Expert-approved tips on using more natural household products

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Expert-approved tips on using more natural household products



After the Oxy scandal, consumers are seeking alternatives to bleaches, fabric softener, multi-purpose cleaners and so on. This has made chemicals like baking soda, critic acid and carbonate peroxyhydrate more popular than ever in recent months because they are considered to be safer than other harsher options.

Baking soda and critic acid are even used to clean or process food.

Experts, however, say even these can be dangerous if not handled properly.

“Fine particle causes troubles when they are inhaled by humans,” said Kim Pan-gi, a professor of of industrial environmental health at Yongin University.

“Flour is often said to contain no toxicity but there is a report on a group of people working at a baking factory who were diagnosed with asthma because they continuously inhaled flour,” he added.

Of the three so-called natural cleansing alternatives, the particles of baking soda are the finest and need to be dealt with the most care.

“For now, we don’t know which products are dangerous or not, so the best way to protect yourself is by using the least amount of chemicals,” Kim said.

Here are tips on how to use the three natural cleansing agents in appropriate ways.


One power blogger says a 3-1 ratio of vinegar to baking soda can be used to sterilize, while another says a 1-1 ratio is better.

Others still say there is no specific ratio when mixing natural cleaning ingredients but stress that baking soda and critic acid should not be used together.

Bubbles are created when baking soda meets critic acid and many use the two together, believing the bubbles are effective at cleaning. But others say the bubbles actually don’t contribute to cleaning, and that it’s more effective to first clean with baking soda and then follow up with citric acid.

When using carbonate peroxyhydrate, experts advise that people wear gloves because as an alkaline compound, it can be harmful to the skin.


Mixtures of ethanol and essential oils or certain fruit juices are recommended as a replacement to household deodorizers. The toxicity of these mixtures is far lower than products available from supermarkets, but they have a higher chance of going bad or contributing to mold growth.

“For example, people use a mixture of ethanol and lemon juice when cleaning air conditioner but the lemon juice can attract germs or mold,” said Choi Eun-jeong, the head of Science Education Institute, located in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.

Choi added that these mixtures should be replaced every two or three days.


When sticks of cinnamons are soaked in ethanol, the liquid keeps bugs away. But it can’t kill bugs instantly like bug repellents do.

Experts say these natural bug repellents are safe when properly used.

They need to be sprayed in an empty room and let fresh air in after each use.

“Electronic mosquito repellents are not suitable to use in a small room,” said professor Hong Yun-chul of preventive medicine at Seoul National University Hospital.


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