Green products clean without chemical risk

“Poison,” “Warning” and “Danger” sound like labels that belong in a science lab or ammunition factory, not in the cabinets of our homes. Yet these warnings are commonly found on household cleaning products.

Ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide and triclosan are only some of the harmful chemicals found in most cleaning products. These chemicals contribute to pollution, can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems. Constant exposure over a number of years can even lead to cancer. For a healthier lifestyle, it’s best to trade in your commercial cleaners for greener products. There’s not a thing that can’t be cleaned with some baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar and elbow grease.

Baking soda is an effective cleaning agent for bathroom utilities, as it sanitizes, deodorizes and scours. Use a baking soda/water paste to scrub shower tiles and sink bowls; the mix will remove mildew and stains. For toilets, pour baking soda into the bowl, and allow it to sit for about an hour before scrubbing with a toilet brush.

Lemon juice has many uses. This natural cleaner has antibacterial properties, plus it smells great! Fill a spray bottle with water and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, and use to wipe away handprints and spots on mirrors and windows. If you have a grease stain on a piece of clothing, rub lemon juice onto the stain, let it sit overnight before washing as usual.

Vinegar can remove stains and odors from carpets and furniture. Create a mixture that’s half water and half vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray it on the stain, blotting it with a clean cloth. Be careful not to rub the stain into the fibers. For more stubborn stains, mix baking soda and vinegar to form a paste and rub it into the spot with a toothbrush. After the paste dries, vacuum the spot.

If you’re intent on buying a stronger, commercial cleaner, be aware of the chemicals used in the product. Avoid anything with “danger,” “poison,” “corrosive,” or “may cause burns” on the label. Products with the Green Seal or EcoLogo label are guaranteed to be environmentally friendly. You can still be healthy and green while keeping clean!

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