It’s that time of year, and we’re all spring cleaning our houses to start a new season fresh. You can make your cleaning easy, as well as safe and nontoxic with cheap, time-tested cleaners like baking soda, vinegar and lemon.

Make your own cleaning productsWhy attack the biggest messes and toughest stains with harsh cleansing agents like bleach, ammonia and acids? Modern cleaning products you’re using can have a real impact on your health – from breathing problems, to eye irritation, rashes and potential poisoning.

There are a number of chemicals in your cleaning products that are used to kill bacteria and germs, but are also harmful to the people using them; however, some are more dangerous than others. Experts at reported, “The most acutely dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners.”

From ammonia to ethylene-based glycol, take a look at some of the most harmful toxic ingredients that you may be breathing in or touching every time you clean.

  • Sodium hypochlorite: Commonly found in bleach and standard cleaning products, this chemical can cause coughing (from fumes), irritated eyes and skin, or vomiting if accidentally ingested.
  • Ethylene-based glycol: Otherwise known as glycol ethers, these are classified as toxic air contaminants and are commonly found in your cleaning products and air fresheners. This can cause skin and eye irritation as well as liver or kidney damage.
  • Ammonia: While ammonia is commonly used in modern industrial farming, it’s also found in many cleaning products. It becomes more dangerous when mixed with bleach – the fumes from the combination can lead to severe and chronic lung problems.

Other toxic ingredients include formaldehyde and nonylphenol ethoxylates. The group of sulfates (sodium lauryl and sodium laureth sulfates) are found in shampoo, soap, toothpaste and other foaming personal care products, but can strip your hair and skin of valuable moisture, causing the very protective layer of skin and hair.

Natural Cleaning Products: The Basics

Now that you know the dangers or modern cleaning products, it’s time to take a look at natural cleaners. While not all natural cleaning products are created equal – some still sneak in some of the bad stuff – they are a step in the right direction. You can buy good all-natural cleaning products in just about any supermarket these days—but it pays to check the ingredients list first, as there are no regulations as to just what “natural” means on a cleaning product. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Natural claims: Most products that claim, “non-toxic,” “natural,” and “environmentally free” often aren’t. However, if this is true – the company will have released evidence to back up their statements, as required by FTC green marketing guide. Seek out their website/information online before purchasing.
  • Natural ingredients: Not every “green cleaner” is giving you a greener option. When choosing your products, be sure to look at their listed ingredients. Some of the approved ingredients include: boric acid, citric acid, grapefruit oil, vinegar, clove oil, aloe vera, sodium carbonate, acacia gum, among others.

Making Your Own Cleaning Products

Natural Cleaning Recipes

If you just aren’t quite sure about even the most natural cleaning products, perhaps it’s worth making your own.  Many household items are natural cleaners that won’t give off the same toxins and chemicals.

Baking sodaAs an alkaline based substance, it works best when paired with something else acidic (such as white vinegar). However, when mixed properly with water, it will become thick and abrasive, making it perfect for scrubbing pots and pans – and even floors!

White vinegar: The acidity in white vinegar helps dissolve mildew and mold, and inhibit its further growth. Try vinegar as a fabric softener. Add a cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle in your washing machine. The vinegar will soften laundry and clear up any smell that might remain in the clothes.  Don’t worry, the smell of vinegar dissipates quickly so your clothes won’t smell like vinegar after they dry.

Lemon: This acidic fruit is the all-natural disinfector. You can use this as a safe alternative to bleach. It is a safe, non-toxic product that the whole family can use. Rub lemon juice on your hands after you have cut or handled fish, celery, garlic, onions or other smelly foods. The lemon juice acts as a natural deodorizer

Here are some basic natural cleaning products recipes to make on your own that use the safe and effective ingredients:

  • All purpose cleaner: Combine club soda with 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water. This can be used for general household cleaning.
  • Bathroom tiles: Mix baking soda and water. Place baking soda on the tiles, and scrub down with a wet sponge.  You can improve your cleaning by using lemon juice or vinegar, as well.
  • Carpet stains: Combine equal parts water and vinegar and spray on stain. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and follow by scrubbing with a soapy sponge.
  • Air freshener: Combine equal parts hot water and baking soda – then add an essential oil, like lavender, for a fresh scent.
  • Glass cleaner: Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use as you would any other glass cleaner.

We have grown all too comfortable with the use of modern day cleaners that cause rashes, eye irritation and chronic lung problems. It is all too tempting to  enlist products with ingredients like bleach and ammonia. Make this year’s spring cleaning natural for a safe and healthy household all year long. Make your own natural cleaning products simply  by combining a few items from your kitchen like baking soda, lemon and vinegar.  You can clean and disinfect with economical, non-toxic ingredients that work alone or in combination to effectively give dirt the boot from every room.

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Homemade Cleaning Recipes?

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