Did you know you probably have these two most powerful household cleaners in your cabinet right now? Two of the most common and inexpensive household items can be used to cleanse your home without all the toxins found in conventional cleaning products.
Learn about the 10 most toxic chemicals commonly found on product labels.
The cleaners you find on the shelves of your local supermarket are filled to the brim with toxins. In fact, labeling of cleaning products is virtually unregulated -- each one could have thousands of ingredients, many of them unknown and harmful. Check out these 5 toxic ingredients that are in most cleaning products in store shelves.
Top 5 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Cleaning Products
- Chlorine bleach
- Sodium Hydroxide
The term 'fragrance' is a catch-all for more than 3,000 ingredients. So if you see it on your label, you could be bringing thousands of chemicals into your home. That's just the beginning! And when cleaners have warnings about using their products only in areas with adequate ventilation and with gloves, you know something’s wrong.
Bleach has become a well-known hazard, but strangely, it’s often overused during cleaning in poorly ventilated areas, and when mixed with other chemicals like ammonia in mildew removers, it can be deadly. Bleach is a serious irritant to the eyes, mouth, lungs and skin -- the toxic effects of bleach are far-reaching and include breathing problems (especially for asthma sufferers), reproductive and developmental effects, and even cancer.
Sodium hydroxide is extremely corrosive. It can burn the skin and eyes, and cause severe lung and throat irritation. Found in oven cleaners, mold and mildew removers, and drain openers.
Ammonia is a polishing agent found in glass cleaner. It’s a strong gas and powerful lung irritant. Poisoning can occur if inhaled regularly or for an extended period of time. People with asthma are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of ammonia, and it creates an especially poisonous gas when mixed with bleach.
Triclosan is a ubiquitous chemical used as an antibacterial agent often found in household cleaners. It’s been linked as a cause in creating antibiotic resistant superbugs, and human liver toxicity with thyroid dysfunction.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
For just pennies and a little know-how, you can keep your home clean from dirt, viruses, bacteria and toxic chemicals.
It's so much safer to stick with the simple, low-cost, non-toxic options. You can replace your bleach, glass cleaner, spray disinfectant, scouring cleanser and drain cleaner with baking soda and vinegar.
Vinegar is an effective disinfectant -- it kills salmonella, E. coli, mold and mildew. No need for chlorine bleach! Vinegar can also polish metal and windows, remove mineral deposits left from hard water, and make your glassware shine. Is it better than bleach? Read how vinegar does in comparison to bleach.
Baking soda is an incredible deodorizer and scrubbing agent. It can remove odors from laundry, carpet, food containers, upholstered furniture and the fridge. Use it to scrub your cast iron cookware or your sink and tub as well.
The only thing shouldn’t be cleaned with vinegar is natural stone. It's acidic nature can cause etching that can't be undone. And baking soda can be abrasive, so it's better to leave it for everything but glass
12 Natural Cleaning Methods Using Vinegar and Baking Soda
- All Purpose Scented Cleaner - place citrus peels in a jar of vinegar and let it sit for 2 weeks. It minimizes the vinegar smell and replaces it with a much more pleasant, fruity scent. Use this for all of your vinegar cleaning needs. Or make Citrus Enzyme Cleaner and add vinegar at the end for extra cleaning power.
- Pots and Pans Cleaner - sprinkle baking soda onto cast iron or pan with stuck-on food and scrub. Rinse and repeat until clean. You can also clean burnt stainless steel pans similarly too.
- Natural Clogged Drain Opener - the most natural way to clean your clogged drain uses only baking soda and for worst cases, vinegar. Don't use caustic commercial drain cleaners that are harmful when inhaled but also can cause skin irritations.
- Hard Water Mineral Deposit Remover - soak shower head or other metal with hard water mineral deposits in vinegar overnight
- Front Loading Washing Machine Maintenance - maintain your front loader monthly with these steps to prevent mildew and mold. You can use a similar protocol for top loading machines too.
- Use as Dishwasher Rinse Aid - pour 1 cup of vinegar into dishwasher's "WASH" compartment that opens up before rinse cycle when using homemade dishwasher detergents to make your glasswares shine and leaves them spotless.
- Clean Radiant or Glass Stove Top - using baking soda and vinegar, you can bring back shine to your glass top stove. You can skip the toxic oven cleaner leaving baking soda on the oven surfaces with dishwashing soap over night and wipe it clean with water or vinegar next day.
- Laundry - add ½ cup baking soda per load to eliminate odor. Add 1 cup of vinegar to the fabric softener compartment to make your clothes soft.
- Glass or Mirror cleaner - Use 100% vinegar in a spray bottle for spotless and streak free glass or mirror. Clean with newspaper for lint free cleaning.
- Disinfectant - 50/50 water and vinegar in spray bottle for most countertops.
- Scouring Scrub - Make this "Soft Scrub" formula for cleaning tubs and sinks for non-abrasive scouring action.
- Make Washing Soda with Baking Soda - Washing Soda is a powerful laundry helper. It cleans and removes stains better than just using laundry detergent. But it can also be used to make homemade laundry detergents. But some people can't find it in their local stores. But don't fret; you can make your own washing soda with baking soda at much cheaper price.
TIP: Don’t mix baking soda and vinegar unless you need the bubbling action for something like opening a drain. The two neutralize each other and become much less effective disinfecting and deodorizing agents. Also, do not mix vinegar with bleach which produces toxic fumes.
How do YOU use vinegar and baking soda to clean your home? Share in the comments below.
Terry @ The Cleaner Putney says
I didn't know that baking soda and vinegar combined neutralize each other and become much less effective. I usually clean my shower head with vinegar and after that, I scrub with baking soda. I've never had any problems.
Dr. Karen Lee says
If you use the vinegar to clean first and then use baking soda, then it's not a problem. But if you add the two ingredients together in a bowl, you'll see them neutralizing each other by the bubbles they create.
Patricia Foster says
Such simple, yet practical tips. I am hearing more often about the miraculous benefits of baking soda and vinegar, but this list is very helpful indeed. The information is very clearly laid out.
I also love your site and blog.
Cathy Sykora says
Wonderful alternatives to the harmful chemicals that are all around us. Thank you for the useful suggestions.
Nicole Parsons says
Perfect suggestions about how and in what cases we can clean with vinegar and baking soda. Most of the people I know, especially mothers, are using only natural cleaners. We all share the same opinion, that the natural products are perfect cleaners, they don't smell they way the toxic cleaners smelt and are much cheaper!
Dawn @Oh Sweet Mercy says
This is a great list of ways to clean with vinegar and baking soda! Thanks so much! I quit using commercial cleaning products years ago and now when I walk down the laundry aisle to get washing soda, man it is just a bombardment to the senses and I can hardly stand it!
[email protected] says
You are the queen of cleaning! Pinning!
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
This is so important! It amazes me how many people still use all of those toxic cleaners. I love using baking soda and vinegar.
I LOVE this. The info and research is all here-I'm sending this to my husband (a crazy cleaner) so that we can start to implement this in our house. Pinning!
Dr. Karen Lee says
My husband and yours would get along! He drives me nuts with all the fancy cleaners he brings home. Even the 'natural' ones have scent and we can't stand it. He's finally getting used to my formulas though. Once you show your husband how effective they are, he'll get over the fancy stuff too. Good Luck!
The Food Hunter says
I use both all the time.
Dr. Karen Lee says
Aren't they greatest?
Fantastic suggestions! Pinned to my cleaning board!
Dr. Karen Lee says
Awesome Linda! Thank You!
Beth Martin says
Great timing! I just hired a new house cleaner who is willing to use non-toxic products. I know what I'll be doing this weekend! Thanks for sharing.
Dr. Karen Lee says
My cleaner switched what she uses in other houses after she used mine. She says she loves them and uses them in her home too! Love happy endings!