We all have them. The shelf full of bottles, each containing a different cleaner, polish, disinfectant, or soap; a chemical filled wonderland for the war on household dirt. But how many of us also have to keep child safety locks on the cabinet doors or keep these cleaners on high shelves because we know that if children or animals were to find these chemicals it could be a deadly situation? If you want to reduce your risk and get some of these dangerous chemicals out of your house here are five things you can toss out right now, and effective yet safe replacements for each.
Bleach – This harsh chemical can be deadly if ingested and has been linked to respiratory problems from exposure to the fumes. It can also mix with ammonia and cause a deadly gas. Most people use bleach to disinfect, whiten, and clean stubborn stains; and with its relatively low cost it is a common cleaner in most households.
There are several ways you can clean without using bleach. Lemon juice is very effective at cleaning almost anything. Mixing lemon juice with vinegar is a powerful cleaner that can work on everything. You can also use lemon juice to whiten clothing and remove stains. Using a little lemon juice on the stain before hanging it out in the sunshine will work wonders; it can even remove some of the red stain from plastic food containers.
Scrubbing powder – There are several kinds of scouring cleaners on the market today, and many of them contain silica which is very dangerous if inhaled or they contain chlorine which can create a dangerous gas when mixed with other cleaners. These scrubbing cleaning powders can be a dangerous thing to have in the house.
You can easily replace any household scrubber with baking soda. Baking soda is just as effective and without the hazardous chemicals. You can clean surfaces, shine metal, deodorize, and soften hard water with just plain baking soda. Sprinkle some on a sliced lemon to wash dishes and scrub stains.
Window cleaner – Most window cleaner is made with ammonia, which can cause headaches and respiratory problems, and can create a toxic gas when mixed with other cleaners. These cleaners often are available in colors and scented which can make them more appealing to children who mistake the cleaner for juice.
Plain water and a soft cloth can be just as effective at cleaning the glass in windows and doors. For fingerprints or dirt a mixture of lemon juice and water can easily clean and shine.
All purpose cleaner – This is another common cleaner that is dangerous to have. Irritation, respiratory problems, headaches, blindness, and death can occur if children or animals get into these cleaners.
Safer than the strong chemicals to clean the various surfaces in your home is simple vinegar. Mix one part vinegar to one part water in an empty spray bottle and you have a safe and effective cleaner that you can use on anything. Vinegar is also a natural deodorizer and disinfectant, use it to kill mold and clean dirty toilets. Though vinegar has a slightly strong odor that some people may not like while cleaning the smell quickly disappears once dry, and it is certainly a nicer smell than the overpowering chemical fumes of most cleaners.
Disinfectant – Germs, bacteria, mold; these are a few of the things growing in everyone’s home that no one wants living there. There are many products today that disinfect our homes, but are dangerous to more than just the things we want to kill.
Mixing two teaspoons of Australian tea tree oil with two cups of water crates a safe and effective disinfectant spray that can be used on grout, mold, mildew, and more. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to your wash when cleaning clothing that has become moldy. Cleaning most surfaces with just soap and hot water will also kill most germs and bacteria safely and easily.
Before World War II the many kinds of chemical cleaners were not available, people used safe, cheap, and readily available ways to clean and care for their homes. Soap, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, cornstarch, and certain foods were used to lift out spots and stains, deodorize, disinfect, scrub, wash clothes, and to clean almost anything. By removing some of the unsafe and dangerous chemicals from your home and instead using time tested cleaning methods you can make your home a safer place for your children and pets.