Even though this spring may not feel very different from our exceptionally warm winter, it’s still time to do a little spring cleaning. But be careful – cleaning products are actually among the most significant sources of exposure to toxic chemicals in the home. They can contribute to indoor air pollution, and can be poisonous if ingested or even touched. According to the U.S. Poison Control Center, household cleaners are responsible for about 10% of all toxic exposures. So are all “green” cleaning products safe for you and the environment? And how do you know if that “natural” cleaner really is free of harmful toxins? Here are some quick tips to clean your way to a safe and healthy home:
- Watch for generic terms such as “fragrance”, which can conceal ingredients that may cause allergies and other health effects.
- Consult GoodGuide to see if your product of choice contains any chemicals of high risk, such as triclosan, alkyl phenol ethoxylates or ammonium quaternary compounds.
- Choose products that are efficiently packaged in recyclable containers.
- Look for cleaning products whose formulations have been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment program or GreenSeal.
- You can always make your own cleaners. For example, vinegar and baking soda will unclog a drain.
- Read more about issues with household cleaners here.