Part 2: KITCHENS
So kitchens are a great place for a toxin safari. But like a hidden lion, you may not know where they are until it's too late.
I will stick to the top several places toxins hide in your kitchen.
Nearly all floor cleaners contain serious toxins. Those toxins can be sulfates (surfactants), phthalates (in most fragrances), and VOC’s. We touched on VOC’s a bit but want to expand on that some now. Volatile Organic Compounds can be super toxins. By that I mean they can linger for hours, days, or months after cleaning. They have a cumulative effect which simply means the more we use them the more they hang out in our home. The greater the concentration of them in our home the more toxic our home becomes.
The health consequences of this toxic witches' brew can cause reproductive dangers, asthma, depression, and even cancers. If you only take one thing away from this post, it’s to stop using most floor cleaners. Here is a tip. Make your own. Here is a great formula for your own homemade, non-toxic floor cleaner:
This is the homemade floor cleaner formula I use:
- 2 cups warm water
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- Few drops of dish soap
- Several drops of lavender oil (or any essential oil)
Some homemade floor cleaner formulas call for the use of ammonia or isopropyl alcohol. Do not use them. They can be lung and sinus irritants.
You can use the same formula to clean counters.
GROUT AND TILE CLEANERS AND SEALERS
You don't use them much but, they are a great source of toxins. Most grout cleaners contain many of the toxins that floor cleaners contain. And grout sealers contain VOC’s and fluropolymers. Anytime you see the prefix "fluro" in a product’s ingredient list. Don't use it. Fluro chemicals are considered forever chemicals. This means they last in the environment for 1000+ years AND they accumulate in your body and are very difficult to detox from.
Here are a couple of products we use in our home. You should only have to seal your grout or tiles once every few years. You should clean your grout more frequently to prevent the build-up of mold in the grout. Mold is also a toxin but that will be discussed in another post.
Zero VOC, all-natural ingredients
Zero VOC, plant-based penetrants, inorganic binder
Don’t want to use those, no problem. Here is my list on how to choose a good sealer and cleaner for your grout.
HOW TO CHOOSE A NON-TOXIC GROUT SEALER
- ZERO VOC. Not low VOC. Zero means zero. You will not sacrifice performance with zero VOC grout sealers.
- ZERO flurochemicals. Manufacturers try to hide it in the ingredients but you are now on to them. If you see the following letters anywhere……run. F-L-U-R-O. Just look for those 5 letters together anywhere in the ingredient list.
- Inexpensive. Calculate the cost of the project not just the cost of the bottle. For example, Company 1 sells its product for $30, and one bottle covers 50SF. Company 2 sells its product for $40 dollars but one bottle covers 100SF. So to compare, you will have to buy 2 bottles ($40) of Company 1 products to equal the same coverage.
- Repels mold, mildew, oil, and food stains. Many companies say “prevents black/black spot stains” instead of using the words mold/mildew stains. This is OK. The reason most do it is because Amazon/Walmart/eBay will not allow the use of the word mold/mildew unless the product is EPA registered. This protects Amazon/Walmart/eBay, etc. from fines by the EPA but it is not the law so don’t shy away from those products.
HOW TO CHOOSE A NON-TOXIC GROUT CLEANER
- ZERO VOC. as always. NO VOC.
- Natural or naturally occurring ingredients only. There is no reason to add toxic chemicals.
- Premium. It’s worth paying a little extra for premium, non-toxic ingredients. Even so, it should not cost more than about $20 for a 16oz bottle of grout cleaner. Cheaper products contain toxic chemicals or are diluted to the point they won't work well.