Ways to Clean Your House Naturally
Toxins are all around us – in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the chemicals we use. Even some “natural” products can be dangerous to your health, and that of your family. As bad as some of these chemicals and toxins are in general, they can be more dangerous when certain medical conditions are involved. Learning how to protect your family and clean your house naturally at the same time is essential in a world where toxin-overload can cause serious health issues.
In this article, we will cover xenoestrogens, household products that look like candy, and how to clean your house naturally with homemade cleaners.
Xenoestrogens – What Are They and Why Should You Worry?
One of the problems we see a lot of today is the abundance of xenoestrogens.
What are xenoestrogens?
Xenoestrogens are chemicals that act like estrogens and disrupt that natural hormone balance and function in the body. They can increase the risk of breast, prostate, and testicular cancer, disrupt thyroid function, and infertility. Xenoestrogens are also linked to migraines and may cause behavioral changes.
Where do you find xenoestrogens?
Household goods such as plastics, furniture, electronics, insecticides, and detergents can contain xenoestrogens, as can some of the food you eat.
How do you avoid xenoestrogens?
- When it comes to food, choose organic whenever possible. Avoid foods that have been grown with the use of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Stick with hormone-free dairy and meat products.
- In the kitchen, avoid using plastic containers or plastic wrap. Opt for ceramic or glass containers for food storage. Never leave plastic containers in the sun, or the car as the chemicals in them can leech into your drinks or food. Do not refill and reuse plastic bottles or freeze beverages in them to drink later.
- In the home, choose chemical-free cleaning products and biodegradable laundry detergent. Select paper products that are unbleached and chlorine-free. For females, this also includes sanitary products. Place chlorine filters on your shower and drinking water faucets.
- Health and beauty products often contain abundant xenoestrogens. Avoid parabens, phthalates, triclosan, BHA, BPA/BPS, DDT, PCBs, and petroleum-based products, to name a few of the toxins. Toothpaste, fragrances, nail polish and polish remover, lotions, makeup, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreen, and other products should be checked for toxic chemicals.
A link to a comprehensive listing of xenoestrogens and how to minimize exposure is at the end of this article.
Household Products That Look Like Candy
Almost everyone has heard about the dangers of children mistaking Tide pods for candy. They are colorful, squishy packets that can easily be mistaken for gummy candies. These are not the only products you need to worry about in your home.
The next time you go to the grocery store, walk up and down the cleaning aisle and look at how many items have pictures of fruits on the label or package. There are lemon, orange, and tropical fruit-scented cleaners of every variety. To children, these items are easily mistaken for fruit juice.
It should also be pointed out that the avoidance of real candy in the shape of cigarettes or cigars is crucial. Children can mistake an E-cigarette for a candy one, causing the ingestion of liquid nicotine. Vomiting, increased heart rate, sweating, and muscle twitching are possible side effects, as is a burning sensation of the liquid touches the skin.
Another serious risk is marijuana edibles – legal in some states. Children who mistake marijuana-infused edibles for regular candy could wind up in the hospital. A wise rule of thumb is to keep all potentially dangerous items and chemicals out of reach and locked away where children cannot get to them.
Natural Methods to Clear Your House Safely
Not only is it much safer to use natural cleaning supplies, but it is also a great way to save money in the process, so it is a win-win solution to the chemical overload problem.
You will find that some commonly used products for household cleaners are baking soda and white or apple cider vinegar. Borax, liquid castile soap, and hydrogen peroxide are also frequently used. While you can opt to add essential oils to some of the cleaners, caution needs to be a rule of thumb.
Essential oils are natural products that some children can mistake for fruit juices, even in their tiny vials. They have photos of fruits on the labels and smell like the real thing. Only a small amount is all that is needed to cause pneumonia if an essential oil enters the lungs. Always read instructions for how to use each type of essential oil. Most need to be diluted in a carrier oil before use.
You will likely need mixing bowls, spray bottles, and some microfiber cloths to prepare and use your natural cleaning products.
Natural bathroom or kitchen scrub:
- Baking soda by itself or mixed with a few drops of tea tree or lavender oil for anti-bacterial benefits
- Sprinkle baking soda in tub or toilet and pour in some vinegar and clean as usual
- Vinegar is an excellent cleaner for glass – mix in a spray bottle with water either 50/50, or increase the water to vinegar ratio if the smell is too strong for you
- Clean glass with vinegar and water using a microfiber cloth – not newspapers which contain toxic dyes
- To get rid of unwanted smells, avoid air fragrance sprays and products and use a diffuser with a few drops of essential oil
- To whiten laundry – use a little lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach.
- In place of commercial detergent – mix 1 cup borax, 1 cup natural soap flakes, and 1 cup pure washing soda, and ½ cup baking soda in a large container with a lid (use a dust mask and wear gloves when mixing and be careful not to get the dust into the air). Only 1 to 2 tablespoons are needed per laundry load. Mix with a little hot water for better dissolving before adding to wash. *You can find other recipes for homemade laundry detergents online.
- Instead of fabric softener – both baking soda and vinegar can help soften fabrics. Vinegar also helps prevent fading.
If you do not want to make your own products, there are some excellent natural cleaners that have passed the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) tests with scores of “A.” Some of the most readily available brands are listed below:
- Attitude Kitchen Cleaner, Citrus Zest
- Fit Organic Cleaner and Degreaser
- Green Shield Organic All-Purpose Cleaner Degreaser Fresh Scent
- Whole Foods Market Green Mission Organic All-Purpose Spray Cleaner & Degreaser, Lemon Zest
- Whole Foods Market Surface Cleaning Wipes, Minty Fresh
- 365 Everyday Value Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Unscented
- Attitude Dishwashing Liquid, Pink Grapefruit
- Attitude Little Ones Baby Bottle & Dishwashing Liquid (Fragrance Free, Pear Nectar, Sweet Lullaby)
- Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural Baby Bottle & Dishwashing (Foam or Liquid)
- Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural Dishwashing Liquid
- Ecover Zero Dish Soap, Fragrance Free
- Fit Organic Dish Liquid, Free and Clear
- Fit Organic Dishwasher Gel (Free and Clear or Fresh Citrus)
- Green Shield Organic Squeez Automatic Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Lemongrass
- Nice! Dishwasher Packs Single Dose Detergent
- Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs (Free & Clear or Lemon)
- Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Powder, Free & Clear
- Seventh Generation Rinse Aid, Free & Clear
- The Honest Co. Honest Auto Dishwasher Gel, Free & Clear
- The Honest Co. Honest Dish Soap, Lemon Verbena
- Whole Foods Market Organic Dishwasher Gel, Sweet Orange
- 365 Everyday Value 2X Concentrated Powder Laundry Detergent (Lavender or Unscented)
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster & Household Cleaner
- Attitude Laundry Detergent, Pink Grapefruit
- Attitude Little Ones Night Laundry Detergent, Soothing Chamomile
- Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural Baby Laundry Detergent
- Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural Laundry Detergent
- Eco-Me Laundry Soap, Emma
- Fit Organic Baby Laundry Detergent
- Fit Organic Laundry Detergent (Free and Clear or Fresh Citrus)
- Grab Green 3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Powder, Fragrance Free
- Grab Green Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods, Rain (Fragrance Free)
- Green Shield Organic Laundry Detergent (Free & Clear, HE Elite Care (Free & Clear or Lavender))
- Molly’s Suds Cloth Diaper Laundry Powder
- Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent Packs or Powder (Free & Clear)
- Seventh Generation Natural Powder Laundry Detergent (Real Citrus & Wilde Lavender or White Flower & Bergamot Citrus)
- Sun & Earth 2X Concentrated Laundry Detergent (Unscented or Fresh Lavender)
- The Honest Co. Honest 4 in 1 Laundry Pods, Free & Clear
- Whole Foods Market Baby Laundry Detergent, Unscented
Laundry Fabric Softener
- Attitude Fabric Softener, Pink Grapefruit
- Attitude Little Ones Night Fabric Softener, Soothing Chamomile
- Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural Baby Fabric Softener
- Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural Fabric Softener
- Green Shield Organic Fabric Softener, Lavender Mint
- Ecover Non-Chlorine Bleach (Liquid or Powder)
- Nature Clean Oxygen Bleach
- Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Bleach, Free & Clear
- Green Shield Organic Bathroom Cleaner, Fresh Scent
- 365 Everyday Value Daily Shower Cleaner
- Earth Friendly Products ECOS Shower Cleaner, Tea Tree
- Seventh Generation Tub & Tile Natural Cleaner, Emerald Cypress & Fir
Of course, you should always read the ingredients of each product before purchasing to ensure that there are no listed allergens or chemicals that you should avoid. You can find other options besides those mentioned here on the EWG.org website. Also, visit EWG.org/skindeep for listings of safe-to-use health and beauty products.
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This post originally appeared on our March/April 2019 Magazine