As with fashion, crazes strike across a variety of industries. From styles in furniture and clothing to hairdos and vehicles, trends are ever-present in our daily lives. One trend that is still growing in its popularity is the use of natural cleaning products around the house. From spray cleaners and dish soap to laundry detergents, there are products available that claim to clean just as well without harmful toxins, but the question remains. Are they really better?
First, let’s take a look at what kinds of toxins are actually in traditional cleaners and what kinds of side effects they could have on you.
- Phthalates: these are commonly found in scented cleaning products, plug-in air fresheners, and spray air fresheners. Because of proprietary laws, companies are not required to list what is used in fragrances, so you may have products containing phthalates and not know it. If inhaled or absorbed through skin contact, phthalates could cause reduced sperm counts in men and can trigger migraines and asthma issues when inhaled.
- 2-Butoxyethanol: this is traditionally found in multipurpose cleaners and is also not required to be posted on a contents label. It is also known to cause sore throats when inhaled and, when inhaled at high levels, can cause narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage.
- Quarternary Ammonium Compounds “QUATS”: these are found in liquid fabric softeners and fabric softener sheets commonly. In addition to being a skin irritant, QUATS are suspected to contribute to respiratory disorders, and overexposure has even been known to cause asthma in some cases.
These few examples are enough to at least spark an interest in what natural cleaning products have to offer. Making a switch to natural products doesn’t mean that cleaning is going to take any longer, so no reason to be closed-minded about trying something new. In addition to the absence of harmful airborne toxins and skin irritants, natural cleaners improve the air quality in your home and keep surfaces safe and clean.
Vinegar, for example, is a common ingredient in some natural and homemade cleaners and serves a variety of purposes. One use for white vinegar is as a fabric softener. Rather than worrying about harmful QUATS in traditional softeners, pour some white vinegar into the wash with your regular detergent. The vinegar will work to make sure all soap residue is fully rinsed out of the clothes and will keep static cling away.
Baking soda is another common ingredient that can be used for household cleaning. From heavy duty jobs like removing stains and deep cleaning the kitchen to lighter jobs like cleaning fruit from the grocery store, baking soda can be used in a plethora of ways. Mix it with water to remove dirt and waxy coatings from store-bought fruits and vegetables or simply open a box of it and place it inside the refrigerator to absorb the sometimes stinky smells that develop in there.
There are tons of resources available to learn how to create your own cleaning products and detergents, and there are also guides to help you choose the right organic and natural cleaners at the store. But, our question still remains. Are natural cleaners really better than traditional cleaners? Though they do not clean the home any better than a traditional cleaner, natural cleaning products do a great job of keeping your home just as clean as it would be otherwise while also removing any harmful toxins from the process. The cleaning may not be better, but the overall nature of cleaning is improved through the use of natural cleaning products without toxins.