Q:

What are safe cleaning agents to use?

A:

Quick Answer

Safe cleaning agents to use at home include washing soda, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, ordinary soap and borax. Most homemade cleaning agents are safe, as they pose no health hazard to humans, animals and the environment.

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Full Answer

The ingredients contained in a cleaning agent should tell whether the agent is safe for use. In fact, if the label of a cleaning agent can doesn't list ingredients, it's safer not to buy it. Similarly, cleaning agents that contain toxic substances should be avoided. Examples of toxic chemicals include petroleum solvents, ammonia, phosphates, antibacterial substances, bleaches, disinfectants and chlorine-based products. More importantly, consumers shouldn't automatically believe cleaning agents marked as "non-toxic," "‘natural" and "eco-friendly."

Too much chlorine is corrosive and irritates the skin, and some disinfectants lead to the development of bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant. Ammonia, on the other hand, is toxic if it's inhaled by humans and animals. Fragrances such as phthalate used in cleaning agents may alter various hormones in the bodies of humans and animals.

Baking soda is arguably the best cleaning agent. In this regard, it has innumerable uses that include softening hard water, cleaning surfaces and utensils, and scouring stubborn stains. The fact that lemon is an easily available substance makes it a popular and effective cleaning agent.

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