It’s no secret that many common household cleaners aren’t all that good for our health. Not only do they often contain toxic chemicals—many considered to be hormone disruptors, which can lead to the development of breast cancer—they can also contain non-toxic chemicals that, when mixed with certain particles in the air, can become unsafe to inhale. So the question remains: How do we keep our homes clean and cut down our exposure to potentially unsafe chemicals? Read on to find out!
- Check the ingredient list: It’s not enough to look for products labeled “natural,” “eco-safe,” “environmentally friendly” or “green,” because these terms have no set standards (meaning anyone can slap these labels on just about anything). Instead, look for products labeled “petroleum-free,” “phosphate-free,” “solvent-free” and “VOC-free.” Also be sure to avoid products with alkylphenols (nonylphenolethoxylates and octylphenolethoxylates), which are hormone disruptors.
- Dilute commercial cleaners with water: This helps decrease your exposure to the chemicals in the cleaners and also makes the cleaners last longer! Pro tip: Furniture polish can be diluted with olive oil.
- Avoid spray carpet cleaners: Many of the chemicals in these cleaners can become trapped in the carpet fibers, increasing your exposure. Use a steam cleaner with just water instead.
- Leave the windows open: It’s important to clean in a well-ventilated room, so leave those windows and doors open while and immediately after you clean.
- Consider homemade cleaning products: Oftentimes, you’ll already have what you need in the house! Try cleaning windows with a spray of water and white vinegar, scrubbing sinks and tubs with a paste of baking soda and water, and spraying greasy countertops with a mixture of lemon juice and water.