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Clean Your Home Safely with Earth-Friendly Cleaners

Updated on July 8, 2013

It seems that a clean home is a healthy home. After all, you are killing germs with that disinfectant spray. And germs make you sick. That dust makes you sneeze, that can't be good for you.

While it is true that keeping your home sparkling will reduce mold, mildew, dust and germs, the cleaners you are using can be even more dangerous.They are not good for your health. Some even contain known carcinogens. That is why they have warning labels on them. They also end up down the drain and into our water supply.

When buying cleaning products, be sure to read labels.

Let's take a look at what ingredients to avoid:

Phosphates are used as water softeners and to improve cleaning power of the product. It also stimulates the growth of algae in lakes. Algae starves the water of oxygen, which kills fish and plant life.

Enzymes can cause severe skin irritations and asthma.

Chlorine bleach can create carcinogenic and toxic substances when it breaks down. Mixing bleach with ammonia can create possibly fatal gas.

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA) is sometimes used as a substitute for phosphates. It is also dangerous to our water. It attracts heavy metals like lead and mercury, which have carcinogenic properties. These end up in our water supply and are very difficult to remove.

Optical brighteners can cause severe skin irritation and may cause marine life to mutate. They are very difficult to biodegrade.

Petroleum-based additives contain toxic impurities which can cause allergic reactions. It can form toxins which endanger plant and animal life. Petroleum based additives are present in most household cleaners.

If you use cleaners that are toxic, be sure to use rubber gloves and open the windows to let harmful fumes escape.



You can make your own earth-friendly cleaners.

It is not hard and you will save money. You may even have what you need already. Here is a list of helpful items:

  1. Baking soda is great for scrubbing. It also deodorizes, polishes and removes stains.
  2. Borax deodorizes, removes stains, prevents molds.
  3. Cornstarch cleans and deodorizes carpets.
  4. Lemon juice cuts through grease and lightens stains.
  5. Table salt can be used for scrubbing.
  6. Vinegar removes mildew, stains, grease and wax. It also deodorizes and disinfects.
  7. Olive oil polishes furniture.
  8. Hydrogen peroxide is safer alternative to chlorine bleach. It kills bacteria and breaks down quickly.

Homemade Cleaners

For scrubbing:

Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section, scrub away.

Or use baking soda. Once you get it all over, pour on a little vinegar and scrub a little more. This is great for bathtubs, it will sparkle when you are done.

Or you could use a mixture of baking soda and soap.

To polish your furniture:

Dissolve one tsp. lemon juice into 1/2 cup olive oil. Apply with a clean dry rag.

To clean drains:

Pour about 1/2 cup each of baking soda and salt. Pour in a cup of vinegar. Let it bubble for a few minutes and rinse with hot water.

For floors:

Wash your floors with a solution of half vinegar and half hot water. You can also put this in a spray bottle and use as an all purpose cleaner. Great for windows too.

Window or glass cleaner:

Add 4 tbsp vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice to a spray bottle filled with warm water.


1/2 cup borax and 4 cups water. Be careful with borax, it is toxic if it is mixed incorrectly.

All Purpose Cleaner:

This one is great for bathrooms or kitchens. In a spray bottle, mix together 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup liquid dishwashing soap, 2 tsp baking soda and 1 1/2 cups water. Spray down all surfaces, including mirrors, then rinse clean.

Air freshener:

Simmer cinnamon sticks or cloves or lemon slices.

Put a little aromatherapy oil in a spray bottle filled with water.

Sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda on your carpet, let sit for at least an hour, vacuum. You can add essential oils to this. I like to use a few drops of lavender.

A bowl of vinegar will absorb odours in a room.

You can buy eco-friendly cleaners.


But still read the labels. Just because something is labeled "natural" that does not mean it is totally safe. Only a small portion of the ingredients need to be natural for them to be able to label it that way.


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    • daisyjae profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      I do too, mrfluffy. It really works!

    • mrfluffy profile image


      8 years ago from Northamptonshire

      I use baking soda and Vinegar a lot really good for cleaning the loo, and other horrible places.

    • daisyjae profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      Vinegar in a bowl really works, sheila. You would be surprised.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      8 years ago

      Vinegar in a bowl is new to me - I'm going to try that. I like your warning about the 'natural' labels, too. I've read some, and decided they're not what I consider natural.

    • daisyjae profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      True, ethel, that is the best part!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      And it is so much cheaper to make your own


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