Natural From Floor to Ceiling, Part 1 | Deadly Chemicals Almost All of us Use

May 9, 2011

 

Today begins a series that I’m going to call Natural From Floor to Ceiling.  It seems to me that there is a lot of confusion and misinformation when it comes to household cleaners.  Today I’m going to give you a bunch of facts about these cleaners that will hopefully turn you off from traditional cleaners.  Then for the next few weeks I’ll be going through the house, providing you with natural cleaning alternatives.  The best part is that most of the things I use to clean my home I would have anyway for cooking or first aid.

First, before you scoff and decide that you’d rather just bleach your home to death, take a moment to think about what you’re exposing yourself and your family to.  OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association) requires employers to provide their employees who handle bleach with gloves and safety masks.  Yet we’re encouraged to clean our child’s toys by submerging them in a bowl of bleach. WHAT!?!?!  The more I learn about the harsh, horrible chemicals found in the normal, everyday, popular cleaning supplies that most of us have in our homes the more and more frustrated I get.

Some Things to Know

  • There is no federal administration to regulate the safety of household cleaners.  There’s no FDA for cleaning products!  This means that manufacturers can pretty much put whatever they want in their cleaners–whatever gets the job done.  And they do.
  • Manufacturers of cleaning supplies do not have to tell consumers (or anybody else, for that matter) what is in their cleaners–they’re protected by trademarks and copyrights.
  • The Sanitation Department will not take your full containers of cleaners because they have classified them as hazardous materials.
  • Bleach irritates eyes, skin and the respiratory tract just from inhalation.
  • When bleach is mixed with other cleaning agents, a poisonous gas is released that can cause bloody noses, neurological disorders, headaches and even death.
  • Household bleach, whether its mixed with other agents or not, can cause pulmonary edema, vomiting, or coma if ingested.
  • Chlorine, used in many household cleaners, was among the first chemicals used in chemical warfare during WWI.

There are many more things I could say about the dangers of bleach, chloride, lye, etc., but the point is simple: they are not safe.  We have been told to rinse baby toys in bleach, to wipe our floors, kitchen counters, and bathtubs with bleach, to wash our whites with bleach, and our coloreds with color-safe bleach (whatever THAT really is), however, it simply isn’t safe.  If scientists are required to practically put haz-mat suits on to handle these chemicals, why are we scrubbing our homes down with this stuff!?

If you are one of those ladies who just loves the smell of bleach, if that smell equals clean in your mind, re-train your thinking!  Remind yourself that that smell actually equals death and brain damage.  I know that is not what you intend to expose your family to–just like it’s not what I intended to expose my family to, but that’s just the truth of the matter!  I used to bleach my tile floors, my entire bathroom, and our white clothing.  When I discovered the truth about household cleaners it was devastating: 1) that I was going to have to figure something else out, and 2) that I had been hurting my family for so long!  Well, never fear: it’s not your fault that you didn’t know the dangers behind what you were using and now you have this series to help you find natural cleaners to replace the nasty chemicals! (and it’s going to be SO MUCH CHEAPER, TOO!)

Alright, alright, are you sold?  So what are the alternatives?  Well.  I’m happy to tell you that (after a year of researching, reading other blogs, trying things out, failing miserably, and trying new things out after I failed) I no longer use any harsh chemicals to clean my home (both inside and out).  In the next few weeks I will be breaking down exactly what I use to clean my home!  The following is a general list of the types of cleaners I use.  

  • general household cleaner
  • anti-bacterial cleaner
  • tile/hardwood floor cleaner
  • window cleaner
  • mirror cleaner
  • toilet/tub cleaner
  • laundry detergent
  • dish soap

Have I missed anything?  Is there something that you clean or that you use that isn’t on the list?  Let me know and I’ll try to find a natural alternative for you. 

Next time: How I keep my counters, sinks, and floors clean.

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