Swap out chemically-laden, corrosive, toxic products with natural alternatives and not only will you be making your family healthier, you'll be helping the planet too.
Have you noticed how laboratory-made cleaning fumes are marketed as being able to wipe out any offending bacteria or germ? All you need to do is take a trip down the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket to see how many different products there are to choose from.
But seriously the effects of the toxic ingredients contained within most cleaning and skincare products will astound you and worse still, the accumulation of these toxins in our bodies can lead to poor health. Widespread use of anti-bacterial cleaning products is also linked to the alarming increase in allergies also known as the hygiene hypothesis and continued use of them could place you and your family at risk of accumulated toxins.
If you're wondering what goes into many store-bought cleaners, check out this short list of home cleaners and the toxic substances they contain:
Oven Cleaners contain ingredients such as ethylene glycol, ethers, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), methylene chloride and ammonia. These substances are highly corrosive to the skin and eyes, and, when inhaled, can affect internal organs. If you do use oven cleaners the best thing to do is to ensure that you are wearing heavy rubber gloves, an apron and goggles to protect your skin from the effects.
Disinfectants contain the immunotoxicants cresol, phenol, ethanol, and formaldehyde, which reduce the ability of the immune system to fight the germs they are killing and can contribute to asthma. l It takes over twelve months to eliminate the toxic effects of spraying ¼ cup of disinfectant in the home. The best alternative for disinfecting is distilled vinegar and lemon.
Air Fresheners release a constant amount of artificial fragrance into a room to create an intoxicating aroma. But the fragrances in all air fresheners are not only intoxicating they can actually affect your sense of smell as they release nerve-deadening agents and leave oil build up in nasal passages. The agent which is used is known as methoxychlor, a pesticide that can accumulate in the body in the fat cells and can also over-stimulate the central nervous system, leaving you jittery and anxious. If you're looking for a natural air freshener why not try burning essential oils, dried spices or citrus juices they smell beautiful without the harmful side effects.
Toilet bowl cleaners these innocent looking little hanging ducks contain ferocious cleaning chemicals especially as they tend to be lodged under the bowl of the smallest room of the house and usually a room that is unventilated. The ingredients are typically oxalic acid, hydrochloric acid, lye (caustic soda) and naphthalene. A good alternative cleaner to use is baking soda and neat vinegar which will remove stains and rings from around the toilet.
Glass cleaners contain a mixture of ammonia and water. When you are cleaning away it's very easy to inhale the vapors as you spray it onto windows or glass. The best solution for squeaky clean glass and windows is using distilled white vinegar and using elbow grease buff with scrunched up newspaper.
Bleachers inhalation of chlorine and chemical vapors is known to be a strong irritant to the tissues in our lungs and a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis. When laboratory workers handle it they use protective gloves, face masks and they always make sure working areas have adequate ventilation. Even aware of the dangers doesn't stop chlorine from being used freely in many cleaners such as laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid and hand cleaning liquids. It's also an ingredient in our drinking water and is used in pools and spas to purify the water.
The best and healthiest option to a healthy home is to use natural alternatives that do just as good a job of cleaning your home without having to look down upon withered cuticles and flimsy nails.
Let's look at the ingredients of a typical dishwashing detergent to see the kinds of chemicals it contains:
• Sodium laureth sulphate
• Alcohol denat
• Lauramine oxide
• C9-11 pareth-8
• Sodium chloride
• 1, 3-Cyclohexanedimethanamine
• PPG (polypropylene glycols)
• Dimethyl aminoethyl methecrylate/hydroxyproply acrylate copolymer cirate
Without getting too technical, many of these ingredients can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. The perfumes are allergens for many people and the alcohols, sodium laureth sulphate and C9-11 pareth 8, can be contaminated with the carcinogen 1, 4 dioxane. When you combine the detergent with hot water it creates chemical vapors which you are breathing in and inhaling as steam, therefore drawing the chemicals right into your body, causing severe irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract. All of these chemicals are then poured down the drain, and could eventually end up polluting our environment and endangering our animals.
Natural products are truly all you need to clean and sanitize your home without the toxic by-products of their chemical counterparts. The best cleaning products that are inexpensive and easy to find at your local supermarket are bicarbonate of soda, lemons, distilled white vinegar, alcohol, essential oils and olive oil.
Use the following ingredients to add natural spark to your home and your health!
Baking soda cleans as well as deodorizes. It can be used to scrub the film and grease off surfaces as well as furniture and carpets. If you place baking soda in the bottom of your bin it will soak up unnecessary smells and deodorize the bin. You can also place in a box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors.
Vinegar is a fantastic all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant and deodorizer and can be used all over the house in many different areas in particular the bathroom and diluted as a floor cleaner. It can be used to clean the stove top, kitchen bench, appliances and surfaces. Use I cup of vinegar to one of water and place into a spray bottle. It can be used neat on the toilet and on tile grout to clean. The vinegar smell will dissipate when it dries. In the laundry vinegar can be used as a fabric softener. Just add ½ cup.
Lemon juice is fantastic at dissolving soap scum and hard water deposits, scrubbing dishes, surfaces and stains and can be mixed in with baking soda to create a cleaning paste. Lemon cleans brass and copper leaving it shiny and smear free. I like to put a lemon in the refrigerator to soak up all the smells and deodorize the fridge.
Now for the fun part...
How to make your own cleaning products:
Here are just a few items you will need to get started:
• Plastic spray bottles in various sizes
• Glass jars with screw-top lids
• Cotton cloths
All Purpose Cleaner
This can be used on most surfaces and for so many areas of the home. To give the cleaner a beautiful scent when cleaning just add 10 drops of essential oil, which will make the house smell amazing.
1 tablespoon soap (plant based is good)
1 litre hot water
¼ cup white distilled vinegar
1 lemon squeezed
10 drops of essential oil for fragrance
Mix together and pour into a cleaner trigger spray bottle shake carefully until mixed. Then use as a spray and wipe down surfaces.
Furniture & Floor Polishes
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
¼ cup of lemon juice
The best way to polish an item is to use an equal mixture of olive oil and lemon juice and apply with a soft cloth to furniture. Mayonnaise is also highly effective.
Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
1/2 cup liquid plant or animal fat based soap
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 drops tea tree oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
Mix together soap, water, lemon, tea tree and vinegar
Pour into squeeze bottle.
Use 1 TBS per wash
2 TBS baking soda can also be sprinkled over dirty dishes to absorb odors
2 Cups Water
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Tea Tree Oil
1/4 tsp. Lavender Oil
Combine and store in a spray bottle
Shake and use when needed
2 teaspoons borax
2 TBS liquid soap
1 cup Baking soda
Combine baking soda with enough water to make a paste
Apply it to oven surfaces, and let it sit for 15 mins
Now take a scouring pad and scrub the inside of the oven remove deposits and then wipe dry
It's a good idea to use gloves and glasses if you have them
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup washing soda
1 tablespoon vegetable oil-based liquid soap
2 gallons hot water
Combine all ingredients, stir well and place in bucket
1-1/2 cups vinegar
1/2 cup water
8 drops citrus essential oil of choice
Combine all ingredients in a pump spray bottle and shake well before use
Spray solution onto mirror and wipe with a dry cloth or scrunched up newspaper
Add these recipes to your green cleaning arsenal for a healthier chemically free home.