Spring Cleaning: End Your Kitchen Chemical Romance Spring Cleaning: End Your Kitchen Chemical Romance
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Spring Cleaning: End Your Kitchen Chemical Romance

by Jillian Anthony

April 15, 2012

This challenge is in partnership with Levi's ®

Monsters may be lurking under your kitchen sink rather than your bed. The Environmental Working Group found that some home cleaning products are made with chemicals linked to asthma, cancer and reproductive toxicity, among other serious health issues. Here are some ideas to keep your home clean, green, and chemical-free.

  • For the time you spend actually using the sink, keep in mind that your dishwasher uses less water on average than you do to get all those dinner plates clean—hand-washing uses 20 gallons on average, while newer dishwashers can use as little as four gallons. If you do wash by hand, fill up a bowl and only turn on your tap to rinse.
  • Ditch paper towels. Switch to reusable dish towels or even ratty old shirts and you can save up to $100 a year.
  • Plastic trash bags can take centuries to biodegrade, trapping the trash inside of them. Go with a biodegradable version like the fully compostable and degradable Bio Bag. And stop hoarding plastic grocery bags. Less than one percent of plastic bags are recycled each year, and Americans use about 1 billion shopping bags annually, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste. Instead, buy reusable ones from your local grocery store.
  • Buy natural products with a seal of approval from an independent green-rating company like Green Seal. A lot of items under your sink contain harmful chemicals such as lye or ammonia, especially oven cleaners and de-cloggers like Draino that have to be strong enough to dissolve human hair. And always check the label for these chemicals in your product and avoid at all costs: 2-butoxyethanols, alkylphenol ethoxylates, dyes, ethanolamines, fragrances, pine or citrus oils, or quaternary ammonium compounds.
  • Reduce your waste by reducing your cleaning supply inventory from several different products to just one really awesome all-purpose cleaner (like this one).
  • Make your own products! Baking soda is a wonder cleaner—use it on tiles, your sink, your oven, or your bathtub, then scrub away. For windows, combine a couple of tablespoons of vinegar with water, then wipe with newspaper to avoid streaking. To clean your drain, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, then add vinegar. Voila! Who knew your third grade science project could also handle your adult chores?

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Spring Cleaning: End Your Kitchen Chemical Romance