Top tip: Use natural cleaners

Housework surely counts among Britons' least favourite chores. But when it comes to the cleaners we use, it can quickly become a toxic minefield.

It seems that we are constantly being persuaded to use more and more chemicals to take care of simple household tasks. Think of this: in the 1980s world chemical output was 500 times greater than in 1940. As many as 70,000 synthetic chemicals are used in our homes daily.

Natural cleaning products are a great way to lessen your impact on the environment and reduce toxins in your home.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that was once a popular cleaning product. A natural antibacterial, fungicidal and bleaching agent, it can be used to clean your carpets, your fridge and your dirty clothes, and it's especially good at getting out stains.

A partner in grime (removal) is baking soda. It's cheap and effective, and it works wonders in the bathroom - especially at getting those taps squeaky clean. It also makes an excellent drain cleaner. Mix it with boiling water and vinegar, and it works just as well as commercial drain cleaners which contain corrosive and toxic chemicals.

What's in most commercial cleaners that makes them so toxic? Potassium hydroxide, petroleum distillates and hydrochloric acid found in many drain cleaners kill aquatic life. They also mean that water has to be treated after use which is both costly and energy intensive.

The internet has lots of advice about making your own low-impact cleaning products. We found these two great fact sheets:

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