Growing up, I remember those Saturday mornings when the entire house smelled like nothing but chemicals from my mother cleaning the house, especially when she washed the floors and cleaned the oven. At that time, I never really thought to myself, “I wonder if these things are actually bad to inhale” but these days, I know better and try to refrain from using the same harsh cleaners my mother used.
While we would all assume that the household cleaners that are on the store shelves are monitored and regulated, recent studies have shown this is not entirely the case. Many contain harsh ingredients that are banned in other countries due to their link to cancer, blindness, and may other health conditions, however, in the U.S. they are still allowed.
Here is a list of the 5 Worst Household Cleaners:
Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner contains methoxydiglycol, a toxic chemical which is “suspected of damaging the unborn child” by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The EWG found that the DEGME levels in this product are up to 15 times higher than allowed in the European Union.
Tarn-X Tarnish Remover contains up to seven percent thiourea, which is categorized as a carcinogen by the state of California.
Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner claims to be “non-toxic” but contains 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent absorbed through the skin that irritates eyes and may damage red blood cells.
Target’s Up & Up and Walmart’s Great Value brands are what the EWG calls “mystery mixes,” products whose labels offer little or no ingredient information.
Here are a few products that also made the EWG’s Hall of Shame List:
- Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner
- Scrubbing Bubbles Anti-Bacterial Bathroom Cleaner and Extend-a-Clean Mega Shower Foamer
- DampRid Mildew Stain Remover Plus Blocker
- Easy-Off Fume Free Over Cleaner
- Drano Extra Strength Kitchen Crystals Clog Remover
- Glade Air Freshener
- Air Wick Air Freshener
- Spot Shots Stain Remover
- Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner
If you are looking for a more natural way to clean, here are a few simple cleaners that are easy to make, not to mention inexpensive. I love making my own cleaning products and just rinsed out containers that I had for products I bought in the store.
Natural all-purpose scrub
Pour « cup of baking soda into a bowl and mix with liquid soap to create a creamy paste. Cut a lemon in half and spread the paste on the flat side of the half lemon. When you scrub with the lemon, it acts as a sponge and leaves its natural scent. After scrubbing, wipe away any residue with a damp rag or sponge. The paste will stay moist for a few hours.
Mix « teaspoon Castile soap or plant-based liquid soap and 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle and shake. Spray onto windows and wipe clean with newspaper or a 100% cotton cloth. This soap solution helps remove any streak-causing wax left on the window from commercial cleaners used in the past. You can eliminate soap from the recipe after a few washings.
Tub and tile cleaner
Vinegar works well on soap scum and mineral deposits. So does tea tree oil – 2 drops tea tree oil with 1 cup water – in a spray bottle. Tea tree oil costs more than vinegar, but it kills most types of mold and helps prevent growth.