When it comes to choosing the appropriate methods of cleaning, it’s important to find a product that works well. Sometimes it just seems impossible to get that stubborn soap scum off the bathroom sink or erase the mystery stain that plagues your countertop. When looking for cleaning products to dismantle these messes, the harsh chemical-based cleaners seem most appealing.
When caught in the moment, on your hands and knees scrubbing and scrubbing that immovable stain in the carpet, you probably don’t think twice about reaching for the chemical-based cleaner that will blast it away. After a few minutes, the stain is gone, the house is clean, and you’re left feeling accomplished. Everything is perfect, right?
Unfortunately, many of these chemical-based cleaners cause 15 percent of Americans to be allergic to their own homes, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. How can you tell if you’re allergic to a detergent or cleaner in your home? If your skin and eyes become irritated after using household products, you probably have an allergy to them.
Cons Of Chemical Cleaners
Allergies can develop with exposure to particular products over time for adults, but hey are especially irritable to little ones around the house. The younger the child, the more sensitive their skin will be. Using natural household cleaners is beneficial for everyone, but they are especially important if kids are in the home.
Many home products are chemical based. In fact, when you take the time to think it over, most of us are filling our houses with chemicals: air freshener plug ins, disinfecting countertop spray, bathroom cleaner, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, or carpet cleaner. The list goes on, but I’m sure you get the point.
These chemicals can definitely irritate the skin or eyes, but they also expose you to carcinogens.  These are environmental factors that can trigger the activation of oncogenes. Oncogenes are tiny little parts of your genetic makeup that have the power to produce an abundance of deformed cells, commonly referred to as cancer. This is why the use of chemicals is often linked to the development of cancer. With too much exposure to potent chemically based products, carcinogens have the power to flip on these oncogenes and lead to cancer.
Not only do chemical cleaners pose long-term threats to health, but if certain cleaners are ingested or some into contact with skin, they can cause serious short-term health risks. So although it may seem tempting to dig out the chemically based cleaners from the back of the cupboard, it is worthwhile to take a look at alternative cleaners that can offer the same benefits without the risk. Natural cleaning products will give your skin a break from exposure to irritants, be gentle on the environment, and save you a few dollars in the long run.
What Qualifies a Product To Be Natural?
Like most things that are better for you, green cleaning products may come at a higher cost than chemically based ones. Not only this, but many companies seem to find loopholes in order to market their products as “organic,” “green,” or “natural” when they are not. There are specific things to look for when trying to choose the appropriate green cleaning product.
Look for the Green Seal label. Green Seal is a non-profit organization helping to secure the integrity of a product. Clorox, for example, is classified with a Green Seal  label. This means that the organization scientifically tested the ingredients in the cleaning product to make sure they were not chemically harmful.
Another large (but government-funded) corporation that provides logos to tested products is Ecologo.  Ecologo follows strict guidelines when rewarding a product with their label. These logos can be found on cleaning products or paper products to confirm they posses the natural integrity they claim to have. If you’re skeptical of the corporations who con their way into marketing a natural or green level, look for these labels on any product you choose to buy.
One way to guarantee a natural household cleaner is to make it yourself. The age-old trick of mixing equal parts vinegar and warm water is always a go-to cleaner. Vinegar is a disinfectant and will also deodorize any stinky, dirty surfaces. Always be careful when using vinegar, as it doesn’t always mix well with some surfaces. Try a hidden spot on the bathroom floor to make sure the vinegar won’t eat away at the grout between your tiles. Besides tile grout and marble, vinegar is a multi-purpose cleaner that will disinfect most areas of your home.
If you’re turned off by the smell of vinegar in your home (although the smell will dissipate after it dries), try using a natural substance with a more alluring smell: lemon. Lemon is natural bleach, which is great for your dishes or kitchen sink, leaving a light and refreshing smell. You can mix lemon with baking soda (another natural cleaning product) in order to add some substance for scrubbing. Whenever trying any of these products, it’s always smart to do a test run on a small surface area.
What To Avoid
If these natural, homemade products just aren’t doing it for you, head to the store and look for green cleaning products. The best way to determine if the products are actually as “green” as they claim is to take a second to glance over the ingredient list. Some ingredients to avoid include:
- Antibacterial Ingredients
- Butyl Glycol
- Chlorine Bleach
- Hydrochloric acid
- Lye or Sodium Hydroxide
- NPEs or NonylphenolEthoxylate
- Sulfuric Acid
With these guidelines, it should be easy to keep your home clean without employing the use of nasty, harsh chemicals. For the safety of yourself, your family, and even your guests, it’s a smart and economical idea to switch to natural and green cleaning methods.
©2012 Off the Grid News