Your Home: A Toxic Waste Dump?

You'll be surprised to discover all the hidden hazards in your home. Here's your guide to keeping house and tossing the toxins.

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Toxic Trouble Spot: Household cleaners

Ever read the back of a bottle of cleaner? Between the multisyllabic chemicals you can't pronounce and the warnings to keep children and pets away from them, it's no wonder many people wind up in the emergency room when they ignore those warnings. One of the most dangerous mistakes you can make? Accidentally mixing ammonia (found in window cleaner) with chlorine bleach (found in all types of cleaners). The result is chlorine gas, which as an agent of chemical warfare in World War 1.

Detox Tip

Ditch the toxic chemicals lurking under your kitchen cabinet, on the shelf in your bathroom and out in the garage. Then mix your own cleaner that will kill bacteria and leave your surfaces shining.

Mix together

1 tbsp of Borax powder (find it in the laundry aisle of your supermarket)

3 tbsps of white vinegar

2 cups of water

1 tablespoon of dish soap

1 drop of essential oil such as peppermint for fragrance (optional)

Pour it into a spray bottle you bought at the hardware store, give it a shake, and you are ready to clean. For windows, use white vinegar wiped down with newspapers, and to disinfect toys and other kids' products fill a spray bottle with non-chlorine bleach (3% hydrogen peroxide) and wipe with a paper towel.

Bonus: Cleaning out harsh chemicals is not only better for your health, it's good for the environment, because you drastically cut back on your plastic use by eliminating all those bottles of mildew cleaner, window washer, bathtub scrub, and more.