Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Slightly Greener Clean

I was first bothered by the chemicals in my household cleaners when I was pregnant. Suddenly, cleaning the bathroom with my regular products was unbearable- the smell was awful and I could feel the fumes in my nose and my lungs. I started looking for alternatives and have made some very good changes since then.
When we had our first child, I really started looking at all the toxins we had lying around the house. It made me so nervous to know that we had a large number of products that were capable of seriously harming or even killing my child. Child locks gave me some sense of security, but even the most expensive child proofing devices do not work 100% of the time. The only way I could put my mind at ease was to get rid of a lot of the potentially dangerous products. The fewer there are in our house, the less likely it is for one of my kids to come in contact with them.
Switching your household cleaning agents to greener, non-toxic products will not only benefit your children, it is better for everyone in your household, including your pets. Not only will your household be better off, the environment and everyone in it will be, too.
Bathroom and Household Cleaners:
We have switched out our harsh household cleaners and replaced them with products by Green Works® and method®. They are naturally derived cleaners without any harsh fumes or chemicals. Best of all: they work just as well as the other stuff!
If you would rather make your own cleaners, vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are cheap, non-toxic, all natural, and overall great for cleaning almost anything in your house.
Dishwashing Detergent
When we first started using utensils and cups for my daughter, we just stuck them in the dishwasher using our regular dishwasher tabs. Every time I emptied the dishwasher, I felt uncomfortable giving the cups, etc. back to my daughter without rinsing them out thoroughly because they smelled strongly of chemicals. method® once again came to our rescue with their all natural dishwasher tabs that are non-toxic. Not only do they get the dishes just as clean, they also smell fantastic!
With dish soap, it is really easy to find a great one that is made up of natural cleaning agents and is non-toxic. Most of them also smell really nice and refreshing.
Laundry Soap and Fabric Softeners
My daughter developed eczema, which made us switch to detergents and fabric softeners that were perfume and dye free. We found so many great options that not only fit the criteria, but were also plant based and naturally derived. Regular store brands we like include Arm & Hammer and Seventh Generation. There are a lot of specialty brands available- especially when it comes to laundering cloth diapers- that are all natural and non-toxic. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even make your own laundry soap- I have never done so myself, but know a few ladies who make some on a regular basis.
Mopping Revised
My favorite green cleaning tip of them all is: buy a steam mop! They don’t cost much and will save you so much time, money, and hassle. All you do is fill it with water. The steamer heats the water to a high temperature and emits steam that not only cleans your floors beautifully without the use of any mopping solution, but also sanitizes them. Best of all, there is no bucket of water to lug around the house and no mess to clean up afterwards- just fill it up, plug it in, and go. Then, put it away again. My floors are cleaner than they have ever been!

Of course, for the extremely rough or disgusting cases, I still have disinfectants and harsh cleaners. For example when I rinse off chicken in the kitchen sink, I like to use a little something stronger to get it clean, just because I’m a bit of a germaphobe…
Please note that non-toxic cleaners can still poison your child if they are ingested in large quantities. They can also still irritate the eyes and skin, so keep them out of reach of your children and pets at all times!!!

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