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8 Scary Cleaning Chemicals to Avoid

Beware of Greenwashing

If a cleaning product at your supermarket proclaims itself “green,” “natural” or “biodegradable,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nontoxic. In 2010 the environmental consulting firm TerraChoice Group produced a report called “The Sins of Greenwashing.” In it the group found more than 95 percent of so-called green consumer products had committed at least one “greenwashing sin,” like making an environmental claim that may be truthful but unimportant. “CFC-free,” for example, is a common one, since CFCs are banned by law. Donna Kasuska of ChemConscious offers this advice: “When gauging ecological claims, look for specifics. ‘Biodegradable in three to five days’ holds more meaning than “biodegradable” as most substances will eventually break down with enough time.”

DIY Cleaners

Clean your home safely — and cheaply — with the following recipes:

Basic sink cleanser – Combine cup baking soda with six drops essential oil (such as lavender, rosemary, lemon, lime or orange). Rinse sink well with hot water. Sprinkle combination into sink and pour cup vinegar over top. After the fizz settles, scrub with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse again with hot water. (From The Naturally Clean Home, by Karyn Siegel-Maier.)

Oven cleanser — Put a heatproof dish filled with water in the oven. Turn on the heat to let the steam soften any baked-on grease. Once the oven is cool, apply a paste of equal parts salt, baking soda, and vinegar, and scrub. (From Super Natural Home, by Beth Greer.)

Bathroom mildew remover – Good ventilation helps prevent mildew and mold. When they do occur, make a spray with 2 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon each of tea-tree and lavender oil. Shake first and spray on trouble spots. The oils break down the mildew so there’s no need to wipe it down. (From Green Interior Design, by Lori Dennis.)

Carpet shampoo – Mix 3 cups water, cup vegetable-based liquid soap, and 10 drops peppermint essential oil. Rub the foam into soiled areas with a damp sponge. Let dry thoroughly and then vacuum. (From The Naturally Clean Home.)

Laundry soap — Try “soap nuts” made from the dried fruit of the Chinese soapberry tree. Available in natural groceries and online, the reusable soap nuts come in a cotton sack that goes into the washing machine with clothes.

Dusting — Skip the furniture polishes. Instead, use a microfiber cloth. Made from synthetic fibers that are then split into hundreds of smaller microfibers, they capture dust more efficiently than regular rags. If necessary, a little olive oil makes a fine polishing agent.

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

Read more: Health, Health & Safety, Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning, ,

By Jessie Sholl, Experience Life

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Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


+ add your own
1:39AM PST on Feb 5, 2014

I just can't believe why people still use chemical cleaning products. I'm shocked that most of the cleaning companies use toxic cleaners. Two weeks ago I booked expert cleaners in London, who use eco-friendly tools and techniques.

9:37PM PDT on Sep 9, 2013

Amei saber como substituir os produtos de limpeza.Obrigada!

3:51PM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

Thanks for the info. Great addition, Sheila D.

3:24PM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

One point that should have been mentioned, unless I missed it somewhere, is that these same chemicals can be even more harmful to your pets.

3:12AM PDT on May 21, 2013

facebook ni dotdot

3:11AM PDT on May 21, 2013

design for market

3:09AM PDT on May 21, 2013


5:52AM PDT on May 15, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:07AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Useful information. I certainly do not want to face any health issues due to the use of chemical-based cleaning products. Fortunately, Go Cleaners do not use such, and they are the only ones cleaning my Canonbury home. Learn more about Go Cleaners Canonbury - Spot-on tips from an expert in the field of dangerous chemicals.

6:10AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

thanks! We use Honest Company :) so we are good

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Purrfectly delightful, wonderful and pawfect move, Zeke!

what passes as "fashion" is truly weird!

Useful information, thanks.

Although, I am a true animal lover--which means all of them. Yet, cats are at the top of my list. …

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