Across the country, homeowners are taking steps to lead healthier, happier, more environmentally-conscious lifestyles. In the home, cleaning products are an area that deserves more scrutiny. Traditional house cleaning products may not only harm the home’s residents, but they may also contribute to environmental damage. Let’s take a look at the “green cleaning” revolution and see what new green cleaning tips modern homeowners suggest.
Dangers of Traditional Cleaning Products
Believe it or not, many traditional cleaning products may contain harmful toxins. Even such things like fragrances and colors may harm humans if exposed for long periods of time. Phthalates, in particular, are found in cleaning products as a way to provide a fresh fragrance. Exposure to phthalates can aggravate those suffering from asthma or respiratory allergies.
Cleaning products for the kitchen can be harmful. Take, for example, oven cleaner – many traditional oven cleaners give off harmful vapors that can cause respiratory distress. A common ingredient is sodium hydroxide, a corrosive substance, in strong concentrations. Contact with the cleaner can even cause chemical burns to the eyes and skin of those people with sensitive skin or regular exposure to the toxins. The ammonia in glass and countertop cleaning products may also aggravate asthmatics, while bleach used in kitchen and bathroom cleaners can burn eyes, skin, and the mucous membranes if splashed on the person using them.
Luckily, many cleaning product manufacturers have recognized that traditional products may do more harm than good. So-called “green” cleaning products can be found on store shelves around the country. Even better, many green cleaning products can be made in the home from natural ingredients.
Glass cleaners are now available that use vinegar instead of harsh ammonia. Natural fragrances derived from essential oils, such as flower or mint scents, can be added to natural cleaners to give the home a fresh aroma. Lemon juice is another effective natural cleaning product that smells great as it scrubs surfaces clean. Baking soda is used as a natural way to scour grimy surfaces without damage or irritation to sensitive skin.
Do Green Cleaning Products Work?
Many homeowners wonder if natural cleaning products work as well as their traditional counterparts. The answer is that in most cases, natural products work as good as or even better than the old cleaners. Still, for really tough jobs, there may be a need for traditional cleaners with the firepower to conquer grease, tar, and ground-in dirt. By reducing or eliminating harsh chemicals wherever possible in the home, homeowners can enjoy clean surfaces and interior air that is safe to breathe. And, using natural products means that they are biodegradable, preventing them from harming our sensitive waterways and land areas.