ditch dangerous chemicals

keep your family safe & healthy

You don’t realize how dangerous your home is until you prepare to have your first child. Every inch needs to be inspected and “baby-proofed” once you have kids, because they will surely find their way into every corner! We take such high precautions when they are little, but adults should be cautious of the dangerous chemicals hidden within our homes, too. Toxic chemicals are hiding within our daily routine like glass cleaners, nail polish, batteries, and all purpose wipes. Take the time to green up your home by going through your products and making the switch to natural alternatives to keep your family safe and healthy.

woman and child sitting on fur covered bed

beware of chemicals hiding in your home

the laundry room

Detergents and bleach have vapors that can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat.

the garden

Pet flea and tick treatments, bug sprays, and garden treatments contain chemicals that cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

Cleaning Products Graphic

the garage

Paint, car repair fluids, and batteries can be dangerous upon ingestion, inhalation, or skin exposure.

the bathroom

Toilet bowl cleaners, drain cleaners, along with mold and mildew removers are among the most toxic chemicals in the home.

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get rid of dangerous chemicals

Waste from hazardous products can contaminate rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater. It only takes a small amount to lead to a big problem. It is not only careless to dispose of  hazardous waste into the trash, it is also illegal. So before dumping products down the drain, or putting an item in a trash can, it is imperative that four questions are always asked:

  • Is the item poisonous/ toxic?
  • Can this item catch on fire/ explode?
  • Can this mix with other chemicals and trigger a dangerous reaction?
  • Will this corrode (eat away) other materials?

If the answer is yes or there is even an ounce of uncertainty, then the disposal of such items needs to be done properly.

how can you tell?

The first thing to do is to read the label. Some products will have disposal instructions that you can follow that will be enough. But remember, even if a product does not have disposal instructions, it does NOT mean it is safe to just simply be thrown away. Make sure to look at the ingredients and look them up online on the MSDS database. You can also contact your local EPA office if you have further questions for what the proper disposal protocol is in your community.

Some common household items that are considered hazardous waste are nail polish, bleach, hair dyes, and fluorescent light bulbs (just another reason to make the change to LED light bulbs!).

how do you responsibly dispose of them?

A lot of communities have collection days where you can go and drop off your materials at a designated location. Your community might even offer hazardous waste pickup, in which case you would not even have to leave the comfort of your own home. Or, there might even be a hazardous waste center where you can go on any day to take your stuff and you might even be able to trade or pick up someone else’s materials! 

what are some alternatives?

You would not have to worry about disposing of toxic cleaning products if you were using natural, organic methods that are just as efficient in cleaning your home and your clothes. Some great alternatives to chemicals are:

  • Baking Soda: A naturally occuring sodium bicarbonate that can be used for cleaning, deodorizing, leavening, buffering and even fire extinguishing. It is a mild alkali that dissolves dirt and grease effectively when combined with water. It has the ability to deodorize because it brings the acidic and basic odor molecules into a neutral state. It can be used to clean every single room in your house from your kitchen to your bathroom.
  • Castile Soap: Made from vegetable oil and plant based fat versus many common soaps, that are made from animal fats and synthetic materials. 
  • Vinegar: Fill a spray bottle with two parts cleaning vinegar and one part water and suddenly you have a multi purpose spray! If the smell is a problem, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil! The acidity of vinegar is ideal for counteracting soap scum and other icky buildups. For laundry you can substitute detergent for distilled white vinegar and it will clean and deodorize your clothes.
Melissa Zargon

Melissa Zargon

Green Actioneer Intern
UCF Environmental Engineering Student

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