If you regularly use modern cosmetics, bodycare products, cleaning products and detergents then you are regularly exposing yourself to a multitude of harmful chemicals. On average we each use nine different products, with over 100 unique chemical ingredients, daily. Many of these have never been fully evaluated for safety. Your skin can’t protect you from these chemicals.

Thankfully, there are now many non-toxic alternatives, but you will still need to carefully read the labels.  Click here for a comprehensive list of chemicals to avoid.

Over the next few months we will be looking at how to detox your kitchen, laundry and bathroom.  In this blog, we are focusing on the kitchen sink and dishwashers. 

Dishwashing Liquids

Many dishwashing liquids contain anionic and non-ionic detergents that can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Some detergents and perfumes can be allergens and sensitisers.  Some chemical vapours produced while washing dishes can cause irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract.  For more details on the potential harmful effects of a very popular dishwashing liquid, click here.

The other aspect to consider is what happens to the toxic chemicals that we pour down our drains. Many detergents contain phosphates, which in high quantities can cause algal blooms in waterways.  Other potentially harmful chemicals include surfactants, stability and dispensing aids, fragrances and colours, preservatives and antibacterial agents. For more information on environmental impacts click here.

Some so called ‘grey water safe’, plant based dishwashing liquids contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (a skin irritant commonly found in personal care and cleaning products) and other potentially harmful substances.  Another good resource for looking up the health concerns of different chemicals is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website.  

A really great natural dishwashing liquid that I started using recently is made by B_E_E (which stands for Beauty Engineered Forever).   I’ve tried a number of different ‘chemical free’ dishwashing liquids over the past few years and have struggled to find one that I was really happy with. With B_E_E, you only need to use a small amount, it smells great, and it really gets those dishes clean (and GreenLifeOrganics now has it in stock!).  You can also buy it in large refill containers, so even better for the environment! Click here to purchase.    Another good choice is the MiEnviron biodegradable dishwashing concentrate

For other options, OrganicsAustraliaOnline and ShopNaturally have a good range of non toxic dishwashing liquids.  And of course, there is always Enjo if you want to ditch the dishwasing liquid completely!

Dishwasher powders and rinse aids

I don’t have a dishwasher, but I’m often asked about non toxic dishwasher powders and rinse aids.  I’ve managed to find some simple recipes on line where you can make your own powders using borax mixed with either washing soda or baking soda.  You should be able to find these ingredients in most supermarkets, but you can also by online at www.onlyoz.com.au.  For more information on DIY dishwasher powders click here.

A popular (and very cost effective) natural rinse aid is white vinegar

For a range of non-toxic dishwasher powders and rinse aids, OrganicsAustraliaOnline and ShopNaturally are both good choices.  Miraclewash also have non-toxic dishwasher tablets.

In our next blog, we’ll be looking at non-toxic oven, surface and floor cleaners. 

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References

http://frugalliving.about.com/od/householdsavings/qt/Rinse_Agent.htm  http://tipnut.com/homemade-dishwasher-detergent-recipes/  http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/32/1/Dishwashing-detergent-environmental-impact.html  http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/behind_the_label/268721/behind_the_label_fairy_liquid.html