Type: Household: dishwashing, all-purpose cleaners, bathroom and glass cleaners
Description: Most conventional glass cleaners are made with toxic solvents including alcohol, ammonia, which is a respiratory irritant, or glycol ethers that cause systemic organ damage. General-purpose cleaners can be toxic, corrosive, irritating and flammable, and can pollute the air inside your home, leaving harmful residues.
What to look for: Look for citrus-based, non-toxic, biodegradable soaps and cleaners with no chlorine or phosphates, which are free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Non-toxic cleaners contain natural surfactants free of chlorine, phosphates, and are biodegradable. For bathrooms, choose non-fuming products made from ingredients such as organic acids, salt and vinegar, unscented, or naturally scented with citrus oils or essential oils, such as tea tree and lavender. Look for labels that are free from testing on animals.
Uses: Washing dishes and general cleaning of all surfaces; including bathroom surfaces, glass and window cleaning.
Make your own cleaning supplies: Non-toxic options can also be homemade and work very well. Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board, in your bathroom, and use it for cleaning. A straight 5 percent solution of vinegar kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses).
Where to find: Natural Food Stores and Online Resources.
Avoid: Rid your home of cleaners you suspect may be toxic. If the label says ‘Warning’, ‘Danger’, or ‘Poison’, dispose of them. Your local Department of Public Works can tell you where to take these hazardous household wastes. If a product’s ingredients are not fully disclosed on its label, we strongly recommend avoiding that product. Avoid ammonia, alcohol, solvents, glycol ethers, Phenol, pine oil (which is toxic to animals), phosphates, acids, caustics, dyes, artificial fragrances and petroleum-based cleaners.