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Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

cleaning supplies.jpgThis is page two of a two part article.

Here are some natural alternatives to toxic household cleaning products.

Vinegar

For health purposes you want to use raw apple cider vinegar that still has the “mother” in it. For cleaning purposes you should use distilled white vinegar with 5% acidity. You can actually just put the stuff in a spray bottle and use it straight. It's a natural antiseptic that kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of molds, and 80% of viruses on contact. So, when you need a disinfectant spray for cutting boards or counter tops why not just use vinegar? It's cheap, non-toxic and effective.

Vinegar makes a great glass cleaner, toilet bowel cleaner, bathroom cleaner and rinse water agent (it helps dissolve soap scum). Vinegar also dissolves hard water deposits. Distilled white vinegar is cheap and available at any supermarket.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is Sodium hydrogen carbonate or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). This is the body's natural alkaline buffer so although it's a chemical substance, it has very low toxicity and can even be taken internally. It has a pH of about 8, which makes it a weak alkali, in contrast to vinegar, which is an acid.

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and many people use it to deodorize fridges and garbage disposals. It can also be used as a cleaner by mixing 1 teaspoon with 2 cups of hot water. This can be put into a spray bottle. It can also be used as an oven cleaner. A stronger alkali is available in washing soda (which has a pH of about 11) for tougher cleaning jobs. Baking soda and washing soda are available in sueprmarkets and are very inexpensive products to use.

Dr. Bronner's

Dr. Bronner's makes an all-natural non-toxic soap that can be used for a wide variety of cleaning applications.  It's my favorite soap for the shower.  I've used it for years and my skin is extremely healthy.  By using one of the varieties with essential oils in it, particularly eucalyptus, you also get a mild antimicrobial action.  The super mild baby soap from Dr. Bronner's, which is unscented, is great for washing pesticide residues off of fruits and vegetables, too.

Dr. Bronner's can be used for laundry, household cleaning, bathing, shampoo and even brushing teeth. The labels of Dr. Bronner's soap are fun to read and contain many bits of wisdom as well as ideas for using their product.  For more information visit www.drbronner.com. Most health food stores carry Dr. Bronner's and it is even found in many supermarkets.

Sunshine Concentrate

Sunshine Concentrate is a surfactant, which means it increases the surface area of water. Water molecules are bipolar which means one end of the molecule has a positive charge and the other end a negative charge. This is what makes water a universal solvent, meaning it can dissolve just about anything. This property of water also makes it cohesive, meaning that water tends to adhere to itself. A surfactant causes water to be less adhesive to itself, so it has more surface area to latch onto other things.

With it's surfactant properties, Sunshine Concentrate has a wide variety of uses as a cleaning agent. It can be used for dishes, laundry, household cleaning, bathing and much more.  It is available from Nature's Sunshine Products, a network marketing company.

Nature's Fresh

Nature's Fresh is an amazing product. It is a completely non-toxic enzyme based product that removes stains and odors. It can be used for carpets, laundry, dishwashers (in place of the rinse aid) and numerous other household purposes. Many people also use it as a topical first aid spray.  It's one of my favorite natural cleaning products.  Nature's Fresh is available through Nature's Sunshine Products.

Essential Oils

Essential oils offer a non-toxic, alternative to commercial antimicrobial products. Unlike chemical antiseptics, they often stimulate the body's immune system and don't contribute to the growth of resistant microbes. Essential oils also lend a pleasing fragrance to your home and make cleaning more pleasant. Because they are natural substances, they usually don't aggravate allergies and can have positive effects on a person's mental and emotional state, as well.

Some good choices for disinfectant essential oils include: tea tree, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, lavender, lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, clove, frankincense, myrrh, guardian, pine and mandarin. Use fragrances or blends of fragrances that appeal to you.  Essential oils can be found in most health food stores.

OxyClean

OxyClean is a bleach alternative that helps brighten both whites and colors.  It is also a great stain remover.  It is available in supermarkets.

Other Products

bar of soap2.jpgAll health food stores and many grocery stores carry non-toxic household cleaning products these days. Read labels and determine which brands are best for your needs. I've used several health food store brands and have been very happy with them.

In summary, these are just a few of the many non-toxic cleaning options that are available to us. In addition to what's mentioned above, there are many commercially-available products that are non-toxic and biodegradable. Be sure to read the labels carefully, however. Not all products that claim to be natural and safe really are. Above all, trust your own senses. If a product makes you feel bad when you're using it, then you probably shouldn't be using it.