Your Guide to Toxin Free Spring Cleaning

natural spring cleaning
How to select safe household cleaners
Many cleansers labeled natural or green do not completely disclose their ingredients. Sometimes even going to the manufacturer’s website can leave you clueless. Take that as a bad sign and don’t use it.
Environmental Working Group (EWG), the producers of annual Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to help consumers avoid produce that is grown with too much toxic material, also has a section in its website to help consumers with household cleaning products.
Here are some toxic ingredients EWG recommends you watch for, either isolated or as part of an ingredient’s name: Dipropylene Glycol or Propylene Glycol, 2-butoxyethanol, nonylphenol ethoxylates or nonylphen and nonoxynol, diethylene glycol monobutyl ether, diethylene glycol monomethyl ether or methoxydiglycol.
Or you can simply ignore products with ingredients that would require a degree in chemistry to understand. Products that contain a high percentage of “natural fragrances” or citrus oil derivatives such as d-limonene are easy to assume as safe.
But those citrus oils can react with trace levels of ozone air pollution to create formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Even if that reaction doesn’t occur, some can be allergic to various pine and citrus oils. There are even chemicals that are meant to break down in a time-release manner to intentionally produce formaldehyde as a protection against bacteria. EWG has those listed as well.
Some known safe cleansers and making your own
Any pure traditional soap is safer than most detergents. Only problem is it can leave a film on some surfaces. For that type of film, use plain (cheap) white vinegar with lemon juice.
Baking soda or baking soda and vinegar is useful for many cleaning jobs, even ovens. Spray on some vinegar or a vinegar water solution then spread baking soda over it. Let it sit for several hours then scrub without concern for harmful vapors.
Bon Ami is a scouring cleanser with a long history that predates synthetic chemicals’ entry into household cleaning. It works very well, better than other commercial cleansers. It’s safe, and it’s cheap! So far it’s sold mostly in health food stores.
A good method for spot cleaning or mopping is to mix a few drops of a biodegradable truly natural dish detergent with a strong solution of cheap vinegar in water. It does the job without toxic fumes. (4)
If you don’t mind putting some time and effort into an effective and safe laundry detergent that you can make with a huge long-lasting volume to save yourself a lot of bucks, check out the DIY laundry detergent link below!
When it comes to safely removing tough stains from fabrics and carpets, Nature’s Miracle stain and odor remover works wonders. It is a bio-enzymatic solution originally intended for pet stains and odors, which is why it’s available in pet stores or sections.
Article adapted from

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