DITCH THIS CHEMICAL #3: Chlorine

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DITCH THIS CHEMICAL #3: Chlorine

I won’t lie, sometimes DIY cleaning products just don’t seem to ‘clean’ the way regular supermarket products do. They might not foam up as much, or they just might not seem to make things squeaky clean like your usual Ajax or Dettol or Omo.

Well…I have found a DIY recipe that works even BETTER than your regular toxic-laden dishwasher powder! Before, I was using those Finish dishwasher tablets with the funky red balls in the middle that are supposed to provide ‘3 x the cleaning power.’ Maybe it was my dishwasher, but I kept pulling out dishes with gritty residue on them after cleaning them using the tablets. Glasses, that had only been used to drink water, were coming out dirtier then when I had put them in. I’m not really sure why – maybe because of the fillers used in the tablets not breaking down properly during the wash. So much for ‘cleaning power’! Those tablets aren’t cheap, either, usually 50cents or so each. You should expect more, really. Just sayin’.

When I started making my own cleaning products, dishwasher powder was the first on the list. I couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was to make (like all of 3 minutes quick-and-easy-to-make), and the best part: no gritty residue on my dishes anymore! The second best part: my DIY toxic-free dishwasher powder is heaps cheaper than the tablets. I use about 20cents of powder per wash, as opposed to the 50cents per crappy-tablet that I had been using. Plus the kitchen smells divine with the aroma of essential oils as they work their anti-bacterial magic in the dishwasher. Oh, and it’s a pretty cool thing to take the dishes out of the dishwasher and use them straight away, without feeling like I need to rinse them again in case any toxic chemicals are still lingering on the dishes (which they undoubtedly are if you are using regular – or even some ‘eco-friendly’ – brand products).

Regular dishwasher powder and tablets contain a bunch of harmful chemicals. Some of these are oxygen-based bleaching agents (such as chlorine) which are used as a disinfectant, and to break up and bleach organic deposits. While it might keep your plates pearly white, and also kill off any nasty microorganisms, it will also be poisoning your home with dangerous chlorine gas (not to mention the actual residue on your dishes and surfaces that you use chlorine on), as well as infecting the water supplies around you. Chlorine not only burns if it pours on you, but even diluted, as it is in dishwasher detergent, can cause respiratory damage if you inhale the fumes seeping out of your dishwasher as it heats and sloshes around the poison. Inhalation of chlorine gas can cause difficulty breathing, chest pains, cough, eye irritation, increased heartbeat, rapid breathing, and even death. Consider this, chlorine is toxic enough to be a chemical weapon and categorized as a “choking agent”.

Chlorine is found in most household cleaning products which require a disinfectant or bleaching action.  Many tap water supplies have also been chlorinated. While disinfection of drinking water is a necessary measure to reduce diseases, concerns have been raised about the safety of chlorine, which has been linked to serious adverse health effects, including dementia. On a side note, another place you’ll find toxic use of chlorine is in swimming pools. The water must be cleaned, by some means, to prevent contamination and bacterial overgrowth. Chlorine isn’t the safest method, but is probably the most common. But consider again what chlorine is: a poison. Diluting it just enough so that it’s strong enough to kill pool scum (and nasty organisms in the house), but not quite strong enough to kill a human, doesn’t change that…A scary thought!

So…Challenge #3 – Have a look at your current cleaning products (and if you dare, any other product you have in the house), and check out the ingredients to see if the product contains ‘chlorine’ or ‘bleach.’ If you’re using regular supermarket brand products and you don’t see these listed, give the company a call and query if these ingredients are in fact inside your products – chances are they will be. Becoming aware is the first step to making real changes. And if you feel like you’re ready to take the next step, stop using the product! If you’re planning to come to our Chemical-Free Cleaning ‘Make-and-Take’ Workshop on Sat 11 June, 7pm at Alchemy Cafe, save your toxic products to chuck away in the ‘Toxic Bin’ – the person who chucks away the most products will win a prize!

The workshop is $25, which covers the cost of all the ingredients, containers and oils that you will use to make five cleaning products to take home to replace your old toxic ones. Spaces are limited, so we would appreciate if you can book in and pay prior to the night. You can purchase your spot for the workshop here 🙂

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