• Clean with Green

    Most people don’t give a second thought to buying and using harsh chemical cleansing agents in their homes, but perhaps they should. According to the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, more than 7 million accidental poisonings occur each year, with more than 75 percent of those involving children under the age of six. This works out to one child being poisoned approximately every 30 seconds. Scary stuff, but not especially surprising, especially when you consider that the average American uses 25 gallons of toxic chemical products per year in the home.

    Still, it’s not just children who are at risk. It’s been suggested that women who work from home have a 54 percent higher death rate from cancer than their counterparts who work away from home. The 15-year study, which made its debut at the Toronto Indoor Air Conference of 2000, concluded that the higher death rate was a direct result of the much higher exposure rate to toxic chemicals in common household products. Some other facts worth noting:

    • No toxic information is available for more than 80 percent of the chemicals found in everyday-use cleaning products
    • Only 1 percent of toxins are required to be listed on the labels of cleaning agents, because companies classify their formulas as “trade secrets”
    • 150 of the most commonly used household chemicals have been linked to birth defects, allergies, psychological abnormalities and cancer
    • In the last 50 years, more than 75,000 chemicals have been introduced to our environment. Today, 300 of these synthetic chemicals are commonly found in human bodies. Even newborn babies have been found to have synthetic chemicals in their bodies, passed on from their mothers
    • Within 26 seconds of exposure to chemical cleaning products, traces of the chemicals can be found in every organ of the body

    With all of this information floating around the Internet, available at will, it’s amazing that people still use (and spend money on!) chemical cleaning products. That said, there are several major brands that have made their mark in the cleaning industry by not having anything unpronounceable or cancer causing in their formulas. Brands like 7th Generation and Mrs. Meyers can be found at just about any store, including Target. These brands use natural alternatives that are not only healthier to be around, but better for the environment.

    However, for the more adventurous readers, there are all kinds of cleaning concoctions that can be mixed right in the kitchen, using ingredients that just about everyone has in their cabinets. Below are some recipes for household cleansers that anyone can make, many just as effective as their dangerous store-bought alternatives. But first, the basics:

    • Lemon Juice – Who knew something as simple as lemon juice could be a natural antibacterial ingredient? Its acidity also helps to dissolve and pull up stains from fabric
    • Club Soda – Who needs the blue stuff? Club soda will get windows, mirrors and any other glass surface streak-free and shiny
    • Vinegar – Another antibacterial agent and disinfectant, as well as deodorizer
    • Baking Soda – Dissolves dirt and grease in water, works great as a gentle scouring abrasive
    • Borax – This naturally occurring mineral containing boron, oxygen, sodium and water will kill mold and bacteria, as well as deodorize and disinfect. Great in the bathtub!
    • Liquid Soap – Just about any natural liquid dish soap can do double-duty as a cleansing agent for other items besides pots and pans
    • Essential Oils – These are antibacterial and fragrant, without reacting to the other ingredients. Essential oils like , lavender oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, lemon oil and orange oil are perfect additives for those who like their kitchen to sparkle and smell nice

    Okay, now that the basic ingredients have been covered, it’s time for the actual recipes:

    Toilet Cleaner
    Pour 1/4 cup baking soda into bowl, drizzle with vinegar. Let sit for 30 minutes, then scrub and flush. Add borax for tough stains

    Drain Cleaner
    Pour ½ cup borax into the drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water


    Pour ¼ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup vinegar. Cover, let sit for 15 minutes. Follow with 2 quarts of boiling water

    Fabric Softener
    Add 1 cup vinegar OR ¼ cup baking soda to wash cycle during final rinse. To cut down on static, keep your hands damp while folding clothes, or simply line dry

    Furniture Polish (for wood surfaces)
    Mix 2 tsp. lemon oil and 1 pint of mineral oil in a spray bottle. Spray wood surfaces directly, rub in and then let dry. After a few hours, polish with a soft, dry cloth

    Silver Polish
    Mix 1 quart warm water, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt and a small piece of aluminum foil into large, shallow dish. Let silver soak, dry with soft cloth

    Oven Cleaner
    Mix ¼ cup baking soda, 2 tbsp. salt and enough hot water to make a thick paste. Apply to oven (stay clear of any wires or heating elements), let sit for 5 minutes

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    One Comment On This Post

    1. I use one part peroxide(3%)to 15 parts water in a spray bottle to clean organic stains from carpets and upholstry. Just spray on and let dry…stain fades over 24 hrs. Its fantastic for pet stains!!

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