Thinking about going green to preserve your family’s health? You’re not alone. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) names “products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies” as one of the leading contributors to indoor air quality problems. As awareness of the potential dangers of commercial products grows, so do the number of families opting for safe, all-natural, or organic alternatives to the commercial formulations available at your local grocery store or retailer.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your family’s exposure to harsh or potentially toxic chemicals and cleaning solutions, here are a few commonly used household products you can replace with all-natural alternatives.
White Vinegar: A Natural Disinfectant
Chlorine bleach is traditionally the go-to solution when you need to disinfect your kitchen countertops, bathroom, sink, shower, and other surfaces in your home. While it’s a powerful disinfectant, killing germs like salmonella on contact, it also poses some health risks. Fumes from bleach can sting the eyes, cause headaches, and burn the lungs, and with long-term exposure it could pose serious health concerns.
Instead of bleach, white vinegar is an all-natural and safe alternative to harsh disinfectants like bleach. Plus, if you end up with some vinegar on your clothes after a long day of cleaning, you won’t end up with a discolored shirt.
Natural Alternatives for Streak-Free Windows
Windows are one of those areas in the home requiring regular cleaning, as they tend to accumulate dirt, dust, smudges, and smears from just about everything. The mass-produced window cleaning products you can buy at your local grocery store may include potentially harmful ingredients like ammonia, butyl cellosolve / glycol ether, and phthalates. These ingredients have been linked to health problems such as asthma, fertility, liver and kidney damage, and chronic fatigue syndrome, among others.
Health conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome are often linked with mental health disorders such as depression, which in turn is linked to higher rates of addiction and suicide. While there’s no direct link between commercial cleaning products and addiction or suicide, it’s easy to see the potential domino effect of the health impacts these products may contribute to.
To avoid these risks, turn to safe, natural alternatives like vinegar and water, borax and cornstarch, or even a dry cloth to shine and reduce streaks. If you’ve already been over-exposed to a variety of potentially harmful substances found in household products and are suffering from chronic fatigue or other health issues, ask your healthcare provider about detoxification programs that can help to flush harmful substances from the body.
Natural Alternatives for Dust-Free Furniture
If you or a family member suffers from allergies or asthma, a dusty home will contribute to your symptoms. What’s more, dust itself is a combination of particles that may consist of toxins or allergens. You might embrace dusting spray with open arms due to its ability to keep your home (seemingly) dust-free for more than a few hours after you’ve dusted, but the ingredients in many dusting sprays and similar products sold in grocery and retail stores could be posing just as much risk to your family’s health.
You can make your own all-natural dusting spray using just a few ingredients: water, vinegar, olive oil, and lemon essential oil. The result is a fresh, citrus-scented spray that works to remove dust and leave your furniture shiny and clean. Or, for a simpler option, try the two-ingredient castile soap and water combination, then add some olive oil or jojoba oil as a moisturizer and a few drops of lemon essential oil for the crisp citrus scent many homeowners love.
While commercially available household cleaning products do work (for the most part), they also leave behind potentially harmful fumes or residue that can be detrimental to your family’s health. Instead of trading one problem for another, these all-natural alternatives give you the best of both worlds: a clean home with no added environmental toxins.