I have not been using any toxic chemicals for my home for many years since I don't want to compromise my health and ruin the environment. Did you know that The Clean Water Fund estimates that each one of us uses 40 pounds of unsafe household cleaners each year? If you do the math and multiply it by 295 million Americans you realize that we dump 11.8 billion pound of toxic chemicals from cleaning products into the environment every year. Most of these chemicals don't break down easily, and they will accumulate in plants and animal tissues instead. This means the chemicals will be passed up to us through the food chain.
These chemicals are dangerous to our health. The pollution inside our homes from using these cleaning products are often greater than from the pollution from the outside environment. Several health problems are associated with the use of harsh chemicals in our homes:
- Neurotoxic effects resulting in headaches, depression and lack of mental concentration
- Liver and kidney toxicity
- Endocrine disruptor which contribute to glandular problems, PMS, reproductive cancers and infertility
- Respiratory irritation resulting in coughing, asthma, sneezing and allergies
- Carcinogenic chemicals that may cause cancer
Luckily there are many natural alternatives, and some of the things you most likely already have home. I like simple things that don't require many ingredients. I also keep a handful of essential oils on hand for cleaning purposes. In my next blog entry I will share some of my cleaning tips and recipes using essential oils.
Lemons have antibacterial properties so they make an excellent choice as disinfectants for your home.
- Chopping boards and counter tops: Cut the lemon in half to remove stains from counter top or to clean the chopping board. Let the lemon juice sit for a while before you wipe it clean. D not use on marble or granite counter tops.
- You can dissolve water and soap stains from the sink by dipping a cut lemon in coarse salt and use it to scrub. The same method works to scrub copper-bottom pots and pans.
- Lemons act as natural bleaching agents and can be added to laundry to brighten white linens and clothing. Pour 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle. This will also give them a nice citrus smell.
Table salt can be used as an abrasive cleaner.
- Coarse salt can be used to remove stains, caked- on food and on stove tops. It can also be used in bathtubs and other places where there's no concern for scratching.
- Use kitchen salt on caked-on food in pots and pans. First you soak the pots and pans with three table spoons of salt in a couple of inches of water. Let it sit for a while.
- Sprinkle salt on stains to clean up fresh spills in the oven and let it sit to absorb the moisture and greasy and wipe off with a damp cloth.
Vinegar is not only economical but it is also very powerful. Luckily the odor disappears as it dries. You can add lemon or essential oils if you want a more pleasant smell while you clean.
- Mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part water and put in a spray bottle and use as an all purpose cleaner around the house. It can be used on counter tops, sinks, appliances and floors. It can be used to remove soap scum and hard water stains. Just remember that vinegar is acidic and shouldn't be used on granite or marble.
- Pour 1 cup of vinegar in the toilet bowl and let it sit for hours for a sparkling, odor free toilet.
- Apply vinegar straight on mildew and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
- If you use the microwave, you can put 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup of water in a bowl and put it in the microwave and bring it to a rolling bowl. This will remove odors and make it easy to clean up stains with a damp cloth.
- Wipe down the kitchen with a sponge soaked in vinegar.
- Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle when doing laundry to soften clothes.
Baking soda is used by many to absorb odors from the fridge but is is also excellent at dissolving grease and dirt in water.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet to refresh it, and let sit for 10-20 minutes and vaccum. You can also mix 1 cup of soda with 10-20 drops of essential oils and sprinkle on the carpet. It is important that you don't use essential oils that stain the carpet so check on a small area first. Leave the mixture overnight for a stronger aroma.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the floor to remove scuff marks and wipe clean with a damp, warm cloth.
- Mix 1 part water with 3 parts baking soda to remove stains.
- Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your garbage can to absorb odors.
- Sprinkle baking soda on pots, pans and dishes and soak in water for a few hours to clean off burnt or caked-on food.
- Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry to remove dirt and grease.
There plenty of things to use instead of commercial cleaners and many also make their own laundry detergent. Hop over to Natural Cleaning with Essential Oils for some great recipes.
Thanks for visiting!