Green Alternatives to Common Cleaning Products
As society becomes more environmentally conscious, many of us are looking for ways to integrate the green approach into our daily routines. After all, a change to our daily routine can have a significant impact. Unfortunately, most store brand cleaners and disinfectants contain dangerously high levels of chemicals that pose health risks for people and pets. In addition, when these chemicals are washed down the drain, they make their way into our waterways and soil. With that in mind, we’re going to provide alternatives for ten common cleaning products that most of us use regularly.
Many of us use store-brought air fresheners, and we think that just because they’re not aerosol, they’re safe to use. But this isn’t the case. Cans, candles, plug-ins, potpourri and so forth all give off contaminants that while smelling nice pollute our air. This can be a big problem for those who suffer from asthma and allergies. Instead of using air fresheners, correct the source of the problem: clean regularly, ensure proper ventilation, use properly watered houseplants and use an air purifier with a HEPA filter, which we’ll talk more about in a moment.
Automatic Dishwashing Agents
Most people wouldn’t use bleach to clean their dishes, but that’s exactly what you’re doing when you use most dishwashing agents. You’re also adding chemical fragrances, phosphates and petroleum derivatives. Instead, choose your dishwashing agent carefully: Opt for one that is phosphate-free, petroleum-free and enzyme-based.
Nearly half of all calls to poison control centers in the US are the result of misuse of chlorine bleach in all its various forms. Bleach is no joke. It is extremely harmful to both people and the environment. That’s not to say bleach doesn’t serve its purposes. It does, but as a society, we tend to overuse it. Instead of using chlorine bleach for laundry, use liquid or powdered oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach also works well in place of chlorine bleach to clean surfaces and the like. When you must use chlorine bleach, dilute as much as possible, avoid mixing it and ensure adequate ventilation.
The purpose of a disinfectant is to kill germs, which are single-celled organisms. If a substance kills germs, it also kills your cells. Losing a few cells is no big deal, but if there is regular exposure, that cell damage can accumulate to significant levels. Use disinfectants only as much as necessary, and avoid the use of antibacterial products that actually compromise your immune system over the long term.
Liquid drain cleaners can be an inexpensive solution to a slow or clogged drain. Unfortunately, these substances are incredibly caustic to our skin, fatal if swallowed and even can damage our nose, throat and mouth through inhalation. It's not really worth the exposure when most clogs break up after pouring boiling water down the drain.
The biggest issue with floor chemicals is that they leave residue behind on the floor, and these are residues that we pick up on our shoes and bare feet. In fact, numerous studies demonstrate that we absorb more than half of the substances that come into contact with our skin. This is particularly concerning if children play on and walk barefoot on these floors often. Instead, clean floors with non-toxic citrus-based degreasers and cleaners.
Most glass cleaners contain toxic ammonia, and while it doesn’t necessarily leave behind a harmful residue, this ammonia does enter the air we breathe. A 50-50 water and white vinegar solution works just as well as most commercial cleaners. If you prefer a professional glass cleaner, choose one with plant-based surfactants. That kind of cleaner also serves double duty as a surface cleaner.
The problem with most laundry detergents is that chemical fragrances are protected as intellectual property and thus not tested by the FDA or anyone else. In other words, you don’t know precisely what you’re putting on your clothes, and that’s a scary proposition when you consider some of the industrial chemicals that are part of the process. Instead of taking that risk, opt for an all-natural biodegradable phosphate-free detergent.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Toilet bowl cleaners are unavoidable, and there is no solid alternative. Unfortunately, they are petroleum-based and contain bleach, phosphates and other caustics. So when you use them, ensure proper ventilation, and use a mask. Avoid positioning your face directly over the area. If the bathroom area is small, use a fan in order to maximize ventilation.
Tub and Tile Cleaners
Most tub and tile cleaners are as toxic as toilet bowl cleaners are. The good news here is that there are green-friendly alternatives. Natural and effective cleaners include lemon juice and white vinegar. For a store-bought option, consider oxygen bleach or an enzyme-based tub and tile cleaner.
A HEPA air purifier is a device that cleans your indoor air by forcing it through a medical-grade HEPA filter as well as an activated carbon component. The HEPA filter removes nearly all particulates from the air, and the activated carbon removes nearly all gases, chemicals and odors. Together with regular cleaning and natural fresheners, such as optimally watered houseplants, you have a clean air environment that doesn’t need store-bought fresheners.
Clean Air Plus is a veteran and family owned small business. We represent the leading manufacturers in HEPA filtration including Austin Air Standard Units, Austin Air Junior Units, IQAir, Amaircare, Oransi and Airpura. Shop online or call one of our friendly experts at 888.247.1147. We'll be happy to help you choose from our large selection of quality air purifiers.
- Administration Staff