Did you know that there’s a good chance you have a closet full of neurotoxins, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors in your home?
A 2012 study funded, in part, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 55 toxic compounds in common consumer products — many of them in everyday household cleaners.
Source: The Morning Call
Yet environmental experts say that in most cases, there’s no need to use any of the harsh chemicals.
“Americans, in general, not only put the environment and their own health at risk by purchasing products that they don’t need, they also ignore the fact that there’s a lot of things that are probably right in their own closet that would do all the work that the so-called cleaners do for a fraction of the money — and they would have no deleterious effects whatsoever,” says Karen Dolan, executive director and chief executive officer of the Gertrude B. Fox Environmental Center in Bethlehem Township.
Debi Sarandrea, chief executive officer of Bucks County-based Harmony Clean, a home-cleaning service, echoed her sentiments.
“We’re all concerned about the safety of our family as well as the environment. Many health issues have been reported from the VOCs [volatile organic compounds] and ingredients in traditional cleaning chemicals,” she said. “Green cleaning is one of the easiest ways to give yourself some peace of mind and keep household toxins out of your home and also out of our drinking water, air and soil.”
Sarandrea says she and her sister, Vicki Brown, started their business in 2003 with an eye toward offering a green alternative to traditional cleaning services.
“We did not want to expose our staff to using harsh chemicals all day, let alone leave behind toxic residues on our clients’ countertops or floors where their children would come into contact” with them, she says.
After a good deal of research, Sarandrea says, they came up with a number of techniques using all-natural, nontoxic products that perform as well as or better than their chemical counterparts.
“For built up soap scum and hard water stains, vinegar works well,” she says. It’s a “general multipurpose cleaner [that] covers most of the kitchen, depending on your countertop surface. On granite and marble you’ll want to avoid anything acidic — including vinegar — since it can etch the surface.”
Mark “Coach” Smallwood, executive director of the Rodale Institute in Maxatawny Township, said vinegar works as an all-purpose cleaner in a half water, half vinegar mixture.
“If you have something tougher, you can add more vinegar,” he said, adding another cleaner is hydrogen peroxide — the kind that’s found in medicine cabinets.
“They are separate cleaners, but if you use one followed by the other … in general, my experience is that it is just as good a sanitizer and a disinfectant as any of the chlorine products,” he said.