Why Green Cleaning?

by emily on December 8, 2011

Why green cleaning? Are conventional cleaners really that bad?

Well, let me ask you this question: Say you have a three-year-old who wants to help you clean the toilet. Would you let him or her do it with the toilet bowl cleaner you have on hand? No? Well, why not?

Chances are, you don’t have to read the ingredients list to know that there is something nasty about that little bottle of liquid. You can smell it; in fact, you may have experienced a time when you accidentally inhaled the fumes from it and ran away, choking. Maybe you even got a headache.

The ingredients in conventional cleaners are toxic, often dangerously so. And while the huge conglomerates have wisened up to this fact and taken out some of the worst of the worst chemicals, such as phosphates out of laundry detergent, they still contain ingredients that would send you to the emergency room should your little toddler swallow some.

Green cleaning versus conventional household cleaners

Conventional laundry detergents, while phosphate-free, still contain chemicals that pollute the water. So how healthy can they be against your skin? Conventional all-purpose cleaners and glass cleaners contain petroleum derivatives. These and other chemicals can cause problems that range from skin and eye irritation to liver and kidney damage and cancer.

Green cleaning products cause no kind of irritation whatsoever, nor do they contain any substances that can damage organs or increase cancer risk.

A note of caution here: some conventional grocery stores—and conventional cleaning manufacturers—have recently come out with their own versions of “green” products. Although they have fewer chemicals than the non-green versions, they still contain some toxins. Either buy the Seventh Generation brand (a natural brand which is now sold almost everywhere), or stick with other cleaners you can find at the health food store.

Better yet – and much more economical – make your own household cleaners. Here are a few ideas:

  • Clean the toilet with 1 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup either baking soda or washing soda. Or, clean it with a squirt of liquid castile soap.
  • Mix a little vegetable oil with water in a spray bottle. Shake well before each squirt, and use for dusting. Or, simply dampen a rag.
  • Wash your floors with a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water.
  • Do your laundry with a Borax and washing soda mixture. While some people object to both of these ingredients for various reasons, they are not harmful to the environment in small quantities and it is the only green laundry solution I have discovered that cleans as well as the conventional detergents. And it’s much cheaper.
  • Use 50-50 liquid castile soap and water as a liquid hand soap. Or, boil 14 soap nuts in three cups of water for thirty minutes. This mixture can be used not only for hand soap, but also as an all-purpose cleaner, shampoo, and more.
Green cleaning need not be expensive or difficult. And it just may add several years to your life.

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