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Cleaning with natural products

Cleaning with natural productsMany people consider cleaning with natural products a healthy habit; good for themselves, their family, and pets.

However, not all “natural” products are void of toxic chemicals.

Some “green” cleaning products are not thoroughly tested and contain allergy causing petrochemicals.

For that matter surprisingly, cleaning product manufacturers are not required by law to disclose the ingredients in their products.

Cleaning with Natural Products

Fortunately, there are people and organization looking out for our best interest by providing us with information necessary for us to make sound decisions when purchasing and using home cleaning products.

Some products should be avoided altogether. The following is a list of recommended products to avoid:

  • Dry sheet ingredients and fabric softeners — they are capable of irritating our lungs and are known to trigger allergies and asthma. A healthy habit worth considering is using a little vinegar in the rinse cycle.
  • Antibacterial products – These products can incite the development of bugs that are drug-resistant.
  • Air fresheners – The fragrance mixture can prompt asthma and allergies attacks. Opening windows or using fans is a better alternative.

CBC exposes dangerous household cleaning products that could be lurking in your home, under your sinks, and in your cabinets.

A recent study shows that of all the American cleaning products available on the market, only seven percent disclose their ingredients.

Toxins in cleaning productsChemicals found in many brands contain formaldehyde, chloroform, 1,-4dioxane (a suspected carcinogen) and boric acid which can disrupt our hormone systems.

Some major brands that profess to be “green” and environmentally friendly do not adequately disclose the ingredients in their products.

Food, cosmetic, and drug manufacturers are required by law to disclose the ingredients in their products; however, cleaning products do not come under the same scrutiny.

Healthy Habits Solutions

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a comprehensive Guide to Healthy Cleaning offering practical solutions to protect you, your family, and pets from exposure to harmful chemicals. They tested over 2,000 products, 197 brands, and 1,000 ingredients.

Visit the EWG site to find out more about cleaning with natural products, healthy cleaning habits, and safe alternatives:  Environmental Working Group

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7 comments… add one
  • Bud

    Thanks for your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you
    can be a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back very soon. I want to encourage you to continue your great work, have a nice weekend!

  • The replacements I use to couple with George’s alternatives above:
    Dryer Sheets: a damp washcloth with 5-7 drops pure essential oil
    Antibacterial (hand sanitizer) 10 drops bergamot, 30 drops tea tree and 10 drops vitamin E oils (all pure) mixed with 1 Tbsp witch hazel or vodka and 1 cup pure aloe gel. blend together well and store in applicator bottle.
    Air freshener (I hate this stuff!!)- 3 tbsp pure peppermint oil, 1/4 cup vodka and 2 cups water. shake well in spray bottle before each use.

  • See that’s where we need to educate consumers. There is a difference between all natural and green. Just because a product is green does not make it all natural. Green is BETTER for health and environment. It makes me stop and think and read when I see “green” because as you say, yes there can be petrochemicals. Natural is from the earth, plant based, from something once alive (plants, trees). And you are right, people can be allergic to natural things. Some people can be allergic to other people for that matter. Then again poison ivy is all natural but we wouldn’t bottle it and use it as a cleaner. Its all about education (for the consumer and technician) and full transparent disclosure. It shouldn’t be a cleaner’s job to know what is going to make the other people allergic because there is no way of knowing but it is their responsibility to fully disclose what they are using and better cleaners will use products that are as hypo-allergenic as possible and natural. An MSDS is also a good tool to know your product and so is using a pH-neutral cleaner. Microfibers help too, the need for any cleaner at all with a microfiber is cut down to a fraction. As Dave Thompson (GCI) taught me -spraying the cleaner into the microfiber also helps as it reduces the airborne mist from the cleaner. All natural does not mean no allergies though. These are the kind of questions to be asked of your client- are there any known allergies? Does anyone have chemical sensitivities? Even though you would use a product that is the best anyway if you decide to use essential oils (yes, all natural) its important to ask first. For example, thyme oil is antiseptic and antibacterial, smells nice when mixed with Bergamot oil (antiseptic, antibiotic and disinfectant) and works wonders when mixed in a homemade cleaner. But if your customer is allergic to grass, they could have a reaction to the thyme. Then I would opt for Roman Chamomile which is antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiparasidic. Like I said its all about education and disclosure.
    We have a lot of information on toxic chemicals and natural products to use instead on our website

    In my one clients’ house, she has twin 4 year old boys with neurological deficiencies, we use the castille soap recipe for her cleanings mixed with chamomile. She loves it!

    Alternatives I use to couple with George’s ideas:
    Dryer sheet replacement- a damp washcloth with 5-10 drops essential oils (depending on the potency of the oil)
    Antibacterial (hand sanitizier)- mix 10 drops bergamot, 30 drops tea tree and 10 drops vitamin E (all pure) oils into 1 cup pure aloe gel and 1 TBSP alcohol (rubbing or vodka) or witch hazel. blend it together until smooth and put it in an applicator bottle
    Air freshener (don’t get me started, lol)- 3 tbsp peppermint pure essential oil, 1/4 cup vodka and 2 cups water. shake well in a spritzer bottle.

  • George,

    Great Article!

    The information that you provided along with the video is very helpful.

    I use dry sheets and I do have allergies. Sometimes I don’t know what triggers it. When the pollen count is low I don’t get a reaction.

    Lately, my allergies have been taking off. I think it’s from the dry sheets I use.

    Thanks so much for everything you do.

    Tina

    • Thank you, Tina.

      It may be worth a try in not using the dry sheet fabric softener to see if they are actually triggering your allergies.

      I hope it works for you, however, allergies can be caused by a number of things. Step-by-step you can eliminate allergy causing products in your home and workplace and see if it works.

      Good luck!

  • Greg Kinney

    Hi George,

    Thank you for sending me your informative articles on good health!
    By the way, I would highly encourage anybody reading this to check out the following link:

    http://www.onlyatgbgnow.com/healthy-habits

    Sincerely,

    Greg Kinney : )

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