One Simple Thing: Replace Your Nasty-Ass Spray Cleaner Today

| April 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Time: 1 minute, or a trip to the store.
Cost: $0.50 – $4.00.
Benefits: Health, Money, Pollution

I grew up fascinated with the women with perfect hair and nails on television, spraying the latest miracle cleaner on countertops, sinks, the mailman, etc.  Look!  You just spray it on, wipe it off, and all of those hateful, homicidal germs lurking on every surface in your house are dead, dead, dead!  You’re safe! You’re clean!  Isn’t that awesome?

Yeah, it’s awesome.  Except the chemical dreck you’re splashing around to combat this phantom menace are probably making you sick, or worse.

Nowadays I look at that aisle in the grocery store as a sort of legally-sanctioned mini-superfund site.  It’s full of things that have not been lifecycle tested, containing chemicals their manufacturers know full well hurt peoples’ health, but there are profits to be made, and that’s more important, right?  I get the creeps just walking down it.  Picture 7 billion people washing that stuff down the drain.  Where does it all end up?  Most of us won’t drink out of the toilet, but we’ll happily wash millions of tons of poison into the water system because the Formula 409 ad on TV says we need it to survive in this filthy world of ours.

“Our research has turned up products loaded with extremely toxic compounds banned in some countries.  Some of their ingredients are known to cause cancer, blindness, asthma and other serious conditions . . . and the multi-billion-dollar household cleaning products industry is largely unregulated.”

Environmental Working Group,  science-based, non-profit, non-partisan watch dog

I could go into the details of these kinds of products and their ingredients if I were hell-bent on depressing you, but instead I’ll give you the link and let you depress yourself if you’re in the mood:  http://www.ewg.org/cleaners/hallofshame/   You can search for the things you’ve got under your sink and decide for yourself whether you want to risk it.

INSTEAD, let’s take a look at swaps you can do now, today, that will get you off that crazy train:

  1. Change your attitude.  Most people I know have treasonous noses (ooh! good band name!)  They don’t think something is clean unless they can smell the chemicals.  You do not need to sterilize every single thing in your life. In fact, it’s not even remotely good for you.  Though there are certain situations in which disinfecting is prudent, most of us have been whipped into a germ-killing frenzy by billion-dollar marketing efforts of a few multinational companies who can benefit from your paranoia.  Take a deep breath.
  2. Use something different.  Check out this list, especially the ones with grade “A”, and be willing to pay a buck or two more for the privilege of not giving your kid asthma or not dying of cancer at 35:  http://www.ewg.org/guides/categories/2-AllPurpose
  3. Make it yourself.  We clean most surfaces around here with various combinations of vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice/peels, a few drops of natural dish soap, etc.  It takes about one minute to mix up a huge spray bottle of this, it costs about fifty cents, it smells great, and I don’t have to get my recommended daily allowance of 2-butoxyethanol.  Here are some great recipes on Apartment Therapy: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-diy-green-cleaning-recipes-141129
  4. Use less. A lot less.  If the mere thought of ditching your beloved scrubbing bubbles keeps you up at night, and you just can’t get through life without them, give yourself an allocation.  For example, a friend buys the smallest possible quantity of bleach for disinfecting tools and plant containers, and he makes a deal that it has to last for two years.  We use Nature’s Miracle spray cleaner (a must for people with old dogs…)  but use it sparingly, and it lasts a long time.

It’s one simple thing.  It’s easy, and costs five dollars or less.  Go forth and green yourself.

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Category: DIY, Home, One Simple Thing, Products (Green and hedonistic), Sustainable, Useful Stuff

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