Inquiry Project Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

Inquiry Project
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning
Lisa Mueller
History of the Environmental
 Started in the early 1800’s
 American Proponents of the movement: Henry David Thoreau and
John Muir
 75 Years Later-United States started considering the damage done
to the environment and the people who inhabited it
 1962-American Marine biologist named Rachel Carson wrote the
book, Silent Spring, outlining the damaging effects of pesticides to
the environment.
 -exposed the hazards of using the chemical DDT, a substance that
is now banned.
History of the Environmental
Movement Part II
 1970’s – Environmental Protection Agency created to work
with and educate the public.
 Congress signed the Clean Air Act which was amended to
include regulations for toxic substances that affect the water
 1972-United Nations established a worldwide environmental
 United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
History of the Environmental
 21st Century- 21 substances were banned from use.
 Environmental Science-new branch of scientific research
 Environmental Medicine-new field which incorporates
environmental science, chemistry and medicine.
Why I Should Use Environmental
Friendly Cleaners
 They are safer for you. No long term exposure to chemicals that
can lead to serious health conditions.
They are safer for the family including children and pets.
They are safer for the environment.
They are cheaper for you if you make your own products because
they can be made with basic household ingredients.
They save space because you only need a small range of
ingredients to cover every cleaning job in your house.
Why are Mass Produced Cleaners Bad?
 They contribute to the indoor pollution which is due in large
part to volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
 The indoor air can be from 2 or more than 100 times higher
than outdoors, according to the United States, EPA.
 Products that contain VOCs.
 VOCs can be harmful.
Why are Mass Produced Cleaners Bad?
 Air Fresheners and Aerosol Sprays Study-New Scientist
published in 1999. Mothers experience 25% more
headaches; 19% more likely to suffer from depression;
Infants under 6 months experience 30% more ear infections
and have a 22% higher incidences of diarrhea.
 Long-term Exposure-nervous system damage and maybe
carcinogenic, skin and eye irritants
 “Volatile” on label- need to ventilate the area you are working
in to reduce harmful inhalation
Why are Mass Produced Cleaners Bad?
 They have toxic ingredients.
 I. Chlorine
 Is found in some multipurpose cleaners, liquid bleaches,
toilet bowl cleaners, disinfectants, and mold inhibitors. It’s a
general biocide.
 It is harmful to humans.
 It harms the environment. Clean Air Act lists it as a
hazardous air pollutant.
They have toxic ingredients. Continued
 II Detergents
 Are used in heavy duty cleaning products that deal with food,
grease and oily residue such as dishwashing and laundry
 Contains acids, enzymes, surfactants, bleaching agents,
caustics and optical brighteners.
 It is harmful to humans.
They have toxic ingredients.Continued
III. Formaldehyde
 Used as a binder and preservative in hundreds of household
products including paper products such as toilet rolls and
tissues. Also added as a disinfectant in some cleaners.
 It is one of the most common indoor air pollutants.
 It is harmful to humans.
 It is harmful to the environment. The levels of formaldehyde
fumes increase with humidity and temperature. It is in the
volatile organic compounds (VOC) group.
They have toxic ingredients Continued
 IV. Fragrance
 Made from a cocktail of petrochemicals.
 Manufacturers don’t have to disclose what ingredients they
 They can harm humans. When inhaled they can cause
immediate symptoms-sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches,
nausea, and wheezing. Chronic symptoms from exposure
include asthma, multiple chemical sensitivity, lethargy, and
short-term memory loss.
They are toxic ingredients Continued
 V. Triclosan
 Is one of the most widely used antibacterial and antifungal
ingredient in household cleaners, and personal care products.
 Located in hand or dishwashing soaps. Also in food storage
boxes and so called “antibacterial” cutting boards.
 It is harmful because its absorbed through the skin and
accumulates in the body. It has been found in fish tissue and
human breast milk.
What Materials I Need to Make My Own
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
 Baking Soda-can be used to clean almost anything, including
countertops, sinks, the bathtub, and stove. It is non-toxic to
humans and safe to use on most surfaces and fabrics.
 Borax-is a deodorizer with antibacterial properties. It is a
useful disinfectant and all-purpose cleaner. It is harmful to
humans and pets if ingested. Therefore, it should be kept out
of reach. It can be a skin and respiratory irritant.
What Materials I Need to Make My Own
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
 Hydrogen Peroxide-It is a weak acid. It is recommended to
use the 3% strength for cleaning purposes. It is useful in
bleaching stains from white garments or removing stains and
spills from light-colored carpets and furnishings. It is a
disinfectant with some antibacterial properties which makes
it good for sanitizing surfaces such as countertops, cutting
boards, light switches and toilet flush handles. It can irritate
the skin and mucous membranes. Also it can bleach clothes
and other surfaces.
What Materials I Need to Make My Own
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
 Lemons-acidic so they will cut through greasy surfaces;
antibacterial effects make it perfect for sanitizing cutting
boards and other surfaces such as countertops or stoves. It
has a mild bleaching power so it can remove stains on clothes.
It is safe for humans.
 Liquid Castile soap-it is a great base for all-purpose cream
cleaners; use in place of dishwashing liquids; used to clean
sinks, the stove, tiles, and countertops. Safe for humans
What Materials I Need to Make My Own
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
 Soda Crystals- (sodium carbonate) contain no phosphates,
enzymes, or bleach; remove grease, red wine, grass stains,
blood, tea and coffee stains and ground-in dirt. Also can be
used on stoves, tiles and to clean the toilet. Use with rubber
gloves and keep away from your face and eyes.
 White Vinegar-it’s an effective multi-purpose cleaner when
used with 50/50 mix of cold water that dissolves greasy
marks, adds shine to surfaces and removes residue of other
cleaning products. It is safe for humans.
What Materials I Need to Make My Own
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
 Olive Oil-is a good ingredient for wooden furniture and
floor polishes; it can clean and shine stainless steel; polish
leather shoes. It is safe for humans.
 Salt-it “pulls” stains from fabrics and carpets; rubbing tea and
coffee stains with salt will remove them; use for oven and
stove spills; can be used in combination with baking soda and
white vinegar to unblock drains. It is safe for humans.
What Materials I Need to Make My Own
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
 Club Soda-it removes stains and it cleans porcelain sinks,
counter tops, fixtures and even the inside of your
refrigerator. It is safe enough to drink! Also you can use the
flat soda water to water your house plants.
 Essential Oils-are obtained from the fruits, leaves, flowers,
and resins of plants. There are some that are antibacterial,
anti-fungal, or antiseptic. Lemon, tea tree, and eucalyptus
are antibacterial. A few drops are okay for the family
environment but large quantities can be toxic.
What Materials I Need to Make Environmentally Friendly
Cleaning Products-Checklist of Helpful Items to Gather
Before Making Your Own Cleaning Products
Useful Tools
Useful Tools
Blender or food
Garlic cloves
Pot for boiling
Hot pepper sauce
Clean glass jars with
Olive oil
Empty plastic
containers with
tight-fitting lids
Essential oils
(optional for
Lemon Juice
Measuring spoons
Measuring cup
Table salt and coarse Empty spray bottles
Baking soda
Club soda
Mixing spoons
Cream of tartar
Soft cloth
Tap water
How to Go Green: Why to Go Green. (2007, February 9). Retrieved February 9, 2012, from
Elizabeth B. Goldsmith, P., & Sheldon, B. (2009). Green Cleaning for Dummies. Indianapolis,
IN: Wiley.
Findley, M., & Formichelli, L. (2005). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cleaning. Indianapolis, IN:
Alpha Books.
Guide, G. (2003, March 19). How to clean your house without hurting the planet. Retrieved
February 9, 2012, from Grist:
Lory, C. S. (2005, May). Cleaning for home health. Retrieved February 9, 2012, from Inform
Strategies for a better environment:
Strauss, R. (2009). Household Cleaning: self-sufficiency. New York: Skyhorse .
Some Recipes to Get Started
 All Purpose Cleaners
 Mix ½ cup of white vinegar with ½ cup of table salt. Stir until
salt is dissolved. Use in spray bottle or on a sponge.
 Mix 1 ½ cups of white vinegar with 1 ½ cups of water. Us in a
spray bottle on any surface.
 Dishwasher Detergent
 Place 1 Tbsp. of Borax and 1 tbsp. of baking soda in a sealed
container and shake well. This amount can be used for a full load
of dishes. Fill the rinse compartment with white vinegar. Mix
well. Use only 2 Tbsp. in the dishwasher. If you don’t use vinegar,
cloudiness or powdery residue might appear on the clean items.
Some Recipes to Get Started
 Metal Polish
 To remove tarnished surfaces on aluminum, brass bronze, and
copper, dip a half of a fresh lemon in a shallow dish of baking
soda. Rub the dipped lemon all over surface to get rid of
tarnish and improve shine.
 Tile Cleaner
 Make a paste out of 2 cups of baking soda and 1 cup of water.
Mix until it is the consistency of a cream. Rub over tile and
grout with a soft cloth.
Some Recipes to Get You Started
 Mirror & Window Cleaner
 Mix 6 Tbsp. of vinegar with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. If you
aren’t sensitive to the smell you can eliminate the water even though the
smell dissipates in about ten minutes. You can add two drops of essential
oil for the smell.
Wood Floor Polish
Mix a bucket of 2 cups of olive oil and 2 cups of vinegar. Mix well and
apply to floor with soft cloth or mop.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Mix 2 cups of borax with ½ cup of lemon juice and pour into toilet
bowl. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Scrub sides with toilet brush, and flush
to clear bowl when finished.

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