Toxin-Free Spring Cleaning

Green Up Your Cleaning Regimen

According to the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), levels of indoor air pollutants can be from two to more than 100 times higher than outdoors.  This indoor pollution is due in large part to volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.s) that evaporate, or offgas,” from home decorating and cleaning products.

Due to a lack of federal labeling standards, most consumers aren‚Äôt aware of the hidden dangers these products can pose to their health.  Under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, cleaners are the only household products for which manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients.  Most traditional cleaning products on the market, e.g., Tide, Lysol, and Mr. Clean to name a few–are made with hundreds of poisonous chemicals like phosphates, phthalates, formaldehyde, surfactants and pesticides.  They pollute our water and contribute to global warming.  They are also bio-accumulative, meaning they aren‚Äôt easily purged from the body.  Over time, even mild exposure can add up to dangerously toxic levels.

Consequently, many of the chemicals used in cleaning products, like artificial fragrances, have been linked to major health problems including liver failure and cancer.  Even scarier, cleaning products are responsible for 5-10 million household poisonings annually.  Most of these poisonings are fatal, involve children, and result from absorption of toxins through the skin, inhalation, or ingestion.  Children and pets are more susceptible to injury because they are smaller and have weaker, developing immune systems less capable of properly metabolizing and releasing these toxins.

There’s no point in cleaning your home with products that can harm you, your family or the environment.  Why take the risk?  Here are a few tips for making the switch to healthier, more eco-friendly products:

‚Ä¢    Become a more conscious consumer.  Read and understand product labels before bringing them into your home.  You can research all of the chemicals listed on labels via the Household Products Database.
‚Ä¢    Go Green.  Find and purchase healthier, greener alternatives.  One of my favoritesis MethodHome.  You can find their affordable, effective products for almost every room in the house at convenience stores like Target.
‚Ä¢    Make Your Own. Save money and use homemade cleaning solutions made from ingredients in your cupboard like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and lavender.
‚Ä¢    Use eco-cleaning tools.  While you‚Äôre at it, save paper, trees and space in our growing landfills and clean with eco-tools like Twist natural sponges (made from recyled, biodegradable materials), recycled paper towels from Seventh Generation, or opt for re-usable cloth wipes.  You can find these and other eco-products at any natural foods store, or online at
‚Ä¢    Clear the Air Naturally.  It takes hundreds of toxic chemicals just to make one artificial fragrance used in candles like Glade.  When the candle is burned, these chemicals are released into the air you breathe.  Instead, opt for clean burning soy-based candles with essential oils.  My favorite is Pacifica candles, which come in dozens of natural scents.

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