When we think of air pollution, we generally think of places like the LA freeway. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that indoor air pollution is sometimes 30 times worse than outdoor levels. And a lot of that has to do with the harsh cleaning products we use to clean our homes, and the chemicals they contain, which can actually make us sick and pollute the environment.
Researchers are finding that many familiar household cleaners contain compounds that trigger asthma or contain plastics chemicals linked to infertility, eczema, birth defects, and just plain rotten indoor air quality. Cleaning up your cleaning habits is a great way to commemorate Earth Day; it protects the environment from harsh chemicals, but also keeps harsh fumes out of your house, protecting your family's health, too.
And there's one more benefit: Because the ingredients are so much cheaper, making your own green cleaners will save you money.
Leah Zerbe talks about these natural cleaning recipes on NBC 10 Philadelphia:
Try these natural cleaning remedies for a clean house and clean indoor air:
Never waste your money on "antibacterial" cleaners and soaps, whose active ingredients have been linked to thyroid damage, water pollution, and the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs like MRSA. Instead, kill germs with an all-purpose vinegar solution: nine parts water, one part white vinegar.
For particular nasty messes, such as cleaning up a countertop after handling raw meat, squirt straight white vinegar on the surface, and follow with a squirt of hydrogen peroxide to knock out virtually all germs.
A recent Environmental Working Group (EWG) report found the popular cleanser Comet contained 146 air contaminants, including seven chemicals linked to cancer, two chemicals linked to reproductive damage, and two chemicals that interfere with hormones. Three of the chemicals EWG detected—formaldehyde, toluene, and benzene—are components of gasoline. To avoid these, make your own scrubbing paste:
½ cup baking soda
Liquid soap (we like Dr. Bronner's peppermint or detergent)
5 to 10 drops of pure essential oil of lavender, tea tree oil, or rosemary (optional)
Place baking soda in a bowl, slowly pour in liquid soap, stirring until it looks like frosting. Add optional essential oils. Scoop onto a sponge, scrub, and rinse. You can also try cutting a lemon in half and using that as a scrubber.