Guide to Healthy Home Cleaning

by Kate on December 15, 2011

in Health, Healthy Living, Simple Home, Simple Living

A clean home will keep you in good health, but you don’t want to sabotage yourself by using products with chemicals that make you sick. The best way to know what’s safe to use: Read the label!  Unhealthy cleaning product labels are full of hints and clues that their contents are less than safe.  Here’s how to read the label for those clues:

1. Avoid Products Whose Labels TELL You They’re Dangerous:

  • Words like “Danger”,”Caution”,”Warning”, “Irritants”, and “Chronic Health Hazards” can all be found independently on various household cleaners. These words generally indicate extremely strong products that should be used sparingly, if at all. I won’t say don’t use a specific product because let’s be real, we’ve all got certain ones we love that work on those tough stains when nothing else will. But for everyday cleaning, avoid products with these warnings.

2. Don’t Be Tricked by Clever Marketers:

  • Marketers know consumers have become more aware of the environmental and health impacts of the products they use, so they will use words like “Natural”, “Non-Toxic”, and “Environmentally Friendly” to persuade customers to buy their products. But the truth is, these words have not been officially defined by any governmental standards. These companies can print these words without any kind of outside certification. The only words that really mean anything are “Organic.” But even that has a few caveats. For a product label to contain the word “organic,” it must pass certification by the government. “100% organic” means the product is made of entirely organic ingredients. “Organic” means the product contains at least 95% organic ingredients. ” Products with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients can display “made with organic ingredients.” So you see, “organic” doesn’t always mean totally organic.

3. Avoid the Following Harmful Ingredients:

  • Ammonia
  • Antibacterials
  • Butyl cellosolve (aka butyl glycol, ethylene glycol, monobutyl)
  • Chlorine Bleach
  • Disinfectants
  • Fragrances
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Naptha
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs)
  • Petroleum
  • Phosphates
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Sulfuric Acid

4. Use Trusted Brands:

  • Seventh Generation is probably the leading organic cleaning product brand, and for good reason. I generally trust their products and have had good experiences with their effectiveness, but I’m going to end with a caveat: Sometimes when these companies change ownership, standards and formulas change. Always check the label.

5. When in doubt, use Vinegar and Baking Soda:

  • 1/2 cup of White Vinegar mixed with 1 cup of water makes for a great all-purpose cleaner. And baking soda is a great de-oderizer. And if you need to unclog a drain, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by a 1/2 cup of vinegar and voila! These affordable everyday products are highly effective, completely safe, and environmentally friendly!

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*In the spirit of full disclosure, links to products in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase any of the products I recommend. Know that I only recommend products that I have used and love myself.

*I am not a doctor, a nurse, or any kind of health practitioner. I’m just a gal with a pretty keen intuitive sense, great research abilities, and curiosity that is easily peaked. Please understand that my advice is really just another opinion and it’s for you (and your doctor) to decide the best course for your health and well-being.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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