What does a typical Saturday morning hold for you? If it involves cleaning the house, in all likelihood you will be turning to your little reservoir of chemicals to get the job done. Keeping one place clean often means just shifting pollution from one location to another. The floor wax, furniture polish, window cleaner, copper scrub, tile disinfectant and air fresheners you use each week may leave your house spic and span but you also make a pernicious contribution to the hazardous waste problem in America. Vast quantities of detergents, bleaches and polishes are manufactured from toxic chemicals. The atmospheric and aquatic pollution that these chemicals produce has grown rapidly over recent years. Just disposing of the empty container these chemicals come in, can send them right to the landfill, where the toxins leak into ground water and possibly to end up back in the kitchen which in turn comes out of the tap. |
By making your own cleaning solutions, you not only improve the air quality in your home but you save a substantial amount of money doing so. I have listed some of the cleaning solutions that I have used myself which do a great job. You can clean out your old containers when they are empty and refill them with a healthier alternative so you will have it on hand when you need it.
- Bathroom Cleaners - The problem: Many bathroom cleaners are full of dangerous chemicals which affects our health as well as the environment. The solution: create a paste of water and baking soda for porcelain. Allow to set before rubbing clean. Borax is an excellent germ killer, repels cockroaches, deodorizes and whitens. Powder or abrasive cleaner is to rub area with one half lemon dipped in Borax, rinse and dry. It really works! See disinfectants for more information.
- Dish washing Liquid - The problem: Most dish washing liquids are detergents, not soaps. They are derived from scarce petroleum, are non-biodegradable and usually contain chemical additives such as artificial fragrances and colors. Detergents cause more child poisonings than any other product. The solution: Use liquid soap such as Ivory Snow Flakes. You could even add a little borax to disinfect. Look for naturally derived or glycerin-based soaps.
- Disinfectants - The problem: Most disinfectants are a witch's brew of toxic chemicals including phenol, formaldehyde, ammonia and chlorine. Some of their toxic fumes can even escape through tightly closed containers! The solution: Mix one half cup borax in 1 gallon hot water.
- Drain Cleaners - The problem: the lye, hydrochloric and sulfuric acids found in drain cleaners can burn human tissue, causing permanent damage. If not used precisely according to instructions, they can explode. They are especially dangerous around children. The solution: To maintain clean drains always use a drain basket. Mix 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup salt and one fourth cup cream of tartar. Pour one fourth cup of this mixture down drain and follow with boiling water. Clear clogs with one fourth cup baking soda followed by one half cup vinegar. Cover till fizzing stops; then flush with boiling water. For persistent clogs, use a metal drain snake available at hardware stores.
- Flea and Tick Control - The problem: the vast majority of pesticides used for flea and tick control have never been adequately tested for safety. You put these products on your pet and then they rub off on you and your children, exposing your family to the risk of cancer and other diseases. The solution: Pet dips and sprays containing a gas deprived from citrus extracts repel pests safely. Powders made from ground chrysanthemums sprinkled on the carpet, then vacuumed, prevent further infestation. Insecticidal soaps are biodegradable, nontoxic and kill fleas, ticks and lice instantly. 100% organic repellents made from distillates of cedar wood, orange, eucalyptus and bay are available for house sprays and flea collars. If you add one half tbsp. brewers yeast powder to your pets food daily this will also help to repel fleas. You can also make a repellent by boiling one half cup rosemary in 1 qt. water. Let soak for 10 minutes. After it has cooled, spray or sponge on your pet and let dry before going out. Do not towel dry. Make a homemade organic flea collar by soaking a piece of cloth. Let dry and use as a collar. Another method is to add Skin So Soft Oil to pet's rinse water after its bath.
- Floor and Furniture Polish - The problem: Most wood polishes contain chemicals that cause cancer in animals. In addition wood polish may cause severe skin irritation. The solution: Dust your furniture with a dry or slightly damp cloth. Use butcher's wax once per year or you could measure 1/8 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix well and apply with cloth. Buff with dry cloth. Makes your hands nice and soft too!
- Glass Cleaners - The problem: Glass cleaners emit ammonia mist which you breathe. Ammonia is a poison but glass cleaning products, whose active ingredient is ammonia, do not carry a warning label. The solution: First, use alcohol to clean the residual wax left from commercial glass cleaners. Then clean with a mixture of 50% white vinegar and 50% water, or mix 1 tbsp. white vinegar in 1 pint water. Rub with newspaper.
- House and Garden Pesticides - The problem: Pesticides contain some of the most toxic chemicals developed by man. Many have been linked to birth defects, leukemia and cancer. Drinking water becomes contaminated by pesticides. The solution: Avoid "quick fix" chemical warfare against pests and weeds. Creative alternatives include: beneficial bugs which attack the pests, organic insecticides and fertilizers, traps, companion planting and biological pesticides which use species specific bacteria to kill pests.
- Laundry Products - The problem: most laundry products are non-biodegradable detergents. Even phosphate-free, biodegradable detergents contribute to water pollution. The solution: Use soap products and boost with "washing soda". Washing soda brightens all washable fabrics and costs less than bleaches. You can also use borax.
- Mold and Mildew Cleaners - The problem: These cleaners contain pesticides. Exotic chemicals for killing molds and mildews may have side effects you did not bargain for such as eye and skin irritation and lung damage. The solution: Make a concentrated solution of borax or vinegar and water and clean affected areas. Borax is an excellent inhibitor of mold growth.
- Mothballs/Deodorizers - The problem: These products often contain a known carcinogen. Furthermore, these powerful poisons look like candy to young children. A two year old child ingesting one mothball can develop seizures in less than an hour. The solution: Store woolens with cedar blocks or place in cedar trunks in small dishes to absorb odors. White vinegar set in open containers will also destroy odors. Houseplants are decorative and fragrant air purifiers.
- Organic Flypaper: Rub honey on yellow paper and hang.
- Toilet Cleaners - The problem: These products contain chlorine and hydrochloric acid which can burn your skin and eyes. Manufacturers' warning labels tell you not to breathe the product that you are using. The fumes alone can corrode metal! This is possible even with a closed container. You are also warned that swallowing the product can cause death! The solution: Use soap and borax. Remove stubborn rings and lime build up with white vinegar or a pumice stone.
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner - Pour cola in bowl and leave for 10 minutes then brush.