When it comes to the home, many of our household cleaners can be as toxic as our skin care. By overhauling some of the main cleaning products we use, we can ensure our families’ health is not being impacted by harsh chemicals.
Chemicals in everyday household cleaners have been linked to the onset or worsening of asthma, a narrowing of blood vessels, headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, and prenatal exposure may be linked to attention deficit disorder or even autism in children. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and placenta, VOCs can depress the central nervous system; irritate the eyes, nose and throat; and reduce pulmonary function.
The good news is that you don’t need to rely on these toxic chemicals for a clean home. You can power through most household dirt with inexpensive and effective homemade cleaners. You can also customize your cleaners with beautiful smelling bacteria-busting essential oils.
Baking Soda: A truly multitasking cleaner, baking soda is a perfect substitute for cleaning powders that scour sinks and tubs without scratching. It’s also great for wiping down and deodorizing the fridge. Combined with an equal amount of vinegar, baking soda can freshen drains and prevent them from clogging.
Distilled White Vinegar: White vinegar is great at clearing grease and removing odour. Due to its neutralizing properties, white vinegar is also good for washing windows, cleaning kitchen counters and shining bathroom fixtures. Simply dilute 1 part vinegar in 4 parts water. Vinegar is also natural antibacterial due to its high acid contents so it makes a great alternative to caustic cleaners on toilets and floors.
Salt: Perfect for cutting through the grease in ovens, salt also works well for soaking up fresh carpet stains such as red wine, coffee or ink. Pour salt on the wet stain. Let dry, then vacuum.
Vegetable Oil (Castille) Soap: This natural soap is great for floors and all-purpose cleaning when combined with vinegar or even warm water. For an all-purpose cleaner, add 1⁄2 teaspoon of soap to 2 cups of water.. For floors, combine 2 teaspoons of soap with 6 cups of water. Make sure to rinse well to remove any dulling residue.
Lemons: Lemon’s citric acid content makes it perfect for cutting through stubborn grease and makes your home smell fresh. Lemon juice is also a natural bleach, especially when combined with the sun. Freshen cutting boards by rubbing a cut lemon over the surface. Lemon also works well for banishing fish and egg odors. Undiluted lemon juice can also be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits.
Recipe: All-purpose cleaner and disinfectant
Just as effective as popular antibacterial cleansers, this formula is perfect for kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
2 cups hot water
¼ cup white vinegar
½ teaspoon baking soda
15 drops tea tree essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and shake well. To use, spray on surfaces, especially cutting boards, countertops and toilets. Wipe with a dry cloth.