Most of us believe the "smell of clean" actually means a clean house. But is this causing us and our families harm?
(2 Minute Read)
Clean : \`klen\ a: Free from dirt or pollution b: free from contamination or disease c: unadulterated, pure.
Many of us have memories of coming home to a clean house and taking in that first deep breath of what we believed was clean. The smell of commercial cleaners can be almost nostalgic, and for some it has become habit and what we use in our houses today. Many of these products do away with dirt and bacteria, but not without leaving a toxic residue that can affect us and the environment in negative ways. So, what is clean?
I interviewed the team behind Orluck Organic, a local cleaning company that cleans without the use of chemicals, and asked them what clean means to them.
LW: Can we rid our homes of the residue of chemical cleaners if we’ve been using them for years? Are they as effective?
OO: When we first enter a home where commercial products have been used, we find a film of chemical residue left on surfaces but once we clean using our non-toxic products, and a little elbow grease, the houses are truly clean, they smell fresh and surfaces sparkle. There is a real difference you can see and feel. Natural cleaning solutions can work more efficiently and are effective in killing bacteria without leaving a harmful residue behind.
LW: Why are the typical cleaners so toxic?
OO: Many commonly used cleaners have chemicals that are associated with allergies, hormone disruption, psychological disorders, cancer and birth defects. Some of the more corrosive cleaners can cause burns to our skin, or create fumes that are irritating to our eyes, throat and lungs. Products sprayed in the air and on surfaces can linger in our homes. They can be breathed in, absorbed though our skin or even come into contact with the food we eat.
LW: Can you tell us what some of the worst offenders are and what we should eliminate first?
OO: Some of the most toxic cleaning products in our homes are, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, toilet cleaners and dishwasher detergent. Companies are not required to disclose the ingredients they use and while a few chemicals are banned, most are not. Words like warning, irritant, flammable or corrosive are a good indicator the product is harmful. And here’s the thing, if a company isn’t willing to share with you exactly what is in their product, can you really trust they have your health and best interest in mind? We think not.
LW: How can we make an easy switch over to non-toxic, and effective, cleaners in our homes?
OO: Making the switch to non-toxic products can be done simply and affordably. Look for companies who disclose all ingredients and those who are working to effect change in the industry. Your local co-ops and natural health stores are great places to look for these, there are even some located in your local big box stores. You can also make many of your own products. It’s fun, cost effective, rewarding and it smell’s amazing!
LW: Do you have a list of natural ingredients we should use?
OO: Some of the simplest ingredients that will disinfect, deodorize and whiten are; castile soap, baking soda, salt, vinegar and lemons. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a powerhouse disinfectant and enjoy the aroma and benefits while and after you clean.
Soft Scrub alternative great for soap scum and mildew:
- 1 1/2 cups baking soda
- ½ cup castile soap
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
- juice of one lemon
Mix together in a glass or plastic spray bottle and stir till dissolved. Spray on scum and mildew; scrub with scrubby sponge. Rinse. Store in a spray bottle. Shake before using.
LW: Thanks for your expertise!
OO: Our pleasure! We want to be true to the definition of clean. Most of us are ridding our homes of dirt but not pollutants when we use certain products. By incorporating the simplest ingredients, we are working towards a better environment for our families, our communities and the planet.
Breathe Deep & Live Well,
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Living a toxin-free and green lifestyle is a major component to Living Well Through Chaos. We are highly vulnerable to chemicals in our beauty, hair and personal care products, and indoor/outdoor environments. This can have a decidedly negative affect on our bodies including cancers, respiratory, hormonal, and skin conditions. The good news is that we have more control over the unwanted affects than we think. While we can’t escape every toxin out there we can certainly support our bodies and our health by choosing chemical-free whenever possible. This is an aspect of Living Well! When we Live Well, chaos has less of an opportunity to affect us, and subsequently, those around us.