Spring Cleaning - Hold the Toxins!

A clean house sounds great, but volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in most conventional, store bought cleaners and this can increase the toxin load of indoor air quality.

If you are anything like me once there is a hint of Spring in the air I want to thoroughly clean my house, but did you know that many of the cleaners you have in your cupboard are loaded with toxins that are harmful to your health?


What are VOCs?

VOCs are a large group of carbon based chemicals. These chemicals are found in cleaning products, air fresheners, carpets, cosmetics, kitchen cupboards, paints, glues and other household items.

We often think that outdoor air quality is worse than the air we breath indoors, but in fact the VOC levels in your home may be two to five times higher than those out of doors.


Effects of VOCs

Inhaling VOC’s can cause a host of health ailments:

  • eye, nose and throat irritation
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • asthma
  • risk of cancer
  • damage to kidney, liver and central nervous system


Green Products

Unfortunately many companies use vague or non specific claims about being ‘green’ or environmentally friendly. When shopping for healthier options look for verifiable eco-labels, read labels, and remember to avoid these ingredients.

  • phthalates
  • chlorine bleach
  • ammonia
  • sodium laureth sulphate
  • ethoxylated alchols
  • fragrance


Make Your Own Cleaners

Baking soda - cleans, deodorizes, scours

Lemon – fights against household bacteria

Borax – cleans deodorizes, disinfects, cleans

Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, stains and wax build-up

Tea tree oil – antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic

All purpose cleaner - mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 2 gallons of water

Bathroom mold - mix on part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water in a spray bottle. Spray on mold, let sit for an hour then wipe

Glass cleaner - mix 2 cups water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle

Kitchen sink, counters and cutting boards - rub half a lemon over surfaces and rinse with hot water

By going back to a few natural cleaning ingredients, we can keep our houses clean and our bodies healthy!


- Shirley Plant
Shirley Plant is a nutritionist and the author of Finally… Food I Can Eat, a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies, and those looking for healthy, tasty recipes. Shirley offers dietary counselling and menu planning through Delicious Alternatives.: www.deliciousalternatives.com








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