Toxic Tuesday: Cleaners and Carcinogens

My arsenal of cleaning weapons.
Many household accidents are chemical in nature. How nice would it be to know that if the baby gets into the cleaners under the sink, you're not going to have to call poison control? Chlorine bleach is a known carcinogen and America is washing their clothes with it, sanitizing baby toys with it, a dentist even recommended sanitizing tooth brushes with it! Agh!!

I may not win the award for best housekeeper, but I bet I'd be in the running for the safest. The products to the right are the ONLY cleaning products I use in the house. Not only are they effective and safe, they are super cheap. We buy the baking soda once a year and vinegar by the 2 pack at Sam's every month. The hydrogen peroxide with spray bottle lid is at Walmart and Target for around $1. If I want fragrance or a "clean" smell, I put a couple drops of essential oils in the vinegar spray bottle. My favorite scents are lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil. You can spend $5 on a half ounce at the health food store or you can buy in bulk (4 oz) for about $12 depending on the scent. I linked the above scents to the ones I buy once a year at the most from Vitacost.com. A friend also mentioned recently that essential orange oil smells great, so I may try that next time!

A solution of only 10% vinegar and water will kill up to 99% of germs if left on the surface for 5 minute before wiping up. We use vinegar at 100% solution, just to be extra safe I suppose. I use it to clean EVERYTHING, seriously. Windows, counter tops, wood floors, tile floors, toilets, bathtubs, dusting, etc. For things that are really dirty, I'll sprinkle baking soda and then spray vinegar on top, let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub. I also spray vinegar and hydrogen peroxide on sinks or toilets to give them an extra cleaning boost, but 90% of the time I use my vinegar spray bottle. Everyone asks me if it smells. It does initially, but after it dries, the smell is gone. If you want a little extra shine when dusting, after cleaning and wiping down w/ vinegar, rub a little coconut oil or olive oil on it with a dry towel. Works wonderfully.

Along with my fibromyalgia comes extreme chemical sensitivities. Within about 10 seconds of being exposed to unsafe chemicals, whether it be recently used bleach, air freshener, or nail polish fumes, I get a pounding headache and I'm nauseous. Some might think this is a bad thing. I am thankful for it. This "sixth sense" of mine has empowered me to remove all kinds of toxins from my children's environment that otherwise I may not have been aware of. About a year ago, every time I took a shower or a bath I noticed a horrible chemical smell and would feel sick afterwards. I could not figure out what was causing it. A light bulb clicked a couple months later after watching a documentary on the dangers of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). I checked my shower curtain and low and behold, it was made of PVC. I removed the shower curtain and replaced it with a 100% polyester one and had no further problems. I've also used PEVA plastic shower curtains from Target and have had no issues with those as well. The cloth ones are nice though, because you can just toss it in the washer when it gets dirty.

For those wondering what I use for dish washing soap and laundry detergent, here are links to those. I use 7th  Generation dish soap, 7th Generation automatic dishwashing powder, vinegar in the rinsing agent spot and Charlie's Soap for laundry.  The dishwashing powder works great if you don't put too much. I never put any in prewash and I don't fill the main cup up all the way.  I buy a box of 8 from Amazon once a year and my mom usually buys one of two of those from me. The Charlie's Soap is bought once a year as well and I split with my mom. I usually wash 10+ loads a week. The cost is around 9 cents per load.

For further reading about safe and effective house cleaning, I recommend this awesome book by Ellen Sandbeck, Green Housekeeping. Thanks for reading!!

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