Green Cleaning at Home
Cleaning products are found everywhere - at home and at work they are on clothing, dishes, furniture, windows and in the air you breathe. Toxic cleaning products impact your health and the environment. Learn how to make your own household cleaning products from items at home - better for the environment, your health and can also save you money!
What is a Green Cleaner?
Non-toxic. Biodegradable – degraded by natural bacteria. Not petroleum based – made from renewable resources instead.
What makes cleaning chemicals dangerous?
  • Are hazardous! They could make you sick if ingested/absorbed – may be immediately evident or symptoms appear many years later.
  • Contaminate water – groundwater, rivers, lakes and oceans.
  • High phosphate levels (found in detergents) kill marine life by feeding algal blooms (i.e. Swan River)
"Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health.  The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 20th century) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin"
Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University
What toxins are found in cleaning products?
  • Ammonia – oven cleaner - damages eyes, skin and respiratory tract, leaves a residue when used;
  • Ammonium hydroxide – carpet/upholstery shampoo – corrosive, irritates skin, eyes, respiratory passages;
  • Bleach – strong corrosive = irritate/burn eyes, skin, respiratory tract, causes fluid in the lungs, vomiting or coma if ingested;
  • Chlorine – in most store cleaners & detergents - causes breast cancer, more harmful if heated (i.e. shower cleaning) and No.1 cause of household poisoning via dishwashing liquid (residue on dishes after washing);
  • Formaldehyde – air fresheners - very toxic, carcinogen, phenol (contacts skin = hives, swelling, burning and/or peeling);
  • Hypochlorite bleach – toilet cleaner – corrosive, irritates eyes, skin, respiratory tract;
  • Hydrochloric acid – toilet cleaner – highly corrosive, irritates eyes, skin, damages kidneys, liver;
  • Methoxychlor – air fresheners - a pesticide, coats nasal passages/nerves;
  • Nitrobenzene – furniture polish – extremely toxic, absorbed by skin;
  • Perchlorethylene – carpet/upholstery shampoo – carcinogen, damages liver, kidney and nervous system;
  • Petroleum distillates – furniture polish – highly flammable, cause skin and lung cancer;
  • Triclosan – antibacterial cleaners – absorbed by skin, linked to liver damage;
  • Phosphorus, naphthalene, phenol, sodium nitrilotriacetate – laundry products – cause rashes, allergies, sinus problems, leaves residue on clothing/sheets which is absorbed by the skin.
Soap vs. Antibacterial Soap
  • 42+ years of research = no evidence triclosan (found in antibacterial soap) is better than everyday soap!
  • Antibacterial soaps target bacteria – not viruses, that cause colds etc.;
  • Using antibacterial soap = future antibiotic-resistant bacteria? 
  • Animal studies of triclosan effect has shown thyroid hormones are affected, but no effects in humans yet;
  • Reduced exposure to bacteria in children = possibly other health problems i.e. development of allergies, hay fever, etc.
  • Triclosan can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream easily – survey in 2008 showed triclosan in 75% of test subjects;
  • More use of triclosan = more triclosan in the waterways  problems higher in the food chain?
  • Solution: go for non-antibiotic (alcohol-based) hand sanitizer – better yet, use soap and water!
  • 30 seconds hand washing is recommended to remove dirt too (sanitizer doesn’t remove dirt).
Green Cleaning Links
Green cleaning products.
www.awareenvironmental.com.au (Orange Power – endorsed by Planet Ark)
Green dry cleaning options.
Look for cleaners that use carbon dioxide cleaning or green earth. Conventional dry cleaners are the largest users of Perchlorethylene, a toxic industrial solvent that also causes smog. If you do use conventional dry cleaners, air them outside before putting them away (or wearing them).
Green house commercial cleaners.
No time to clean your own home? There are more green cleaning businesses popping up in Perth every day! Ask questions and shop around to find a business that you’re happy with their methods and products.
Examples: www.bioffice.com.au, www.greenearthhomecleaning.com 
Clean home design.
Building? Consider a layout that is easy to clean, with plenty of fresh air available – less cleaning = more savings in the long term!
Dispose of toxic cleaners safely.
Please don’t throw old cleaning products into landfill! Contact your council to discuss safe disposal options for your area i.e. recycling/recovery days, handing in to the local resource recovery centre, etc.
WARNING: Never mix bleach with other chemicals. This may produce fatal chlorine fumes.
Indoor plants = air filtration = good air quality
ALOE (sun i.e. kitchen window)    
AZALEA (sun but cool temp)
BAMBOO PALM (shade ok, i.e. furniture)    
CHRYSANTHEMUM (sun i.e. office/lounge room)
FICUS/WEEPING FIG (i.e. lounge room)    
GERBERA (sun i.e. laundry/bedroom)
GOLDEN POTHOS (i.e. carport/garage)    
MOTHER-IN-LAW’S TONGUE (i.e. bathroom)
PEACE LILY (shade, water i.e. hallway/entry)    
SPIDER PLANT (pet safe)
Megan’s Top 5 Tips:
  1. Fresh air.
  2. Make your own green cleaners (or buy green products).
  3. Get a house plant - or several! 
  4. Dispose of chemicals safely according to the council/EMRC.
  5. Five minute green cleaning routine. 
Kaya Wanjoo. Food Preserving kaditj kalyakoorl moondang-ak kaaradj midi boodjar-ak nyininy, yakka wer waabiny, Noongar moort. Ngala kaditj baalap kalyakoorl nidja boodjar wer kep kaaradjiny, baalap moorditj nidja yaakiny-ak wer moorditj moort wer kaditj Birdiya wer yeyi.
Hello and Welcome. Food Preserving acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we live, work and play, the Nyoongar people. We recognise their connection to the land and local waterways, their resilience and commitment to community and pay our respect to Elders past and present.
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