According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of the more than 75,000 registered chemicals, only a fraction has been tested for human health effects. Improper use and disposal of these chemicals can have a negative effect on our health and the environment. In the US, we generate 1.6 million tons of harmful household chemicals, and the average home can accumulate as much as 300 pounds of household hazardous waste. Check out these tips for reducing the chemicals in your home and for potentially saving money too.
Green Cleaning Tips
Read Labels: Reading labels can tell you a lot about the product and its possible health effects. Watch for signal words like caution, warning, danger, poison, flammable, corrosive, & toxic.
Use Cleaners Safely: Do not mix cleaners, especially ones with chlorine or bleach. Always use cleaners for their intended purpose and never forget test a formula first. Wear gloves while using cleaners to prevent chemicals from touching your skin. If you do make your own cleaners, remember to label the containers clearly.
Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste Properly: Keep household hazardous waste out of drains, storm sewers, trash containers, and off of the ground. Bring old and unwanted cleaners to The Recycling Zone to be properly disposed of for free.
Go Reusable: Remember to stock your cleaning kit with reusable and washable cleaning supplies such as rags, sponges, and spray bottles. An old cut up shirt works well too! Choose cellulose sponges, which are not anti-bacterial.
All-Purpose Cleaner Recipes
*4 tablespoons baking soda
*1 quart warm water
Dissolve baking soda in water. Apply with sponge. Wipe clean.
*1 teaspoon plant oil-based liquid dish soap
*1 quart warm water
*A squeeze of lemon
Combine ingredients in a small bucket. Apply with a sponge or rag. Wipe clean.
1/8 cup washing soda (or Borax)
1 tablespoon plant oil-based liquid dish soap
1/4 cup vinegar
2 gallons hot water
Mix ingredients in a pail or bottle.
Apply with cloth or in spray bottle. Wipe clean. (Apply to floors with a mop).
For more recipes including pest controls, furniture polishes, air fresheners and more,visit the Dakota County webpage on green cleaning recipes.