Keep your health in mind when cleaning by wisely choosing to use safe cleaning products.
When I first began caring for my own home – at the time, it was a two-bedroom apartment in the lower level of a house – I never gave a second thought to the cleaning products I should use.
I just wanted something that worked well – and did the work quickly.
Stocking up my broom closet with cleaning supplies I thought I would need, I remember buying just about everything – ammonia, bleach, Mop ‘N Glo (even though the only space that I needed to mop was about 12 square feet of linoleum in my bathroom), Windex for windows, Pledge for dusting, 409 for surfaces, Scrubbing Bubbles for my bathtub, and toilet bowl cleaner. And that doesn’t even include my laundry and dishwashing detergent.
I was so enthusiastic to clean the “right” way, but had no idea that my entire arsenal of cleaning products weren’t necessary. Or safe.
Because I didn’t even know how to use all of the products, the safety of those products was the last thing on my mind. (If they were on a store shelf, they had to be safe, right?)
Unfortunately, I used the same products for a decade. (Probably even the same bottle of ammonia, since I never was sure exactly what I should clean with it.)
Even though I used them dutifully to clean my home, I was hurting my own health – and the health of my family – in the process.
Just like I stopped eating tuna and consuming caffeine during my pregnancy, I stopped using my old faithful cleaning products. I decided my health – and my family’s health –was more important than a “clean” home.
How to find out if your cleaning products are safe
If you’re starting your spring cleaning with products like I used for years, you’ll want to reconsider. For one, all of those cleaning products leaves a chemical residue on your surfaces – and that means you’ll be exposed to the toxins much longer than you think.
One easy way to figure out if you’re using safe products is a smelling test. While you’re cleaning, are you overpowered by fumes from your cleaning products? If so, that’s an excellent sign that you need to make a switch. Safe cleaning products won’t leave you gagging or gasping for breath. In fact, safe cleaning products won’t even leave your home smelling with any overpowering scent.
Another way to check the safety of your cleaning products is to look on the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Safe Cleaning. Just type in a cleaning product and see how well (or not so well) it rates.
When you need to make a safer change
The fantastic news is that making a switch to safer cleaning products is not impossible. In fact, it’s not even difficult.
After I threw out my hazardous cleaning products, I didn’t know what I should use in my home. Was white vinegar and baking soda enough?
I tried using homemade products for a few years. When using these homemade cleaners, I needed to use a lot more elbow grease and energy … but at least I knew the cleaners were safe.
When I reached a point that I was tired of making my own products and longed for the ease of the hazardous products, I knew I needed a change. At that same exact time, a friend introduced me to Norwex – safe products that made cleaning my home easier and quicker than ever. Just when I needed easy and quick cleaning, I got it. And I’m so thankful for that change. I’ll never go back to my old ways of cleaning.
While I do appreciate the safety of homemade cleaners – especially because so many store-bought cleaning products are hazardous to your health – I don’t appreciate how labor intensive they are. Most days I’m scrambling to find pockets of time to clean my home – I’d rather not invest even more time in creating my own products. And that’s why I love the ease of using Norwex. It’s as simple and safe as using their microfiber cloths and tap water.
How to change right now
If you know you need to use safer cleaning products in your home, now is the perfect time to make the change.
You may need to go cold turkey like I did and throw out any hazardous cleaners … when doing this, you’re forced into using healthier products right away.
Or, you may want to make healthier changes slowly and surely. Change one product at a time, or work on making your cleaning safer for one room at a time, with a goal of making the complete switch to safer cleaning within six months.
Since I went through this process 10 years ago, I’d love to help in a couple different ways:
- First, I chronicled my entire journey to a healthier home in my eBook, Accidentally Green. It shares my entire process … all of the good, bad and ugly. And it will give you plenty of ideas and simple ways to change for the better.
What are some of your favorite safe cleaning products? What have you done to make your cleaning routine safer for you and your family?
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All images courtesy of Unsplash.