There are so many dangerous and toxic chemicals used in detergents, polishers and other cleaning products. They not only endanger the lives of people in the home but also cause wide spread pollution and degradation of water supplies. Prior to using detergents, strong acids, phosphates and caustics for cleaning people used gentler ways to clean that were safe in the home and easy on the environment such as vinegar, lemon, soap, salt and baking soda. Green cleaning is all about going back to the traditional wisdom about cleaning. A time before big money was to be made by selling ‘super products’ that dissolve fat, grease and stains in seconds.
Phosphates in laundry detergents are, in particular, doing great damage to the environment. They feed on human sewage and farm run-off to make algae bloom that is chocking marine life in the oceans, lakes and rivers. It is such a problem that some areas have already banned the sale of detergents containing phosphates.
Before the war people used soap flakes to do their washing – made from fatty acids found in natural oils such as olive oil, cocoa butter, hemp oil and shea butter. They clean without polluting. Another alternative is to use Maggie’s Soap Nuts made from Chinese soapberry fruit. It contains natural saponin and cleans just as well as petroleum based detergents.
Strong acids, alkalies and caustics are found in cleaning products for plastic, for toilets, for glass, for surfaces and for other items. They burn the skin and are poisonous if swallowed. The green option is to use vinegar, salt, lemon and baking powder. Between these 4 safe and natural products you can do most of your cleaning.
Vinegar is an acid that should be diluted with water. You can use it to clean glass. It also removes mineral deposits in kettles and coffee machines. It can also be used as a solvent for cleaning epoxy resins. Vinegar and newspaper is a tried and tested formula for cleaning windows. You can also use it to polish brass and bronze.
Lemon peel oil can be used to polish wood – it has a natural solvent called d-limonene that can dissolve wax and grime. Lemon dipped in salt can clean copper and lemon mixed with baking soda can remove stains from metal surfaces and plastic. Lemon is also acidic and makes a good cleaning agent because it is anti bacterial.
These natural products that are so safe you can eat them. They can replace polishes containing VOCs, detergents and other strong chemical based cleaning products. They are good for both your health and for the health of the planet.