Green Home Cleaners Can Replace Cancer Causing Chemicals
Household cleaning products and air fresheners have many volatile organic compounds that are regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws. Many studies now are finding links between heavy use of these consumer products and cancer. Making your own natural home cleaners may not only protect your own health, but may also help the global environment. It may also save you a little money!
The most recent study linking household products to cancer was published in the July issue of Journal of Environmental Health. Researchers from the Silent Spring Institute found that the risk of breast cancer increased two-fold in those with the highest use of cleaners and air fresheners.
The strongest link appeared to be in people who frequently used solid air fresheners – replacing more than seven times a year appeared to double the risk of developing breast cancer. Mold and mildew removers used more than once a week also appeared to significantly increase risk.
The very best way to make indoor air smell good is to maintain a clean environment instead of just trying to cover up a bad smell with a good one. Plain white vinegar is an effective cleaner against mold and mildew and is a natural deodorizer – absorbing odors instead of just masking them. Because it contains no coloring agents, makes an excellent cleaner, even for hardwood floors. It is also extremely cost-effective and non-toxic.
To make a homemade vinegar spray cleaner, mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle (be sure to label the bottle with content ingredients.) This can be used in the kitchen for countertops, lightly-soiled range surfaces, and backsplash areas. It can also be used in the bathroom for vanity tops, floors, and exterior surfaces of the toilet.
For tough bathroom surfaces, heat the solution in the microwave until barely hot, spray shower walls generously, and allow to stand for 10 to 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. Full strength vinegar (not diluted with water) can also be used to combat mold and mildew in the bathroom.
Baking soda is also a mildly-abrasive cleaner and natural deodorizer. Sprinkle on bathtub rings, on counter tops, or to remove food deposits from the kitchen sink. For tougher grime, make a paste of baking soda and water, apply to the intended surface and allow to stand for 10 to 20 minutes before scrubbing.
Furniture polish and oven cleaners were also among the household products that appeared to slightly increase the risk for cancer. Try mixing 1 cup of olive oil with ½ cup lemon juice in a sprayer bottle for a non-toxic furniture polish. Lemon juice dissolves dirt and smudges, while olive oil shines and protects the wood.
A mixture of baking soda, water and a squirt (or two) of liquid soap make an excellent oven cleaner. Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven.
Cover the grime with baking soda and then sprinkle more water on top. Let sit overnight and wipe up the grime the next morning. Then clean with a mild soap and a sponge or mild abrasive pad.