BATHROOM and TOILET BOWL CLEANERS:

cleaning product , Corrosive ingredients in toilet bowl cleaners are severe eye, skin and respiratory irritants. Some toilet bowl cleaners contain sulfates, which may trigger asthma attacks in those with asthma. And bathroom cleaners containing sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite (bleach), or phosphoric acid can irritate lungs and burn eyes, skin and, if ingested, internal organs. Mixing acid-containing toilet bowl cleaners with cleaners that contain chlorine will form lung-damaging chlorine gas. Your safest best is to avoid both ingredients.

Soap and water, or baking soda for scrubbing soap scum and toilet bowls, work for most bathroom cleaning needs. Scrubbing shower tiles with a toothbrush of baking soda-water paste will help remove mildew and its stains. For tougher toilet jobs, pour one cup of borax and 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar or lemon juice into the bowl. Let sit for a few hours, then scrub with a toilet brush and flush. Or look for these safer, plant-based bathroom, shower and toilet cleaners at natural foods stores. Some are only available by mail order.

AFM SafeChoice Safety Clean, www.afmsafecoat.com, 800/239-0321

BioShield Toilet Bowl Cleaner, www.bioshieldpaint.com, 800/621-2591

Bon Ami Cleaning Powder, www.bonami.com

Earth Friendly Shower Kleener, www.ecos.com, 800/335-ECOS

Earth Friendly Toilet Bowl Cleaner, www.ecos.com, 800/335-ECOS

Ecover Toilet Cleaner, www.ecover.com, 800/449-4925

Naturally Yours Basin, Tub and Tile Cleaner, 888/801-7347

Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner, www.seventhgeneration.com

Seventh Generation Bathroom Cleaner, www.seventhgeneration.com

Seventh Generation Shower Cleaner, www.seventhgeneration.com

ENZYME CLEANERS:

Enzymes are naturally occurring proteins produced by all living organisms to speed up chemical reactions. Enzyme cleaners make use of these naturally occurring enzymes to break down the proteins in specific targets: Protease enzymes work on protein stains, lipolases fat or lipid stains, and amylases starch- or other carbohydrate-based stains. Allergy sufferers should avoid using enzyme cleaners on carpets, as the enzymes remain in the carpet fibers after cleaning and subsequent vacuuming can lead to prolonged exposure. Some enzyme cleaners still contain the same harsh surfactants, chemicals and preservatives found in standard cleaners, so be sure to read the label carefully.
Bi-OKleen’s Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator ($8.39/32-oz. bottle, drugstore.com).

GLASS CLEANERS:

Some window cleaners contain nerve-damaging butyl cellosolve. Many contain ammonia, which may irritate airways and will release toxic chloramine gases if accidentally mixed with chlorine-containing cleaners.

Plain water is just as effective as some commercial glass cleaners. Or fill your own spray bottle with water and either 1one-quarter cup white vinegar or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to help wipe away greasy fingerprints and other harder-to-remove spots. The safer glass cleaners below may be found at natural foods stores or ordered by mail.

Aubrey Organics Liquid Sparkle, www.aubreyorganics.com, 800/282-7394

BioShield Glass Cleaner, www.bioshieldpaint.com, 800/621-2591

Earth Friendly Window Kleener, www.ecos.com, 800/335-ECOS

Naturally Yours Glass & Window Cleaner, 888/801-7347

Our House Works Shiny Surface Cleaner, www.ourhouseworks.com, 877/236-8750

Seventh Generation Glass & Surface Cleaner, www.seventhgeneration.com

DRAIN CLEANERS:

Chemical drain cleaners are among the most dangerous of all cleaning product . Most contain corrosive ingredients such as sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) that can permanently burn eyes and skin. Some can be fatal if ingested.

Prevent drains from becoming blocked in the first place by capturing hair and other drain-clogging particles with inexpensive metal or plastic drain screens, available at home improvement and hardware stores. Regularly collect and dispose of hair that collects around shower or sink drains, and do not allow large food scraps to wash down the kitchen sink.

When clogs occur, use a “snake” plumbing tool to manually remove blockage, or try suction removal with a plunger. If you purchase a chemical drain cleaner, choose one of the two below that use enzymes, rather than caustic chemicals, to eat away gunk. Earth Friendly is available in natural foods stores; Naturally Yours must be ordered by mail. Like chemical cleaners, these are most effective on drains that are only partly clogged.