Even as we take a tonne load of precautions and safety measures, the cleaning products that we use in our household can be dangerous to little ones. Whether you’re looking to make an eco-friendly switch or for safer options for your little ones, there are some great natural options out there that clean efficiently but without the harmful chemicals getting in the way of daily living. We’ve curated a bunch of DIY cleaning products that you can take into account, and also tips on selecting cleaning products that are non-toxic and safe for the entire family, so you won’t have to worry about your little ones or your pets accidentally coming into contact with toxic substances.
Avoid Products That Has Fragrance
‘Fragrance’ is a catch-all term that signifies that there could be anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands toxic, unregulated substances in the ingredients. Many of the ingredients hiding under this label have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormonal imbalances, and allergies. Some of the worst culprits are phthalates, polyethene glycol (PEG) compounds, and formaldehyde. One of the most impactful steps you could make to clean up your household is to remove all cleaning, personal care, or home products with ‘fragrance’, ‘parfum’, ‘fragrance oil’, or ‘natural fragrance’ listed on the package.
Avoid These Ingredients
Though there are more toxins out there, this is a great place to start.
- Ammonia - Toxic when inhaled, swallowed, or touched. Ammonia can be potentially deadly when mixed with the wrong stuff so its best to avoid it altogether.
- Antibacterials & Disinfectants - These include a whole list of ingredients ranging from Bleach to Triclosan. The overuse of these types of products are blamed for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the truth is that extreme disinfectants are rarely needed. Your DIY Household cleaners (even dish detergent), or a bit of soap and water should be most of what you’ll ever need. There are natural options, just read the labels!
- Butyl Glycol, Ethylene Glycol, Monobutyl -This is common in most general cleaners and is dangerous to the nervous system, liver & kidneys.
- Chlorine Bleach - Bleach is very strong, corrosive and irritating to both the eyes and lungs. Avoid this stuff when at all possible – plus you’ll probably save some cash by not accidentally getting bleach spots on clothes and other household fabrics.
- Petroleum Solvents - Many ingredients are derived from petroleum and are commonly found in many cleaning products as surfactants(watch for this term on ingredient lists). Other derivatives, including formaldehyde, can be found in a variety of household cleaners.
- Phosphates - These are harmful to aquatic life and are often found in laundry & dish detergents.
- Phthalates- Watch for fragrance on ingredient lists. Phthalates are hormone disruptive that are often components of complex synthetic fragrances. Avoid artificial scents at all costs. They are toxic and this goes for everything from cleaners to shampoo to candles. Choose options that say “Phthalate Free” or mention the use of essential oils for fragrance.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Products tell you right on the packaging if they are dangerous. This is good news, though you may have to look at several products before finding one you are satisfied when you first start out. Bottom line – listen to them and stay away! It’s so easy. Avoid products with terms like Caution, Corrosive, Danger, Irritant, Poison, or Warning. Instead, look for products that don’t say they’re toxic and suggest simply to “drink water” if consumed. That’s a good thing to see!
Check The Ingredients
Start at the ingredient list. If the product you pick up doesn’t tell you what’s in it then put that one back down. Send that company a message and do not purchase their product. Transparency is huge when looking for safe products in this day and age. While there may be safe products without a disclosed ingredient list, you have no way of knowing that the product you are about to use is safe. The absence of an ingredient list is a big red flag and it’s not worth the risk.
DIY Your Own Children-Safe Cleaning Products
Yes, it may sound like a hassle, but it actually is really easy simple to make your own cleaning products that are not only effective but are safe for the family. All you need to do is look in your kitchen for the ingredients. You can make a good kitchen cleaner with some baking soda and a little soap. Diluted vinegar is good for cleaning windows.