Last week we have written the first part of our series of articles about dangerous cleaning chemicals. Some of the most dangerous and toxic chemicals in our homes come from all the things we use in order to make our homes clean and safe (Oh, the irony!). We have revealed the ingredients of all-purpose cleaners, bathroom and toilet cleaning products, and disinfectants and the risks of using them. We also shared safe and green alternatives of these hazardous products. In this week’s post we are focusing on glass cleaners and products, used in kitchen cleaning.
Glass and Window Cleaners
Some glass cleaning products contain nerve-damaging butyl cellosolve, which is easily absorbed by our skin. Many window cleaners contain ammonia, which irritates airways. Also, ammonia releases toxic chloramine gases if mixed accidently with chlorine-containing cleaner.
Water plus a little bit of effort is as effective as some commercial window cleaners. However, if you need to deal with really dirty glass surface you can prepare the your own green cleaner. Mix ¼ cup white distilled vinegar with 4 cups if water in a spray bottle. If you don’t like the smell you can replace the vinegar with 1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice. With this mixture you can easily wipe away fingerprints, greasy spots and other hard to remove stains from glass surfaces.
Most commercial dish soaps and detergents contain petroleum-based products. Although these are not yet proven to deliver more serious health problems than dry skin, all petroleum-based products are contributing to the depletion of non-renewable resources and to our dependence on oil.
Powder products for automatic dishwashers often contain phosphates, which over-nutrify streams and rivers, causing excessive growth of algae, which deprives water fauna of oxygen. Cleaners containing chlorine evaporate chlorinated chemicals when the dishwasher is opened at the end of the cycle and pollute the air in the room.
Try to avoid petroleum-based detergents and opt for plant-based dish soaps instead. Search for colorless products: some dyes contain heavy metals such as lead and arsenic. If you don’t use gloves when washing they may penetrate the skin and leave residues on the dishes.
If you want to avoid commercial dishwashing cleaners you can use liquid castile soap, or prepare a mixture of grated and castile soap melted over bain-marie and hot water. Another great alternative for chemical dish cleaner is using soapnuts. Soapnuts are actually berries, growing on trees and bushes. These wonderful fruits have been used in traditional ayurvedic medicine and for cleaning for centuries. You can buy soapnuts online and prepare your own cleaning liquid, which works great in dishwasher too. Its allergen-free and you can use the liquid as laundry detergent, hand soap and even as shampoo. We have added 8 great diy recipes for homemade soapnut cleaners.
Oven Cleaning Products
Many of the most common oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide and lye. Both ingredients are corrosive and can irritate and burn your eyes and skin. Oven cleaning aerosol sprays can be easily inhaled and damage the lung tissue.
The best way to avoid toxic oven cleaners is to clean spill, before they have the time to dry and cook. Prevent greasy stains being baked in the oven, by lining aluminum foil onto oven’s floor. To remove grease stains and old food residues without using caustic chemicals, soak oven surfaces in a mixture of baking soda, soap and hot water. Let it stay like this overnight and then scrub off with soapy sponge.
If the grease still comes out difficult add more baking soda when scrubbing. A thick paste made of washing soda and water can also do the trick, but if you decide to try this option wear gloves – washing soda can also irritate skin.
Scouring Creams and Powders
Some of the most scouring powders contain Silicon dioxide, also known as silica. Silica is harmful for your health when inhaled. Some abrasive cleaning products contain bleach, which irritates airways and skin, and forms toxic gases if mixed with acidic or ammonia cleaners.
Baking soda works great for scouring away grease and grime from countertops, kitchen surfaces showers, tubs and toilets. For cleaning up grease, you can prepare your own scrubbing cream. Put ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup liquid castile soap (if you don’t have liquid one, just grind some castile soap and melt it over a bain-marie), add 2-3 tbs of warm water and stir the ingredients. In the end add 2 tbs of white distilled vinegar and mix well. Adding the vinegar in the end is what makes this mixture soft and creamy and won’t scratch the surface you want to clean.
We hope that this article will help you make your home cleaner in greener and safer way. Check our blog next week for the third part of this article, which will be focused on polishing products and enzyme cleaners. However, you can always rely on reliable and professional cleaners in London.
20 October 2014 – UPDATE: The third part of our list of dangerous products is posted!