Mainstream cleaning products can be toxic - do it yourself cleaning products can be an alternative

Sustainable Lifestyle Consultant - Sustainable cleaning recipes by %22Fresh Clean Home%22.png

On a recent getaway to the countryside to get away from London’s hustle and bustle, we came across this inspiring book about how to clean your house with natural cleaning products which you can put together yourself. Green living blogger Wendy Graham has put together recipes for natural cleaning products that are not only easy to make, but are also skin friendly and sustainable for the environment as well. A recent study found that “regular use of cleaning sprays has an impact on lung health comparable with smoking a pack of cigarettes every day”. The study, conducted by American Thoracic Society, concluded that chemicals in cleaning products can irritate the fragile mucous membranes lining the lungs, and suggested that people use only microfibre cloths and water for cleaning purposes.

To really understand how toxic cleaning products can be, we referred to, which lists the following chemical ingredients found in commercial fabric softeners:

  • Alpha Terpineol: can cause central nervous damage and respiratory problems

  • Camphor: causes central nervous disorders, is easily absorbed through skin

  • Chloroform: a carcinogenic neurotoxin preferred by Ted Bundy

  • Benzyl Acetate: linked to pancreatic cancer

  • Benyl Alcohol: respiratory tract irritant

  • Ethanol: on the EPA’s “hazardous waste” list, can cause central nervous system disorders

  • Ethyl Acetate: a narcotic on the EPA’s “hazardous waste” list

  • Limonene: a known carcinogen that irritates eyes and skin

  • Linalool: causes central nervous system disorders and depresses heart activity

There are, however, many sustainable alternatives, as more and more sustainable cleaning products and brands are introduced to the market. A word of caution though - consumers should be careful and really try to understand the ingredients of those cleaning products as generic claims as “environmental friendly” can be also deceiving. We mainly use products by the company Ecover to clean our house as their full range of cleaning products uses biodegradable plant-based ingredients as opposed to the more widely used oil-based ingredients. 

We were really inspired by our new book “Fresh Clean Home” and, following the suggestions made in the book, we would like to try to use more essential oils, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, salt or citrus fruit to clean our home in the future. But this is not all: this excellent book also includes eco-friendly recipes for window and mirror cleaner, carpet and upholstery spot cleaner, bathroom shiners, laundry powders and sticky stuff remover and many more.

For more information on how harmful cleaning products are:

For more information on chemical content of fabric softeners:

For more information on Ecover products: