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May 24, 2018  |  Login

Clean your home without dirty chemicals

Use natural alternatives to chemical cleaners for a healthier home and a healthier environment

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It’s easy to stock your cleaning cupboard with non-toxic cleaning supplies, and you don’t have to sacrifice the sparkle. Ever wonder what all those scary symbols on your cleaning products mean? They mean they are dangerous to your health. Most conventional cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that put humans and the environment at risk. Chemical ingredients can range from mildly irritating to poisonous and can cause respiratory tract irritation, skin inflammation, eye irritation, nausea, headaches, dizziness and even vomiting. Some are known or suspected carcinogens.

Spraying and wiping surfaces with dangerous toxins just doesn’t make sense: you are polluting your home while trying to clean it. There are safe alternatives to the caustic brews that have become so mainstream, and we don’t have to trade a clean house for a safe house. Nontoxic products are now widely available—and are as effective as they are safe. Manufacturers try to scare us into buying anti-bacterial products, but the truth is that we don’t need them and we’re much healthier using non-toxic alternatives.

Here’s some scary news: when we purchase a conventional cleaner it’s impossible to know all the dangerous solvents and disinfectants we’re bringing into our homes because manufacturers are not required to list ingredients. Manufacturers of Earth-friendly cleaners, however, have nothing to hide and for the most part willingly disclose their safer and natural ingredients to the consumer.


Take Action / Next Steps
  • You can easily make your own household cleaners with commonly available and familiar ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, castile soap, borax and others. Look for titles on the subject of natural cleaning at your local library, or follow recipes found online.
  • Avoid hazardous products. The Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act requires prominent label warnings on hazardous household chemical products to alert the consumer to potential hazards.
    POISON: highly toxic; ingestion or inhalation can result in death in severe cases.
    DANGER: extremely flammable, corrosive or highly toxic.
    WARNING or CAUTION: moderately or slightly toxic.


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Did You Know?

Click below for more facts about this tip.


1. US EPA. Office of Indoor Air Quality. [July 2005] IAQ Tools For Schools. Actions for Improved Indoor Air Quality. Available from: [30 November 2007].

2. US EPA. Office of Indoor Air Quality. [undated] “Organic Gases (Volatile Organic Compounds - VOCs).” Available from: [30 November 2007].

3. Bogo, Jennifer. “Children at Risk: Widespread Chemical Exposure Threatens Our Most Vulnerable Population.” E magazine. Sept./Oct. 2001: 27-33.

4. The American Association of Poison Control Centers. 2004 Poison Control Center Survey. Available from: [3 December 2007].

5. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. [undated] “Children Act Fast...So Do Poisons!” Available from: [3 December 2007].

6. US Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. [undated] “Health Hazard Definitions (Mandatory).” Available from: [3 December 2007].

7. US Geological Survey. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. [6 November 2006] “From Pharmaceuticals in Groundwater to Mercury in High U.S. Mountains.” Available from: [30 November 2007].

8. LennTech. [undated] Periodic Chart of Chemicals. Available from: [3 December07].
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