Cleaning is one of the tasks that form an inescapable part of our lives. As great as it would be if everything stayed clean all the time, that just isn’t the case. The carpets get dirty, the toilet and bathtub start to look a bit funky after a while, the floors accumulate hair and dirt…it never ends. Inevitably, you have to bust out your cleaning supplies to make them nice and clean again. But do you know what is in these cleaners? Many of them contain harsh chemicals are not just bad for your health, but also for the environment. Indeed, many of the contaminants in your drinking water originate from improperly disposed cleaning agents.
Many household products contain chemicals that can cause injury not just to yourself and those around you, but also to your environment as well. Take a look on the warnings present on many cleaning products: in addition to the warnings present for children and pets, some solutions used for bathroom and kitchens tell you to only use in a well-ventilated area with eye goggles on! This is very revealing in regards to what is in these cleaners. Furthermore, the EPA does not regulate the use of many of these chemicals, and many suppliers do not bother to list the information on the bottles themselves, simply because they don’t have to. This list details many of these chemicals and the symptoms they can cause. Notice how long it is?
In many conventional household cleaning products, the pH of the solutions is the issue. pH measures how acidic or alkaline a solution is . A completely neutral solution is pH 7 (think distilled water). Lower values are acidic, and higher values are alkaline. The scale is logarithmic, so an increase/decrease of 1 means the solution is ten times more acidic or alkaline than the previous value. Vinegar works as an effective cleaner because it has a pH of approximately 2.4. While highly acidic, it’s not as acidic as stomach acid and won’t harm you if it is ingested or touches your skin. For reference, an apple has a pH of 3.
Sodium hydroxide has a pH of 14, which is an equivalent strength of a pH value of 0 (hydrochloric acid) – which is why even so much as a 2% solution that comes into contact with your skin can cause severe burns. Ingesting can be fatal – if you’re lucky you’ll just wind up with permanent, lifelong damage. Drain cleaners in particular make use of this, but other scrubbers use either more diluted solutions or the less alkaline solution ammonia. Oh, and that is to say nothing of the chloramine gases produced when you mix bleach and ammonia together, and these two components are commonly used in many household cleaners! Should you accidentally mix the two at any point, the results can be very severe, even life-threatening.
So you may be asking yourself now: is there any safe alternative I can use to clean my house without harming myself or the environment? Yes there is! I dedicated a whole section to pH to give you an idea of how potentially harmful certain ingredients can be – but they can also be very helpful, too. For example: soap is basic in nature, but much of its effectiveness stems from the way it interacts with the acidic environment of your skin. Vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice are three other ingredients that can kill most stains, dirt and mold without being harmful to the environment in any way.
The pH of these three ingredients is 2.2 (lemon juice), 2.4 (vinegar) and 9 (baking soda) – much less extreme than the ammonia (11) or lye (13+) used in other cleaners. Baking soda is great for removing smells and odors, lemon juice is great as a disinfectant, and vinegar will scrub clean mold, mildew and grease. Many drains can even be unclogged with baking soda, then a pour of vinegar and finally some boiling water. By contrast, the lye used in most drain cleaners is corrosive, extremely toxic and can leech into the water supply if not disposed of properly – which many times it isn’t!
Furthermore, these ingredients, while possessing a (sometimes strong) smell, do not derive their scents from the artificial compounds used in your average household cleaning products. Some of these, like phthalates, can cause long-term harm to you and those around you. Other options like hydrogen peroxide, washing soda and isopropyl alcohol can also perform the same task as many conventional cleaners without any of the harmful chemicals that can harm you and your surrounding environment.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge and information you need to avoid harmful chemicals and make use of ones that are not, you might be wondering what products would fit that niche well. A great product that does all the cleaning you need without the harsh chemicals involved is EcoClean’s Home & Garden 20% Vinegar solution. It comprises of just vinegar and water: it serves not just as an effective and all-natural cleaner, but it is versatile: it can be used to kill weeds and pests in your garden, it can be used to pickle foods, it can even be used to clean your dishes.
The Home & Garden 20% Vinegar Solution uses containers made from biodegradable materials that do not take decades (or longer) to break down, and there are no harsh chemicals that can leech into the soil or water supply. If you order a four-pack of these, it will cost less than $0.14/ounce, and the product lasts for a long time! The four gallons you get will wind up saving you money over the long term as you’ll find that it works for the vast majority of cleaning tasks you’ll have. Once you see how well this product works, you’ll never want to go back to the old way of doing things. Start living better and order today!