Don’t Pollute Your Air While Cleaning Your Floor

Cleaning Supplies
Photo by C. Anderson via Flickr

Oh, no!  Its time to clean the house again!  I am always surprised how quickly the bathrooms get dirty and dust accumulates on every surface in the house.  Like most people, I dislike the cleaning process, but do like having a clean house.

Most of us are constantly striving to keep our houses as clean as we can with the least effort possible.  The companies that make cleaning products know that and have produced cleaners for every possible cleaning situation in order to take advantage of that.  As a result, most of us have what seems like dozens of cleaning products stockpiled underneath our sinks and in our cabinets, laundry rooms and garages.  However, a lot of these conventional cleaners that we use to make our house shine, may also be damaging our health.

Household cleaners may be harmful
A lot of household cleaners contain toxic ingredients that are bad for our health. Here are some of the ingredients that are found in household cleaners and the effects that they can have on our bodies.

  1. Ammonia: Used mainly in glass cleaners, ammonia can irritate the eyes, lungs and skin. It can also cause headaches.
  2. Chlorine Bleach: Used for disinfecting, sterilizing and whitening.  If mixed with acid based cleaners like vinegar, ammonia or lemon juice, chlorine bleach can release toxic chlorine gas, which can cause respiratory problems.  If you think chlorine gas is not that big a deal, you’re wrong.  If chlorine gas mixes with water or your body’s cells, it becomes hydrochloric acid or hypochlorous acid, neither of which you want in your eyes or lungs.
  3. Formaldehyde: Used as a preservative in many household cleaners, formaldehyde can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs.
  4. Nitrobenzene: Used in furniture and floor polish, nitrobenzene is very toxic and can easily be absorbed through the skin, which may increase the heart rate and cause convulsions.  Inhalation of the fumes, may also produce headaches, nausea, fatigue, shallow breathing and dizziness.
  5. Hydrochloric Acid: Found in small amounts in toilet bowl cleaners, hydrochloric acid can burn the skin with contact or the throat and stomach if ingested.  It can also cause blindness if it splashes into your eyes.

These chemicals are not only a concern when you’re using them.  They also pollute your indoor air and contribute to poor air quality.  That can lead to or contribute to allergies and asthma as well as other health issues.

Cleaners that are safe to use
Luckily, maintaining a clean house does not have to put your health at risk.  Before all these companies created products to make our glass sparkle and our whites, whiter than white, our ancestors kept clean homes using common ingredients that weren’t harmful to their health.  Believe it or not, your house can be cleaned as effectively using simple ingredients, such as salt, baking soda, vinegar, borax and vegetable based liquid soup.  All you need to do is substitute these gentler, non-toxic alternatives for your current cleaners.  Here is what the The New Wellness Encyclopedia suggests.

  1. Cleaning kitchen and bathrooms (disinfectants): Add ¼ cup of borax and 1 teaspoon liquid soap to 1 quart water. You can store this solution in a spray bottle.
  2. Glass Cleaner: Add 5 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 quart warm water.  You can store this in a spray bottle for easy use.
  3. Wood floor and furniture polish: Mix 2 to 3 parts vegetable oil with 1 part lemon juice.  Place a small amount on a soft cloth and rub into the wood.
  4. Silver and stainless steel polish: Make a paste of baking soda and water. Rub the paste onto the silver or stainless steel, then rinse and polish with a soft, damp cloth.

These homemade cleaners can be very effective.  However, if you prefer to buy household cleaners rather than make them, make sure to check the ingredients and purchase cleaners that are non-toxic and fragrance free.  Remember, you don’t need conventional household cleaners to make your house clean.  All you need is a few simple ingredients.  The best way to go is the old-fashioned, natural way!

Comments (5)

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  1. Rosy says:

    Nice Post and great tips for cleaning!!!

  2. Agreed, people really need to be careful when working with toxic substances, always use them in well ventilated areas.

  3. sandie says:

    Here’s another great all purpose cleaner: it’s not a precise recipe though you just have to go by how it looks 😉
    STARTwith about 1 cup of baking soda.
    ADD about 1 TBSP of glycerine
    MIX it to a paste with a good environmentally friendly dishwash liquid.
    ADD a few drops of essential oils of peppermint or eucalyptus if you like.
    That’s it. I use this for kitchen sinks, bathroom, shower etc etc.

  4. Mark says:

    Very good tips! Thank you!

  5. Maria Isabel says:

    These are great ideas for cleaning the house specially for people like me that have lots of allergies to chemicals.

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