Colorful California Landscape: A Water-Friendly Garden
Colorful California Landscape:  A Water-Friendly Garden

Household Cleansers

Any substance that is poisonous, carcionogenic, corrosive, reactive, flammable, or in some other way injurious to animals or humans is considered hazardous.  Just like industrical hazardous materials, household chemicals possess one or more of these characterisitcs and require special handling.  The difference is that too often the health risks of common household products are inadequately communicated or expressed in vague terms.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that more than 150 chemicals found in ordinary household products are directly responsible for producing cancer, allergies, birth defects, and numerous psychological disorders.  Dr. Russell Jaffe of Serammune Physicians Lab in Reston, Virginia, believes that as many as 16 million people in the United States show some degree of adverse reaction due to constant exposure.  Of this number, Dr. Jaffe estimates that for five million people the results are ultimately fatal, 11 million are plagued with muscle and joint pain, and 500,000 are afflicated with migraines, asthma, bronchities and eczema.

Using a natural herbal product instead of a chemical-laden commercial one makes will make your surfaces germ and toxin free leaving a pleasant smell without toxic substances.  Making your own herbal cleaning products is not time-consuming or expensive.  It only takes a minute or two to fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water and add a few drops of essential oil = instant glass and appliance cleaner.

The majority of commercial cleaners are quite expensive.  A typical spray or foam cleanser for the bathroom, for instance, can cost you $4.00 or more.  An herbal alternative, on the other hand, will cost mere pennies to make.  See The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier (Storey Publishing, 2008) for over 150 safe and easy herbal formulas for nontoxic cleansers.  These recipes include a dishwashing liquid, appliance cleaner, mirror cleaner, mold and mildrew prevention formula, toilet bowl cleaner, laundry soap liquid, and car wash solution.


Essential oils can be found in health food stores (such as Mother's Market) or online (Monterey Bay Spice Company, Mountain Rose Herbs). Castile soap can be purchased in markets, health food stores and online (Glory Bee Foods).

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Stewardship requires the recognition that we are all caretakers of the environment and economy for the benefit of present and future generations. We must balance the impacts of today's decisions with the needs of future generations. - The Minnesota Round Table on Sustainable Development (1998)