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Green Cleaning for Healthy Homes

By Kate Safin, East End Food Co-op

Keeping a clean home is obviously important for your health, but what if the cleaning products you are using are toxic? The Clean Water Fund estimates the average American uses 40 pounds of toxic household cleaning products each year, including bleach, formaldehyde, phosphates, and phthalates. Many of these chemicals have been found to be endocrine disruptors; they linger in our homes, in our air, on our clothes, and can even be harmful to our pets. Research recently published in the Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that regular use of cleaning sprays impacts lung health in ways comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. Yikes! So what can you do to keep a healthy home and a healthy body? Try switching to some greener alternatives! Soon you'll see harsh chemicals aren't necessary for real results. There are several brands of eco-friendly cleaners available, or you can create some tried-and-true cleaners with regular household items.  Baking soda and vinegar are a powerful team that work well to scrub sinks, tubs, and other surfaces. These alternatives are just as powerful as harsh cleaners and have the added benefits of being cheaper and better for you and the environment.

Here are a few homemade green cleaners you can try:

Lemon Oil Duster

  • 10 drops pure lemon oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • A few drops olive oil

Put all ingredients in a bottle and shake to blend. Use a clean, recycled flannel cotton cloth to mop up dusty surfaces.

Window Cleaner

  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ½ tsp. natural liquid soap (such as Ecover dishwashing liquid or Dr.
  • 2 cups water

Put all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to blend. Spray directly onto glass and wipe clean with newspaper, squeegee, or cotton cloth.

Lavender & Tea Tree Cleaning Spray

  • 1/2 tsp. lavender essential oil
  • 1/2 tsp. tea tree essential oil
  • 1 tsp. unscented liquid soap
  • 15 fluid ounces water
  • 16-ounce spray bottle

Combine soap and essential oils in a bottle. Top with water, replace lid and shake until well blended. To use, spray on surface and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

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