You can reduce exposure to harmful chemicals at home by purchasing less hazardous household products.
- Look for products that list all their ingredients on the label. Generally, fewer ingredients are better.
- Use a multi-purpose cleaner rather than buying many specialty cleaners.
- Use single-ingredient products (baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt) that serve several functions.
- Choose products that are made from plant-based materials like citrus, seed, vegetables, herbs or pine oils.
- Choose products that have low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are toxic chemicals that are released into the air.
- Choose chlorine-free products.
- Choose water-based glues, adhesives and paints.
- Choose the least toxic product to do the job. A product with the signal word Caution on its label is less hazardous than a product with the signal word Warning, Danger or Poison.
Many people are switching to homemade cleaners to reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals. Inexpensive ingredients like baking soda, vinegar and dish soap often clean just as well as store-bought products. You can find more information about non-toxic cleaners at www.reduce.org.
If you have an unwanted product with any of the signal words (poison, danger, warning, caution), take any leftovers to your county household hazardous waste (HHW) drop-off site. Visit the HHW drop-off site page to find your county's HHW drop-off site and to learn about other common household items that require special disposal.