We all use products to clean our homes. Because, well, we’re not grots and someone once told us that “cleanliness is next to godliness”. I’m with you there. Nothing nicer than coming home to a clean house with the windows shiny, the floor beaming and no pesky dust sitting on the bookshelf. Surely, a home like this must be clean. Right?
Well, it depends on your definition of clean really. Do you define clean as “looking pretty”? Or do you define clean as “without dirt OR toxic shit”. Because they are two very different things.
Most people clean their house with store bought detergents and products that clean things in “one easy wipe”…. Because they’re full of chemicals that are designed to eat away at stuff. Including your skin in some cases.
The Environmental Working Group released a Cleaners Database Hall of Shame to outline these issues. In it they found products that clearly warn: “may be fatal or cause permanent damage”, “will burn skin and eyes”, “avoid breathing”, and “harmful or fatal if swallowed” – to quote a few.
Now: i’m not the smartest cat around, but anything that is labelled clearly to say it can kill me/burn me/cause me permanent damage has no place in my home. No matter the cost.
And it’s not just your personal health that suffers – you end up washing all this stuff down the drain. And guess where it goes then? Back into our eco-system. Remember that water-cycle lesson? Those chemicals, regardless of how diluted, go back into our food, drink, bathwater etc…
I’m not gonna leave you hanging though. There are plenty of natural and safe alternatives that Dr Google can find for you. My all time favourite is bi-carb soda and white vinegar. Seriously, this combination cleans EVERYTHING. I use it by diluting some white vinegar in water in a spray bottle, then sprinkling bi-carb soda around, spraying it, leaving it for 10 mins while it does its bubbly thing and then scrubbing it. Cheap and effective. You can find more variations of this combination here and here and here and here.
You may think “but that doesn’t kill the bugs in my home”. Ah, wrong. Vinegar is a wonderful disinfectant. It will kill about 98% of germs which is probably on par with most commercial products. Plus it’s clean, safe, natural and not going to “cause permanent damage” if you get some on your skin or your kid licks the side of the bathtub.
When you first use home-made or natural stuff, you’ll find that you’ve got to scrub a fair bit. That’s not because it’s a shitty substitute for chemicals, it’s because chemicals leave a massive residue. A residue that you continue to breathe in, long after you use them… But don’t worry. All it takes is a bit of elbow grease to get rid of the residue and after that it’s just like any other product you’ll find in the stores.
So there’s my word on cleaners. Most of them aren’t clean at all, they’re harmful. For you. For your family. For the environment.
Tiny Change for the Day: Go through your chemicals. If it has a warning on it – “keep away from children”, “if swallowed call poisons helpline”, “do not inhale” etc… throw it out. This is you and your family’s health you’re talking about.