Posts Tagged ‘household products’

Day 17 of Daily Footprint Project. The memory of last week’s toxic attack, motivated me to take action before Esperanza’s visit today. Esperanza is our cleaning lady. I have been talking for a long time, about greening our household cleaning products. Talking, writing about, but no action. Last week, the air in the house after Esperanza came, got the best of my lungs. I had to open all the windows, to let in the fresh air, and give my burning throat and lungs a rest. For months now, I have been suffering from a chronic cough, and asthma like symptoms. Same with Catherine. Both she and I have been to several doctors, and tried inhalers and various medicines, with no results. Finally, I got motivated into action. Prad dismissed my concerns, and tried to dissuade me. ‘All these people using those products, and nobody has gotten sick. You are overreacting.‘ I did not listen to him. I was on a mission.

First, let me say this, it is not easy getting a straight answer on cleaning products. I had to go through quite a few dead venues, before I found the information I was looking for. First, I started with TreeHugger. Then made my way to the Household Products Database. Very thorough and scientific, but it failed to give me the straight answers I was looking for. How bad were the commercial products I was currently using? Which brands would they recommend as perfectly safe? Along the way, I came across several places advocating making my own cleaning products. I finally landed on an article from Organic Consumers that gave me the answers I was looking for.

Now I am a poster girl for Seventh Generation. I purchased the whole line at Whole Foods. Laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, dishwasher detergent, glass cleaner, all purpose cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner, and kitchen cleaner. For furniture, I got the Earth Friendly Furniture Polish. But there are quite a few other brands out there that would do just as good of a job.

When Cleaning House Turns Toxic

Above is a picture of all the stuff I had to get rid off. In good conscience, I could not throw it into the garbage. For now, it has been relegated to our garage, waiting for our next trip to the recycling center.

Esperanza left. And I am enjoying not smelling anything, for a change.

The household cleaning products industry is huge. I am imagining all the women, the children, the houses that keep being intoxicated, over and over again, by these everyday products. Lulled into the false reassurance of advertisements touting the benefit of a clean smelling house. What is clean smelling anyway?

Daily Footprint Project
Daily Log
Day #17


flush toilet 3
wash face 2
brush teeth 2
wash hands 5
shower 1
rinse dishes
run full load dishwasher


electric toothbrush 2
microwave tea 2’
microwave oatmeal 4’
microwave soup 2’
microwave leftover pasta
microwave milk 2’
laptop on all day
heat cream of wheat
broil steak
cook bokchoy in wok
boil water for pasta
fry pasta in wok


oatmeal with organic milk
organic apple sauce
organic milk
takeout bean soup from Whole Foods
organic chocolate
leftover pasta
cream of wheat with organic milk
organic grapes
stir fried bokchoy
organic pasta with Italian prosciutto and fresh mozarella


toilet paper
raspberries plastic box
most of cream of wheat (leftover from breakfast)
3 newspaper plastic wrappers
two hardened half bread loaves
old household cleaning products (to wait for city collection of toxic products)
soup carton


three sheets of paper
2 papers
milk carton


drive to Whole Foods 5 miles

Non food shopping

Seventh Generation cleaning products

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Lynette Evans wrote a great article, ‘Save the Money by Saving the Planet’, about the win win strategy of buying natural cleaning products instead of the usual commercial paraphernalia. Her maths are pretty convincing:

Commercial products: Windex Original, $4.39; Pine-Sol Cleaner, $4.69; Kaboom Shower Tub & Tile Cleaner, $5.69; Chlorox Disinfecting Wipes, $6.19; Formula 409 All Purpose Cleaner, $4,19; Palmolive Ultra Original Dish Soap, $3.49; Clorox Bleach, $2.29; O-Cel-O Sponges, $2.59; Swiffer Duster, $6.09. Total: $39.61.

Natural cleaning products: Heinz Distilled Vinegar, $3.90; Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. $1.15; Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, $3.49; Mule Team Borax, $4.39; Hydrogen Peroxide, $.59; Old cotton towels, $o; Crumpled newspaper, $0. Total: $13.52.

Lynette did the maths. $26.09 savings for us, and for the planet. I wrote a similar post a while back, where I stated my good intentions. The smell of all those chemicals was getting to me. Yet, I did not take any steps. Our cleaning cabinet is still filled with the same poisonous chemicals. Seems like another item to add to my green to-do-list.

To-do-list: get rid of existing cleaning products and buy natural substitutes instead

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Esperanza came to clean the house today. The smell of toxic chemicals soon filled the kitchen. I have been meaning to replace all our existing household cleaning products with safer, green alternatives. Have not gotten around to it yet. I have the info stored somewhere on my computer, but I have been too lazy to take action. Plus nobody else in the house seems to mind.

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