Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CLEANING 101: The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Family , Just Got Easier!


So you want to live a healthier, less toxic life... but where to start?

If you can only make ONE change, I always recommend getting rid of your household cleaning products.  Just throw them out (OK, if you want to be more eco conscious maybe finish using them and never buy them again!). and switch to natural do-it-yourself ones (here are some Recipes For Green Laundry) or start buying nontoxic cleaners.  

Hands down. The best thing you can do for your family and your own health. 

Why? Because the air inside our house is more toxic than the air we are breathing outside... and the main culprits are the mainstream “pine fresh”  or “lemon fresh” cleaners  most people are using to clean their homes.   Ironic how what you think is cleaning your home could be making it toxic.

HOW? It seems easy enough.   You can find 'green' and 'natural' and 'non-toxic' cleaners just about everywhere now a days.  But, the sad reality is that, even the most well know ‘safe’ brands aren’t always as non- toxic as they claim. 

Personally, I clean almost all of my house with a 50% white vinegar 50% water mixture.    Vinegar is cheap, the classic  (and safe - we use it on our salads!) disinfectant.  However, I do admit, there are certain areas of the house (ie:  bathroom) where I feel I need something stronger, and so I turn to “official”  cleaning products.

I do my research before, OF COURSE.  I read labels and sometimes I rely  on trusted companies ....  but I don't have access to a lab and the truth is that the companies that make these cleaning products don’t have to list all of their ingredients on their labels.  Even if you want to choose a safe non-toxic cleaner, sometimes you have no way of knowing what you are really bringing home.

That is... UNTIL NOW!

FINALLY there is help.   The Environmental Working Group recently launched their 2012 Guide to Healthy Cleaning.  In it,  over 2,000 cleaning products have been tested and given a grade from A - F. 

The database is super easy to use.  You can search under category (floor cleaners, hand soaps, window cleaners etc) or input a specific brand or product you might have at home or have seen in a store.

EWG did find good, effective and non-toxic products in almost all categories, except 4 which is why they recommend avoiding:
  •  Air fresheners (Open windows or use fans!)
  • Antibacterial products (including gels and hand soap. Avoid products that contain triclosan)
  • Fabric softener and dryer sheet (Try a little vinegar in the rinse cycle)
  • Caustic drain cleaners and oven cleaners (try making a paste of baking soda and water)
Among the most interesting findings
  1.  Disinfectant products: none received higher than a ‘D’(including products from Lysol, Pine- sol and Clorox). 
  2. Dusting products:  none received higher than a ‘C’ (includes Pledge multi surface dusters, dry scented cloths, Pledge dust and allergen dry cloths,  and Swifter Dusters).
  3. Martha Stewart Clean products tested all got A scores.  I have not tried them but will be looking for them next!
  4. The Honest Company (recently launched by Jessica Alba) got mixed reviews... their products scored everything from A's to F’s.
  5.  Seventh Generation also received mixed reviews.   The products I use mostly scored A's ( including their Emerald Cypress and Fir toilet bowl cleaner ad natural tub cleaner,  automatic dishwasher powder in free and clear ) but their lemon automatic dishwashing gel scored an F as did their Natural 2X concentrated laundry detergent!

  • Green Shield Organic Bathroom Cleaner, Fresh
  • Green Shield Organic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Seventh Generation Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner 
  • The Honest Co Honest auto dishwasher gel, free & clear
  • Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Pacs, Free and Clear
  • Whole Foods Market liquid dish soap, unscented

  • Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value 2x concentrated Laundry Detergent, Lavender
  • Dr Bronner’s 18 in 1 Hemp Pure Castile Soap
  • Green Shield Organic Laundry Detergent, HE Elite Care, Free and Clear

  •  Bon Ami Powder Cleanser
  • Whole Foods Market Green Mission Surface cleaning wipes, minty fresh
  • Whole Foods Market Green Mission Organic All Purpose Spray Cleaner and Degreaser, lemon zest
  • Green Shield Organic All-Purpose Cleaner Degreaser, Fresh 
  • Green Shield Organic Glass Cleaner, Fresh 
  • Whole Foods Market glass cleaner, unscented 
  • Whole Foods Market all purpose concentrated cleaner, pine
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster & Household Cleaner 
  • Heinz Vinegar Distilled White Vinegar ( my choice mix 50% water and 50% vinegar!)

  • Seventh Generation Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Emerald Cypress & Fir
  • Green Shield Organic Bathroom Cleaner, Fresh 
  • Green Shield Organic Toilet Bowl Cleaner 
  • CLR Calcium, Lime, Rust Cleaner 
  • Seventh Generation Natural Tub & Tile Cleaner, Emerald Cypress & Fir

  •  Simple Green Naturals Carpet Care
  • Simple Green Naturals Floor Care 
  • Martha Stewart Clean Carpet Stain Remover 
  • Martha Stewart Clean Wood Floor Cleaner 
  • Aussan Natural floor cleaner concentrate


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I’m sharing this! People can use these options to explore the cleaning products they need with far more intelligence.
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  3. If you can only make ONE change, I always recommend getting rid of your household cleaning products. Just throw them out (OK, if you want to be more eco conscious maybe finish using them and never buy them again!). and switch to natural do-it-yourself ones (here are some Recipes For Green Laundry) or start buying nontoxic cleaners. best pressure washer

  4. Just throw them out (OK, if you want to be more eco conscious maybe finish using them and never buy them again!). and switch to natural do-it-yourself ones (here are some Recipes For Green Laundry) or start buying nontoxic cleaners. my homepage

  5. Prior to beginning the washing process there are a few steps that will make cleaning more effective. Clean the driveway, removing loose dirt, toys and debris that in on or near your driveway. When your driveway has been swept, use a commercial stain remover made for asphalt, cement, or concrete on heavy spots. The remover should be left on the spot overnight to completely remove the stain.
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  6. I think I need to go and do this.
    Thanks for sharing. It seems so easy and I had not considered that baking soda would be useful for odor elimination. With 6 boys in the house, this will be a useful tip to know.


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