When my daughter started crawling and putting everything she could find in her mouth, I really started questioning our household cleaning products. Although I had an idea that they were somewhat toxic, I never realized the full extent of their destruction until I started to do more research.
Turns out, the common household, multi-purpose cleaner is far more toxic than I’d imagined, and inside the home, it’s our little ones and pets who suffer from these products the most.
Here are 4 reasons to make your own cleaning products…
Household cleaners enter our bodies through absorption in our skin, or inhalation when we breathe. These products contain carcinogens that cause and/or promote cancer growth, neurotoxins that disrupt your nervous system, and “hormone disruptors” that interfere with the body’s natural, chemical messages.
Here are a few (of the many) common ingredients found in household cleaners, and the effects that they have on your health.*
- Ammonia: Found in glass cleaner, oven cleaner, drain cleaner, car-polish, and multi-purpose cleaners, is known to irritate the eyes, nose and throat, cause kidney and liver damage, and when mixed with chloramine bleach, the highly poisonous chloramine gas is formed.
- Artificial Fragrances: Oh, fragrances…you are the worst! Phthalates are a common fragrance ingredient in floor polishes, glass cleaner, fabric softeners and deodorizers–they are endocrine disruptors, and have even been found to affect the sperm count in men! Air-fresheners contain cancer-causing benzene and formaldehyde (so ironic).
- Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs): Degrade into nonylphenols (NPs), which can mimic the hormone estrogen. In laboratory experiments, NP has been shown to stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells. NPEs can be found in stain removers, all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, degreasers, and car wash products.
If you look under your kitchen sink, or laundry room cupboard… or wherever you happen to keep your cleaning supplies… how many different cleaners do you have? It seems like there is a different cleaning product for every surface in your house!
We all have (had) those rusty cans we bought a decade (maybe two decades) ago, with the skeleton on the side, that never gets used. I’m telling you now, you don’t need it—dispose (safely) of it all, and replace it with homemade alternatives. Disposing of your household hazardous waste (HHW) is cleansing for the mind, body and cupboard-space.
How to safely dispose of your HHW – http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/cleaning/how-to-dispose-of-household-hazardous-waste/
Cleaners make their way down the drains, and end up in oceans, streams, and ground water. Many of the chemicals they contain are proven to cause adverse reproductive effects in fish and other aquatic organisms, contribute to algae blooms, and cause toxicity leading to death in marine species.
Not only is what’s inside the bottle harmful to the environment, but the plastic bottle itself is contributing to the seemingly endless amounts of solid waste entering the landfills each day.
4. Savings & Simplicity
Making your own cleaners costs a fraction of the price compared to commercial cleaners! All you need is a few, common, household ingredients (most of which you probably store in your pantry!) and you’ve got yourself powerful and effective homemade cleaning products.
*For a full list of common ingredients found in household cleaners, and the specific effects they have our bodies and the environment, read this article put out for the David Suzuki Foundation, and this provided by the Organic Consumers Association.
It’s easy to replace your cleaners with homemade ones! Here are a few recipes:
Citrus-Infused Multi Purpose Cleaner (great for soap scum and grease)
DIY Glass Cleaner (great for Spray mops, too!)