Tip of the Week

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tip of the Month: Cleaning Supplies - Are they toxic??

In my effort to change my own environment and go "green", I have been converting my cleaning supplies to healthier alternatives. I have been using Ecos laundry detergent for several years and love how my clothes, sheets, towels and even my dog's beds come out fresh and clean.  You can use Ecos for HE machines and I find that I am saving money, plus I know that I am not adding more chemicals to our water supply.  My other major change was hand soap.  If you look at your hand soap you will probably find the ingredient Triclosan, which seems to be controversial whether it has major effects on our health.  You can read the research yourself and decide, but I switched to a basic Castile soap.  All we really need is soap and water to clean our hands.  Vinegar is my basic cleaning product and weed killer, you can read my previous post here.

Other than laundry detergent and hand soap, many of us have a whole cabinet of various cleaning products for different purposes.  Do we really need all these products?  And how much do we really spend on those items? In a recent study I read, many of these cleaning products contain carcinogenics, which are released into the air.  Think about it. . .  if you are breathing in these chemicals there are likely to be health effects.  The study was completed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and you can read it here.  The focus was on the effects on indoor air quality in classrooms, but it would also apply to individual homes.

I also found that I was not alone in thinking that cleaning products should list all of the ingredients, not just some of them.  What shocked me most, but makes sense why Febreze smells funny to me, is how many airborne contaminants are released when using this product.

If any of this concerns you, as it does me, then take a look and decide if you want to err on the side of caution when cleaning your home.  For myself, I have a few of these cleaning products left and will replace these products with healthier (and also cheaper) cleaning alternatives.  Give vinegar and baking soda a try.  Or try castile soap next time.


  1. We've been slowly moving toward greener cleaning alternatives ourselves...one of the best things I've found is adding a few drops of tea tree oil to my vinegar/water cleaning solution; it's an excellent antiviral/antifungal.

    Love this post and look forward to many more!

    1. Love that idea! Tea tree oil does have so many uses!