-free,” “biodegradable,” “phosphate-free,” “VOC-free,” and “solvent-free.”
4. Fragrances are bad:
From laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaners, fragrances and perfumes often promote skin irritation, allergies and possibly nervous system and respiratory effects. Try opening the windows or using baking soda in an open box (for small areas) to reduce smells.
3. Brands that consistently scored well:
(Most received an “A.” This equals a low level of allergens, mostly non-toxic and free of harsh chemicals)
- Green Shield Organics: Their fabric softeners, laundry detergents, dishwasher detergents, dishwasher automatic packs, all-purpose cleaners and bathroom cleaners consistently received “A’s.” This brand is easy to find at a Whole Foods or health food market, too.
- Seventh Generation: My runner-up brand for laundry detergent, dishwasher pods and toilet bowl cleaners is Seventh Generation. About half of their products scored well. I will check out the database before I buy other products. (I’m not as concerned about the allergens as I am carcinogens or toxic chemicals.)
2. A few surprises:
I should note that a few conventional brands seen in traditional shopping stores that scored well include: Martha Stewart Clean and Oxy Clean Baby. They both received high marks overall, mostly non-toxic for most products.
1. Making household cleaners can be easy, cheap and very low in toxicity:
- White distilled vinegar: Put an equal ratio of water with white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle and use as an all-purpose cleaner for the countertops, showers and wood floors.
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice can be utilized to dissolve hard water deposits and soap scum.
- Baking soda: Baking soda can be used as a non-abrasive cleaner and air freshener.
What are your favorite house cleansers? Do you use any whole foods to clean? If so, please comment.