As I mentioned in a recent post, I swapped most of my household cleaners for natural alternatives before my daughter was born. But, there are still a few toxic products lingering in my home that I feel guilty about. Dishwasher detergent is one I've struggled with, because I've tried natural brands and the dishes have come out looking spotty and the glasses foggy.
But more and more, it's coming to my attention that the products we use to clean our countertops, bathtubs, and floors don't only impact the environment, but also our health. Earlier this month, David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) launched the Spring Breakup campaign, encouraging moms to end their toxic relationships with household cleaners.
They say... "When we use these chemicals to clean our home, they linger in the air and we breathe them in. Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies through the skin or through ingestion of household dust and chemical residues left on dishes and cutlery. And when cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they can have a serious impact on aquatic ecosystems."
And, as David Suzuki's Queen of Green, Lindsay Coulter, writes in her blog: "Did you know that many doctors and cancer treatment centres...tell patients to rid their homes of conventional cleaning products once they've been diagnosed with the big "c"?"
It's this type of thinking that really bothers me. Why not be proactive and prevent disease, rather than opt for healthy habits only once you're sick? This April I'm pledging to swap out the remaining toxic products lingering under my sink! I hope you'll join me!
Here are a few 'green' solutions that are working for me so far:
Vinegar! Though it is smelly, I'm a big fan. I mix it with warm water and use it to clean many surfaces including my daughter's bathtub, our countertops, and the mirrors. Also, because my hair has a tendency to fall out and clog our drains (yuck!) we're always trying to find new ways to clear them. I've banned the use of Drano in our house and switched to baking soda and vinegar. It not only resembles a grade school science experiment ("look it's a volcano!") but it also works really well too.
When it comes to laundry soap we use NatureClean detergent, which is fragrance free, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Fragrance never bothered me before, but now that I've been using unscented products, I find that whenever something is washed in Tide the smell drives me nuts. What used to be the "fresh smell of clean laundry" now seems more like the "smell of toxic chemicals tickling my nose."
For our granite countertops I found an awesome brand of cleaner developed locally called eco mist solutions. What I love about this product (other than how shiny it leaves my counters) is that the list of ingredients is super short (non-chlorinated water, processed coconut extracts, sugarcane, corn) and all the ingredients are food-based.
I'm happy to see campaigns like Spring Breakup promoting the use of natural products. After all, we owe it to ourselves, our kids, and the planet to breakup with toxins once and for all. To learn more about how to survive this breakup and come out on top, follow along every week as they reveal new tips and tricks for 'green' home cleaning. Plus, there are some pretty sweet prizes to be won!
Finally, if you've come across a great eco friendly cleaning product or solution, please Spill It in the comments below. Especially if you've found something that works in the dishwasher... I'm all ears!