In the quest for a cleaner home, we often turn to cleaning products to better get rid of germs and provide pleasant fragrances. However, many household cleaning products contain synthetic chemicals that are either known to be toxic, or have never been tested for their long-term effects. This can be particularly dangerous to children who are still growing. So how can you ensure you have a clean and non-toxic home?

1. Do your research

Companies are not required to list every chemical used in their cleaning products, and offer minimum warnings. Take some time to look into the products you’re using to find out if they contain synthetic, harmful chemicals.

2. Be aware

Many chemical cleaners can have noticeable side effects like dizziness, nausea, or headaches. Some can cause allergic reactions. If you notice any of these things, you should minimize your use of the product.

3. Take precautions

If you do have to use an industrial cleaner, make sure you take proper precautions: store out of reach of children, wear goggles and cloves, and make sure there’s proper ventilation.

4. Non-toxic cleaners

When ever possible, use natural substances for cleaning. Baking soda is actually a natural mineral that can react with natural fatty acids to create safe detergents. The citric acid in lemon juice can brighten and disinfect. Salt can also disinfect and provide an abrasive texture to remove dirt. White vinegar is extremely versatile and can cut through both grease and soap build-ups.

5. Safer tools

It’s also important to use non-toxic cleaning implements. Rather than using plastic brushes, use wood. Buy a cellulose sponge instead of a synthetic one. Cut up old garments to make rags rather than buying new artificial cloths or paper towels.

6. Speaking out

Finally, you can go a step further in making your home chemical-safe by taking political action to end the use of synthetic chemicals. Help raise awareness and let your local politicians know that you want more research, regulation and labeling of toxic substances.