Sunday, March 17, 2013

Greener Cleaners Part 1


Hello out there, it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday here in Porter’s Lake, I hope the sun is shining where you are and you get a chance to get out and enjoy it.  Only 4 more days till spring is officially here, which means we’re getting closer to gardening season…YAY!! Speaking of gardening, it was really nice here the other day so I though I’d venture outside to check out the veggie garden and maybe clean out what remained from last year.  Much to my surprise I found my garlic peeking it’s head out of the dirt already! 

Moving on to the subject at hand…. greener cleaners.  My foray into more natural cleaners has been a gradual one.  The more I learn the more I try to move away from commercial cleaners as much as possible.  There are some good natural cleaners out there and some that claim to be “natural” or “green” but like a lot of products (including foods) on the market today those words are just an advertising hook.  A way to get your attention, so you think you are doing the right thing for the environment and your family, and of course to dig a little deeper into your bank account. 

harmful fumes

When we clean our homes the chemicals that are in the products remain in the air and we breathe them in.  On top of that we absorb these chemicals through our skin and even from residue left on dishes and cutlery.

Some of the nasty stuff you will find in these products are

  • Coal Tar Dyes – Derived from petrochemicals and could be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic.  Found in most cleaning productsThat’s not the only place you’ll find them though.  They are also in shampoos, toothpaste and in our food.  Think M&M’s, Kraft Dinner; Jello Pudding, the list is endless. 
  • DEA (Diethaolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanalomine) -  Carcinogenic properties.  DEA is a mild skin and severe eye irritant.  MEA is know to induce asthma.  Found in – Liquid laundry detergent, dish soap, all purpose cleaner.
  • Fragrance Chemicals - Can trigger allergies, asthma, and migraines.  Phthalates are another common fragrance ingredient.  These have been shown to damage the kidneys, liver and reproductive system (reduced sperm count in men).  Air fresheners contain a whole host of chemical/synthetic fragrances which can include cancer causing benzene and formaldehyde
  • Phosphates – Act as fertilizer in water. When these chemicals reach our waterways they can cause harmful algae blooms and increase weed growth.  When this happens it can cause the oxygen levels in the water to decrease and if the level of oxygen decreases the fish will start to die off.  Found in – Dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent

These are just a few in the very long list of toxic chemicals found in our household products.  You might be saying, these things can’t be that bad if they are allowed in the products we use (not to mention the food we eat).  There must be regulations, these things would be tested to see that they are safe, and to find out what the threshold is for a “safe” amount to be exposed to  or consumed.  Let me just talk about the limits for a minute.  The regulations say that  chemical “X” is safe to 1 part per million in that bottle of laundry detergent you just bought.  Chemical “X” is also found in your dish soap, all purpose cleaner, window cleaner, hand soap, shampoo, body lotion and let’s not forget that handful of M & M’s you just ate.  Many of these things we use a number of times per day each and every day. So yes it may be safe to use once in a blue moon in a small amount but when you add it all up it’s safe to say that you have more than exceeded the “safe” limit and our bodies are just not designed to deal with the overload of chemicals we are exposed to every day.

I’m not saying go throw out every cleaner you have in the house right now, but next time you’re out shopping for some laundry detergent or dish soap take a second and look for a less chemical laden product. Every little bit helps.


Here are a couple of options Down East Cleaning Products.  I have used the dish soap, laundry detergent and all purpose cleaner.  One thing you will notice with greener dish soaps quite often is you don’t get as many suds since they aren’t using the chemical agents but don’t let this discourage you they still do a great job.  My mom purchased these cleaning cloths, Wipe and  Glow,  that work with just water.  I was very skeptical so I had to try them out myself.  You just wet the cloth and wring it out so it’s damp but not wet then clean to your hearts content.  I used it on mirrors, windows (inside only), granite countertop, my windshield, computer and TV screens.  It worked like a charm.  You can buy them online from their website, at Veseys Seed and if you happen to be in Florida at the Flea Market in  St. Petersburg. 

Sorry no recipes for you today.  I’ll post some cleaning alternatives in Part 2.  Don’t forget to head on over and “Like” my Facebook page, if you haven’t already.

Happy St. Patricks  Day!! 

~ Jackie


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