By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove
The cleaning products we bring into our homes can contribute to poor indoor air quality, and can expose us and our families to unnecessary chemicals that can contribute to chronic health issues. One of the easiest ways to start reducing exposures to harmful chemicals in the home is by swapping out your conventional household cleaners for brands that use safer, healthier ingredients.
When shopping for household cleaners of any kind, follow these guidelines to ensure you’re choosing safer options:
- Shop for cleaning products at a natural foods store. While this is not a guarantee the products are totally safe and non-toxic, they will very likely be better than conventional cleaning products.
- Rather than trying to memorize a long list of ingredients, focus on avoiding products containing the following ingredients.
- Fragrance – a protected formula of undisclosed chemicals, often containing phthalates which are known hormone disruptors.
- Triclosan – an antibacterial ingredient linked to hormone disruption, particularly of the thyroid.
- Glycol Ethers – a class of solvents commonly used in household cleaners.
- Ethoxylated ingredients – Chemicals with names ending in -eth, like laureth, ceteareth, Steareth-2, and any ingredients starting with PEG, as these may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.
- Methylisothiazolinone – a powerful biocide that is linked to nerve damage.
- Bleach – extremely caustic respiratory irritant.
There is a lot of “greenwashing” in the cleaner industry — brands that market themselves as green and non-toxic but are not. Choose brands that have a full commitment to safer, non-toxic products, and avoid the “green” versions from mainstream brands. Healther brand options include:
- Branch Basics
- Mama Suds
- Molly’s Suds
- Greenshield Organics
- Pure Natural
- Better Life (some products in their line contain methylisothiazolinone – skip these)
- Bon Ami
And for minimal time and financial investment, you can make your own cleaning products. The three fundamental ingredients for home cleaning are vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Small amounts of plant-derived essential oils can be used to boost antibacterial properties of any of these cleaners.
All Purpose Disinfectant
Mix together and add to a new, unused spray bottle:
- 1 cup filtered water
- 3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 2 teaspoons rubbing alcohol
- 8-10 drops essential oils of choice: (thyme, tea tree, lavender, oregano, clove, rosemary).
- 1 cup filtered or distilled water
- ½ cup white distilled vinegar
- ½ cup rubbing alcohol
- 2-3 drops of dish soap (not Castile soap)
- 20-30 drops essential oils of choice: (thyme, pine, spruce, lemon, tea tree, rosemary).
Sink & Shower Scrub
- Baking soda
- Liquid soap
Mix until you have a consistency that works for the surface you’re cleaning. Make only as much as you need as it does not keep well. Apply with a sponge and wipe off.
Make a paste of 3-4 tablespoons baking soda mixed with water, and using a sponge, scrub as needed. Rinse with a clean sponge.
It’s not true that wood cutting boards harbor more germs than plastic ones. In fact, they’ve shown to have less germs than many plastic types. Disinfect either kind of cutting board by washing them with soap and water and then spraying them with a vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide solution. Air dry. To remove stains, make a paste with baking soda, scrub, and rinse.
Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. In addition, the practice is committed to being a valuable source of information so that people can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent future illness. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.