Why do you clean your house? Aside from making it look better, you probably do it to get it free of bacteria and other harmful pathogens that could make you or your family sick. But what if your household cleaning products–the stuff you use to protect yourself from gunk and germs–are also harmful? According to a report by the Environmental Working Group, many of them are. But don’t worry. There are plenty of clean, green alternatives.
In the review of more than 2,000 soaps, detergents, air fresheners, and other household cleaning products, the EWG’s research found that only seven percent of them accurately let consumers know what’s even in them. More than half can cause lung irritation or damage. Nearly a quarter were found to cause asthma.
What kind of crap can you expect to find in household cleaners? Harmful chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens, mostly. Toxins like formaldehyde, chloroform, and 1,4-dioxane, were found in many of the samples tested. And even those that were supposedly “green” or “safe” frequently omitted necessary information on their labels, making it impossible for consumers to know if those claims were true or not.
The EWG gave the cleaners A through F ratings, based on safety of ingredients, incidents of allergic reactions, and disclosure of chemicals. You can see the top-rated ones here (hint: Dr. Bronner’s is, unsurprisingly, a big winner), and learn how to decode those vague, misleading, and often incomplete labels with their guide.
But if you’re still torn about which soaps, detergents, and other products to use (or you’re fresh out and you need an alternative in a pinch), here are some straight-from-the-kitchen alternatives that are non-toxic, super-safe, and definitely cheaper than shelling our for sometimes-expensive eco-friendly options.
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