and detergents are meant to be washed down the drain. These products
are biodegradable and if the wastewater from your home is properly
treated, they pose no problem to the environment. Other household
cleaners are a different story. Drain openers, oven and toilet bowl
cleaners, and bleach are poisonous. Furniture polish and spot removers
are flammable, and disinfectants contain strong chemicals which
may be harmful. As you read product labels, look for toxic components
such as: lye, phenols, petroleum distillates, trichlorobenzene.
If improperly used, products containing these chemicals pose a potential
threat to health. They also present real water quality hazards if
disposed of improperly.
word about detergents….
Detergents are one of the most-used home cleaning products.
Many automatic washing machine and dishwasher detergents contain
phosphorus. Phosphorus causes problems in streams and lakes by acting
as a fertilizer, stimulating plant growth. Ultimately this growth
reduces the oxygen available to support other aquatic life forms.
Labels indicate the phosphorus contents which vary from zero for
liquid detergents to 13% for some automatic dishwashing detergents.
Buy liquid detergent or low phosphorus products.
household cleaners which you or your neighbors can’t use up, call
1-800-RECYCLE for recommendations.
Use oxygen bleaches, borax, or let the sun bleach your fabrics.
In your refrigerator, use an open box of baking soda. Simmer cinnamon
and cloves, or place herbal bouquets in open dishes.
Instead of chemical cleaners, use a plunger, then add 1/4 cup
baking soda followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes,
then rinse with 2 quarts of boiling water. Mechanical drain cleaners
also can provide an effective alternative and include the traditional
metal “snake” as well as a variety of devices which attach to
the faucet and clean by increasing water pressure. The best alternative
is to periodically clean items such as hair from the drain.
Use 1/4 cup white vinegar per quart of water and apply with a
tightly wrung soft cloth.
Polish: Rub with 1 tablespoon of lemon oil mixed with
one pint mineral oil.
Cleaner: Use 2 tablespoons of vinegar in 1 quart of
Stain Remover: Use a vinegar solution made with 1/2
cup vinegar to 1 quart of warm water.
Cleaning Carpets: Apply club soda immediately, blot
dry, repeat. Or, sprinkle with cornmeal or cornstarch and vacuum
after 30 minutes.
Toilet Cleaner: Use baking
soda, or vinegar, or non-chlorinated scouring powder.