Photo: What's the eco-friendliest way to clean the bathtub?

Choose eco-friendly cleaners or make your own. (Credit: MattHurst via Flickr)

Phthalates, chlorine bleach, ammonia, sodium laureth sulphate, ethoxylated alcohols and fragrance are all commonly found in household cleaners and are linked to a range of health issues, including asthma, cancer, allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities.

Repeated exposure to small amounts of these chemicals can cause long-term health problems. Kids are especially vulnerable.

Here are some handy tips to help you make safer product choices:

Sign up for Queen of Green tips by email

Read the label. Avoid hazard symbols whenever possible. Opt for products with ingredients disclosed on the label, and check for chemicals of concern. When companies won't disclose what's in their products, it makes you wonder what they have to hide.

Go fragrance-free. "Fragrance" is a mix of chemicals that can trigger allergies, migraines and asthma symptoms.

Avoid dyes. Most dyes are derived from petrochemicals—an unnecessary addition.

Choose eco-friendly cleaners. "Green" options contain no ingredients that could be harmful to your health or the environment. They're readily biodegradable—in less than 28 days—and contain no phosphates or phthalates. And, they use plant-based rather than petroleum-based ingredients.

Make your own. The best way to know what's in your cleaning products is to make them yourself! Tested by the Queen of Green, my homemade cleaners are versatile, affordable and eco-friendly. And many ingredients are food-grade.

Check out this recipe for scour cleaner — it's a great bathtub cleaner that's tough on grime and easy on the earth.

Read more