Cleaning can be a conundrum. It’s something we all have to do (or at least pay someone to do it for us!). And, there are endless products to choose from. But that’s not the conundrum. The issue? The products you use could be swapping one issue for another.
Yes, a good cleaning will whisk away dust, germs, and general “ickiness”, however what is taking their place? Chemicals.
So, what’s the big deal? It’s on the shelf at the store, so it must be safe, right? Not necessarily.
There is really no polite way to share this information, so I’m going to dive right in. There are well over 85,000 chemicals that either have been or are in use today that have never (never!) been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government for human safety.
(Um, how did this happen?!)
Here’s the skinny… The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), enacted in1976, grandfathered in the use of 62,000 chemicals that were being used at that time with no requirement to test for human and environmental safety.
Since then, not only have more chemicals been added to TSCA’s inventory, the EPA has only managed to require the safety testing for approximately 200 of these chemicals, leaving us with an abundance of “innocent until proven guilty” ingredients used in, on, and around humans and our homes every day.
So, are all chemicals bad? No. However, you are empowered to know what is in the products you use and how they may impact your health.
I’ve heard many of my clients say that they already use healthy cleaning products. And, yes, some manufacturers are producing products with less chemicals. The EPA has even developed their own stamp of approval, Safer Choice. (Note the nuance – safer vs. safe).
Many products marketed as environmentally friendly, safer, or healthier often sport green bottles and pictures or logos representing nature. This marketing practice is called “Greenwashing”. While these products may provide healthier alternatives to others, many still contain chemicals that can have a negative impact on your health.
Healthy Cleaning Resources
So, what’s a gal to do? Luckily, there are several resources out there that genuinely have our backs (and our skin, organs, and other body parts!).
My absolute favorite is the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. They use an A through F scoring system that is based on standards for health and transparency. As lack of ingredient disclosure and health hazards increase for both humans and the environment, the score declines. As a bonus, when you click on the product, EWG provides the specific concerns.
Another helpful resource is Clearya. This handy-dandy Google Chrome extension will alert you to ingredients of concern for the items in your online shopping cart for Amazon, Walmart, Sephora, iHerb, and Love Letter. The only downside is that if the product ingredients aren’t listed on the website, Clearya has nothing to alert you about. This is where the EWG resources can be helpful.
If a product is not listed on EWG, look at the ingredients label. A simple internet search for “health effects from chemical XYZ” will be an eye-opener.
Make your own cleaning products.
Someone once told me, “If you can’t eat it, don’t clean with it”. While I do still use one or two healthier, store-bought cleaning products in my home, for the most part, I could actually eat my cleaning products.
Over the years, I have found that everyday items like white vinegar, baking soda, kosher salt, water, olive oil, castile soap, and hydrogen peroxide will clean almost everything. (However, I don’t clean with food-grade hydrogen peroxide and I don’t eat castile soap).
Not only is my home clean in a healthy way, I save a LOT of money by not purchasing cleaning products.
Good Clean Living
Let’s face it, most of us have spent more time at home during 2020 than we ever thought possible. It’s more important now than ever to make sure our homes are healthy so that we are healthy.
For more on what you can do to improve the health of your home, read my recent blog “5 Tips for a Healthier Home Right Now”.
Have you implemented any of these practices? Let me know. Do you have questions on how you can improve the health of your home and the people who live there? Let’s talk. Click HERE to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation.
Until next time…