Make a non-toxic home cleaning kit

I decided to accept Josh's poo poo attitude as a challenge to do more.

While I dislike the attitude we've developed of constantly buying things and then throwing them away, I accept that giving up some disposable products may not be the only way, or the best way, to reduce waste (though I do contend it's a good start).

I found this interesting site produced by the Minnesota office of Environmental Assistance which offers suggestions on reducing waste in your home. They also have a page for reducing waste at the office, school, during the holidays, etc.

As Josh pointed out, one way I haven't begun to consider waste is the chemicals I use. Though John and I do enjoy some Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products (which are eco-friendly and smell good too) that we received as a wedding gift, for the most part we just use what's on sale.

So Minnesota is offering suggestions for a non-toxic home cleaning kit, involving products seen here: Baking soda , Vinegar , Plant-based detergents , Vegetable oil with lemon juice. I would also like to add that they suggest using cloth rags rather than disposable "bleached" towels.

They also suggest, specifically for laundry:
"Instead of more complicated detergents, try using a combination of washing soda and borax in your machine. These are usually as effective as more complex formulas and are also usually cheaper."


whitney said...

so...why is a simpler (less complex) formula better? is it because you know what all the ingredients are?

Chara said...

What is washing Soda? Is it like baking soda? I have to admit that this interests me.


Laura and John said...

It's because of all the extra chemicals in the detergents - phosphates hurt our watersupply, perfumes and fillers can cause bad reactions, and many remain untested.

"Many commercial cleaners contain substances that are toxic and can burn skin or eyes on contact. Without proper ventilation, their use can also cause injury from harmful fumes. According to the Poison Control Center, in 1997 there were approximately 230,000 overexposures nationwide to household cleaners of which 7 were fatal.

Thoughtless disposal of hazardous products can have harmful impacts on people and the environment. Disposal in trash, or pouring them down the drain, can disrupt wastewater systems, seriously injure waste handlers, and contaminate drinking water." - wswmd.org

Laura and John said...

Another thing that I think is interesting is that we buy special detergent to wash baby things in because they have less harsh chemicals. We don't seem to realize these harsh chemicals we use for other things might affect them poorly too.

whitney said...

ha--that's something i find interesting too, but for a slightly different reason. if we have to take such good care of a baby's skin, why don't we treat our own skin that well? if *my* laundry detergent is bad for them, is it really so great for me?

little bit off topic, but not really: have you heard about the guy who invented a way to power a car using water? it's somewhere on youtube...also if you google HHO, i think it's the third hit.

Shirley said...

I was so glad that you mentioned these cleaning products! I'm allergic to all cleaning products (I need a Haz Mat suit to clean house) and I can't wait to try these. AND, they smell good, too! Who could ask for anything more?!

It's such fun to learn things from my lovely, intelligent, nieces. I have the best time reading your blogs.