Thank you to my friend, Claire, for asking me to write a post on this because after consulting the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and doing some research I learned there is a difference between making your own cleaning products and making your own GREEN or SAFE (i.e. healthy) cleaning products.
Healthy living encompasses the products we use everyday in our house or on our bodies. Since my children were newborns I have used laundry detergents that were free of dyes and fragrances, especially since they have sensitive skin and were prone to eczema as babies. I have made my own detergent as well and was pleasantly surprised by the results. What I didn’t like about the homemade detergent was that there were clumps in what was supposed to be liquid detergent. The recipes did suggest using warm or hot water to dissolve the clumps, but I prefer to wash 99% of my laundry on the cold cycle. I also just realized that the Borax I was using in the recipe was given an F rating for reproductive and organ toxicity from the EWG. In fact my preferred store bought detergent, All Free and Clear, has also been given an F rating for the same reason. So back to the drawing board. The next time I make laundry detergent I plan on using a combination of baking soda, super washing soda, vinegar, and castile soap. All of which have been given a rating of A according to the EWG.
I have also tried making my own all purpose cleaning spray using two different recipes I found online. The first used Borax, and the second used Dawn Ultra dish soap. Both of which get a rating of D from the EWG. Needless to say I am striking out here and need to start from scratch. Good news is that I didn’t like either spray as they left a film behind.
I do have two hits when it comes to a general bathroom cleaner and furniture polish. The bathroom cleaner only uses baking soda and distilled white vinegar. Both get A ratings and work to clean the bathtub, sink, and toilet. While, it is not as convenient or quite as effective, as say Soft Scrub or Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner, it is cheaper and certainly way SAFER, as both products are rated between C, D, and F depending on the actual product. The furniture polish consists of a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and warm water. Works well and smells nice! All good!
True green cleaning products tend to be very expensive, so I think the most frugal way to be green and get safe cleaning products is to make your own. If you are interested to find out more about safe cleaning products check out the EWG‘s website. They even have a label decoder that will help translate technical terms and ad hype on products. Look for future posts on safe homemade cleaning products and recipes.