With Easter behind us, many Americans are starting to spring clean our homes to welcome the season. But this time-honored tradition can be toxic to our health if we use many of the commercial cleaning products on the market.
Randi Ragan, a well-known advocate of green living and founder of the award winning GreenBliss EcoSpa located in Los Angeles, Calif., has just released her new book, “A Year of Living Mindfully: Seasonal Practices to Nourish the Body, Mind and Spirit.” In it, she reveals that many commercial cleaners contain harmful — even potentially deadly — chemicals.
“Many of the antibacterial products heavily marketed and expensively packaged for consumers clean no better than soap and water,” she tells Newsmax Health. “They can also breed forms of super bacteria that become resistant to regular cleaning.
“A key component of many anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers is the chemical triclosan, which is increasingly linked to a range of health and environmental problems, ranging from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, and dioxin contamination of fragile aquatic ecosystems."
Ragan adds that the contents of many chemical cleaners leave residues on surfaces and toxins in the air that later leach into the environment and ground water.
“Many major brand cleaning ingredients have dangerous or even potentially fatal effects on human health,” she adds.
The major ingredients you should avoid in your cleaning products include ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide (lye), paradichlorobenzenes, butyl cellosolve, and ethanol. All these can cause damage to the body and some are carcinogenetic.
Instead opt for natural cleaners, says Ragan. “They are cheap, natural and easy to buy for your green-cleaning cupboard,” she notes.
Here are a few to get your started.
Baking soda. This natural deodorizer is also slightly abrasive so it’s great for scrubbing as well as cleaning. Mix ¼ cup of baking soda in a spray bottle of water to use as a general cleaner. Add ½ cup to your laundry or sprinkle on carpets to deodorize. Mix three cups of baking soda with one cup water to make a tile and grout cleaning paste. Use a toothbrush to the remove grime. Keep an open box in your fridge and freezer to absorb odors.
You can also unclog drains by pouring half a box of baking soda followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. “Chase that mixture with a tea kettle filled with boiling water. But take care to protect your eyes as the mixture will bubble and foam and may spit,” Ragan warns.
Tea tree oil. Add a teaspoon or two to water in a spray bottle to naturally disinfect and destroy fungus on surfaces.
White vinegar. This makes a great, ammonia-free window cleaner. Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with one tablespoon cornstarch, and several drops of your favorite essential oil into a quart of warm water. Apply to windows and wipe dry with crumpled newspaper or a coffee filter for a streak-free shine. “Paper towels will cause streaking,” Ragan says.
Lemon juice. Mix 12 cups of water, ¼ cup of lemon juice and one cup of hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle to use as an all-purpose, natural cleaner. Add two cups to your wash load. Mixing ¼ cup of lemon juice with ½ cup of olive oil makes an excellent furniture polish as well. “I like to add a couple of drops of lavender oil to this mix for a great smell,” adds Ragan. Rub a small amount on the wood surface and then wipe clean with a soft, dry cloth for a lovely shine and heavenly scent.
Toothpaste. Use toothpaste to eliminate tarnish on silver utensils and platters as well as jewelry. Apply to a soft cloth and gently rub the object. “Works wonders!” says Ragan.
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