Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Safe Alternatives to Toxic Household Products

Last month I wrote about toxic and carcinogenic ingredients in best selling brands of common household products.

This week I share my top twelve ways to protect yourself and your family, as well as my recipe for making your own Non-Toxic All-Purpose Cleaner.

  • The Household Product Labeling Act is currently being reviewed by the US Senate. Contact your senators and urge them to require product labeling that protects consumers and the environment, not manufacturers.
  • Use cookware made of cast iron, stainless steel, copper, glass or ceramic. Avoid non-stick cookware.
  • Avoid food and beverages that have been in plastic containers or metal cans. Use stainless steel or glass water bottles.
  • Look for fragrance-free household and personal products and remember that labels like "green,” "organic" and "natural" are not legally defined.
  • Research personal products on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database. Search by product, ingredient or company to read safety reviews and make good choices when selecting items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, contact lens cleaner, make-up, nail polish, sunscreen, hair care and baby products.
  • If your air is malodorous, open some windows and circulate the air. As an alternative to air fresheners, use essential oil diffusers with 100% pure essential oils. Avoid perfume oils.
  • Use essential oils also for cleaning. They are anti-bacterial and can be used in solution to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces (see recipe below). Tea tree essential oil is especially effective at removing mold and mildew.
  • Use baking soda as an abrasive agent to remove residue and stains from glass, ceramic, stainless steel and silver. Add a few drops of water to make a baking soda paste for cleaning the stove, sink, counters, toilet and tub. You can also use baking soda paste as an alternative to toothpaste.
  • To keep drains free of blockages, flush them with boiling water on a weekly basis. To unclog drains, first pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour in 1 cups of white vinegar. Wait for foaming to reside, then flush with plenty of boiling hot water.
  • Use olive oil to polish wood furniture. Mix 3 parts of an inexpensive olive oil (not extra virgin) with 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice. Apply it with a soft cloth, rub briskly and allow the area to air dry. (You may want to test a small area before you apply it to an entire piece of furniture.) The solution is only good for one day, so mix up just enough for your immediate needs and discard what you don’t use.
  • Coarse salt can be used to scour cookware. To remove rust stains, sprinkle salt over the area, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and allow it to sit for several hours before you wipe it off.
  • Use white vinegar to wash windows and floors, polish mirrors, and soften laundry (add one half cup to the rinse cycle in place of store-bought fabric softener). White vinegar is the base for my Non-Toxic All-Purpose Cleaner below, which can be used on counters, sinks, stove tops, appliances and tiles.

Dr. Sarah's Non-Toxic All-Purpose Cleaner

1 cup white vinegar
5 drops tea tree essential oil
5 drops lavender or orange essential oil
½ cup water (optional)

Add all the ingredients to a new, clean spray bottle. Label the container with the ingredients and date. Store it out of the reach of children.

To use, shake the bottle gently to incorporate any essential oils that may have separated. Spray the cleaner on dirty surfaces and wipe off with a clean wet sponge. For tougher cleaning jobs, omit the water and leave the solution a few minutes longer before wiping it off. Do not use this cleaner on wooden or delicate surfaces.

No comments: