Commercial Non-Toxic Household Products
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Today's modern home is loaded with toxic and polluting substances
designed to make domestic life easier. The cost of using these
commercial, chemical-based products can be high (long term
health concerns for the family, and environmental pollution caused
by their manufacture and disposal). In the US, for example, 1 in 3
people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis or bronchitis (US
National Center for Health Statistics). Treatment for these
conditions should include reducing synthetic chemicals in the home
As a result of our research, we have developed a comprehensive list of recommendations and remedies that you can employ to insure the safety of you and your family.
Pay close attention to the information below and be sure to call or email RobbieMaids with your cleaning requirements:
3. Healthy Home Cleaning Habits
4. Green Products (A site with green products for sale.) ****
For many home-cleaning chores, you can make your own cleaning products using the formulas listed below.
A growing number of commercial non-toxic home cleaning products are also available, as healthier and environmentally responsible alternatives. Your use of these products helps promote the growth of green businesses which are contributing to a sustainable economy.
There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.
Combinations of the above basic products can provide less harmful substitutions for many commercial home products. In most cases, they're also less expensive. Here are some formulas for safe, alternative home care products:
|Note: These formulas and substitutions are offered to help minimize the use of toxic substances in your home, and reduce the environmental harm caused by the manufacture, use and disposal of toxics. Results may vary and cannot be guaranteed to be 100% safe and effective. Before applying any cleaning formulations, test in small hidden areas if possible. Always use caution with any new product in your home.|
Make sure to keep all home-made formulas
well-labeled, and out of the reach of children.
All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar
and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2
liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit
stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows,
bathroom mirrors, etc.
Air Freshener: Commercial air fresheners
mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell.
Bathroom mold: Mold in bathroom tile grout is
a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen
peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on
areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using
Dishwashing Soap: Commercial low-phosphate
detergents are not themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae
which use up oxygen in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use
liquid soap. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy
water for tough jobs.
Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4
tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning
power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened
cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial
formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require
Drain Cleaner: For light drain cleaning, mix
1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour
down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking
soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical
reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine,
allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in
boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with
metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is
used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain
opener--the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create
Fabric softener: To reduce static cling, dampen your hands, then shake out your clothes as you remove them from the drier. Line-drying clothing is another alternative.
Floor Cleaner and Polish:
vinyl and linoleum:
mix 1 cup vinegar and a few drops of baby oil in 1 gallon warm
water. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup borox. Use sparingly on lineoleum.
wood: apply a thin coat of 1:1 vegetable oil and vinegar and rub in well.
painted wood: mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon (4L) hot water.
brick and stone tiles: mix 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon (4L) water; rinse with clear water.
Most floor surfaces can be easily cleaned using a solution of vinegar and water. For damp-mopping wood floors: mix equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water. Add 15 drops of pure peppermint oil; shake to mix.
For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon
oil into a 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton
cloth. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the
cloth, and finish by wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth.
For unvarnished wood, mix two tsps each of olive oil and lemon juice and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth. Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply to the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.
Laundry Detergent: Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads.
Lime Deposits: You can reduce lime deposits in your teakettle by putting in 1/2 cup (125ml) white vinegar and 2 cups water, and gently boiling for a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while kettle is still warm.
To remove lime scale on bathroom fixtures, squeeze lemon juice onto affected areas and let sit for several minutes before wiping clean with a wet cloth.
Marks on walls and painted surfaces: Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda applied to a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.
|Metal Cleaners and Polishes:|
using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of
cream of tartar and water.
brass or bronze: polish with a soft cloth dipped in lemon and baking-soda solution, or vinegar and salt solution. Another method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
chrome: polish with baby oil, vinegar, or aluminum foil shiny side out.
copper: soak a cotton rag in a pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar. Apply to copper while hot; let cool, then wipe clean. For tougher jobs, sprinkle baking soda or lemon juice on a soft cloth, then wipe. For copper cookware, sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub., A simpler method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
gold: clean with toothpaste, or a paste of salt, vinegar, and flour.
silver: line a pan with aluminum foil and fill with water; add a teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Bring to a boil and immerse silver. Polish with soft cloth.
stainless steel: clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar, or olive oil. For stainless cookware, mix 4 tbs baking soda in 1 qt water, and apply using a soft cloth. Wipe dry using a clean cloth. For stainless steel sinks, pour some club soda on an absorbant cloth to clean, then wipe dry using a clean cloth.
Mold and Mildew: Use white vinegar or lemon
juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.
Mothballs: The common mothball is made of paradichlorobenzene, which is harmful to liver and kidneys. Cedar chips in a cheesecloth square, or cedar oil in an absorbant cloth will repel moths. The cedar should be 'aromatic cedar', also referred to as juniper in some areas. Cedar chips are available at many craft supply stores, or make your own using a plane and a block of cedar from the lumberyard.
Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made with lavender, rosemary, vetiver and rose petals.
Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent - simply toss into clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.
Oil and Grease Spots: For small spills on the garage floor, add baking soda and scrub with wet brush.
Oven Cleaner: Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use 3/4cup baking soda, 1/4cup salt and 1/4cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots. Or use Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner, declared nontoxic by Consumers Union.
Paint Brush Cleaner: Non-toxic, citrus oil
based solvents are now available commercially under several brand
names. Citra-Solve is one brand. This works well for cleaning
brushes of oil-based paints. Paint brushes and rollers used for an
on-going project can be saved overnight, or even up to a week,
without cleaning at all. Simply wrap the brush or roller snugly in a
plastic bag, such as a used bread or produce bag. Squeeze out air
pockets and store away from light. The paint won't dry because air
can't get to it. Simply unwrap the brush or roller the next day and
continue with the job.
Scouring Powder: For top of stove, refrigerator and other such surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge.
Shoe Polish: Olive oil with a few drops of
lemon juice can be applied to shoes with a thick cotton or terry
rag. Leave for a few minutes; wipe and buff with a clean, dry rag.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup baking
soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few
minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts)
and lemon juice (one part) will also work.
Wallpaper Remover: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water, apply with sponge over the old wallpaper to soften the adhesive. Open room windows or use a fan to dissipate the pungent vinegar smell.
Water Rings on Wood: Water rings on a
wooden table or counter are the result of moisture that is trapped
under the topcoat, but not the finish. Try applying toothpaste or
mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub into the ring. Once the ring is
removed, buff the entire wood surface.
|Healthy Home Cleaning Habits|
Exchange Indoor Air
Many modern homes are so tight there's little new air coming in. Open the windows from time to time or run any installed exhaust fans. In cold weather, the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide - windows and doors, and let fresh air in quickly for about 5 minutes. The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as 'heat sinks', and by exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.
Remove clutter which collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines. Try to initiate a 'no-shoes-indoors' policy. If you're building or remodelling a home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust which portable vacuum cleaners recirculate.
Use Cellulose Sponges
Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic which are slow to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts with the chlorine found in tap water. Instead try cellulose sponges, available at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster since they're naturally more absorbent.
Keep Bedrooms Clean
Most time is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms, especially if they spend time outdoors.
Use Gentle Cleaning Products
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic. Use the formulas described above or purchase 'green' commercial alternatives. Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.
Clean from the Top Down:
When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last. Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.