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FAQ – Chemical-Free Cleans

Natural / Green Cleaning For Allergy & Asthma Sufferers

Q: Is Natural Cleaning the same as Green Cleaning?
A: Green Cleaning is cleaning to protect our health without harming the Earth and environment. Effective natural cleaning products can be used or made from (a combination of) common household ingredients, such as: lemon juice, Borax, Vinegar, Salt, Mineral Oil, Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, Vegetable-based soap, and Isopropyl Alcohol. If you prefer to buy cleaning products vs. making your own, look for specific ingredients that perform effectively in lieu of VOCs, rather than buying into the labels and witty names. For example, look for products that have grain alcohol instead of toxic butyl cellosolve. Use borax instead of bleach. Also, look for products that are ‘petroleum free’ and avoid products that include phosphates (such as dishwasher soaps). You’ll also want to avoid any furniture polishes or PVC products that include phthalates.

Q: What is Non-Toxic Cleaning?
A: Non-Toxic Cleaning is a form of green cleaning with emphasis not only on environmental impact, but also on health impact. Non-toxic cleaning methods screen cleaning materials based on strict criteria to ensure no toxic chemicals are left on surfaces or in the air.

Q: What are biodegradable cleaning materials?
A: Biodegradable cleaning materials are the ones capable of being broken down by living things like micro-organisms, bacteria and fungi, then absorbed into the ecosystem.

Q: What is a Carcinogen?
A: A carcinogen is any substance that can cause or aggravate cancer. Many popular cleaning products – all-purpose cleaners, dishwashing liquids, furniture polish, oven cleaners, window cleaners, air fresheners, spray starch, and spot removers – might contain ingredients with known or suspected carcinogenic properties.

Q: Define Toxic Chemicals.

A: Toxic chemicals are substances that can cause severe illness, poisoning, birth defects, disease, or death when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed by living organisms.

Q: What are VOCs?
A: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are carbon-based chemicals that can form vapors at room temperature. Like solvents (most of them can be classified as VOCs), they easily evaporate into our homes’ air and come from two predominant sources: the release of toxic gases from synthetic materials like foams and plastics and the use of toxic cleaning products and other household chemicals.

Q: Can you give me some tips and facts about home toxicity?
A: 15 year study in Oregon, comparing women who didn’t work outside the home with women who did, found a 54% higher death rate from cancer in the women who stayed at home. The study suggested that chronic exposure to cleaning products played a role. (The Seventh Generation Guide to a Toxin Free Home)

EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2-5 times, and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Cleaning products and other household products are among the culprits (Environmental Protection Agency-EPA).

Approximately 85,000 chemicals are in use today. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, complete toxicological screening data is available for only 7% of these chemicals, and more than 90% have never been tested for their effects on human health. (Breast Cancer Fund)

Household cleaning products rank among the most toxic everyday substances to which people are exposed…most chemical brands are not safe. Some especially toxic household cleaners include ammonia, chlorine bleach, aerosol propellants, detergents, petroleum distillates, and toluene. Many of these substances not only harm the skin; they also give off toxic fumes that affect the person using the product and everyone else. Symptoms from ‘the flu’ to headaches have been associated with products we use to clean our furniture, bathrooms, and clothes as well as air fresheners to keep our bathrooms smelling pleasant (Raymond Francis, M.Sc., Never Be Sick Again).

Make your home safer for your family…. Use naturally derived, biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products. These products have proven to clean just as well, if not better, than traditional cleaning products without the side effects associated with the use of toxic chemical cleaners. Some of the major non-toxic cleaning products which are readily available include: Green Works, Melaleuca, Shaklee, and homemade products.

Some tips to make your home safer….

1) Open the windows and get plenty of fresh air circulation.
2) Be especially wary of all-purpose cleaners, paints, stains, aerosol sprays, and air fresheners.
3) Instead, use naturally-based non-toxic cleaners.
4) Fill your home with houseplants to help clean the air.
5) Avoid the following chemicals: alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), ammonia, butyl cellosolve, chlorine bleach, diethanolamine, fragrance, phosphates, sodium hydroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate
6) Look for products that are biodegradable and manufacturers that give plenty of information on their products. Simply by switching your toxic cleaning products over to green, sustainable, biodegradable products you can easily make your home safer for your family and pets.