I love a good Spring Cleaning, don’t we all? (Forgive me, I am assuming you all are as OCD about a clean house as I am) But what about all those chemicals that are lurking in your cleaning products? Yikes! That actually scares me worse than the germs do, and I am, as I mentioned previously, quite the germ-o-phobe!
You might be thinking “well, I only deep clean now and again, how harmful could the sprays and soaps really be?”
Let’s answer with a statistic – According to Deepak Chopra (Physician, Writer, and Professor), only 5% of ALL genetic mutations are hereditary. That means the rest, over 150,000 currently estimated, are due to a toxic environment/environment products.
So when I say today’s post is about Spring Cleaning, I don’t necessarily mean scrubbing those corners. Let’s start with the products in our cabinets. And instead of waiting until the Spring, let’s start now!
We are just beginning to skim the surface on all of the chemicals that have been sprayed on our countertops for generations past, and what we’re finding is not all that encouraging. According to one of my favorite sites, www.mercola.com, the main chemicals you want to watch out for are as follows:
Terpenes, Phenol, Petroleum Solvents, Phthalates, Benzene, Nonylphenol Ethoxylates, Butyl Cellosolve, 1,4 – Diclorobenzene, Styrene, Formaldehyde, and Triclosan. These petrochemicals that have been formulated into cleaning (and personal care) products have been compromising our health in more ways than one. According to Jeanne Rizzo, CEO of The Breast Cancer Fund, just some of these chemicals are responsible for disrupting our hormones, tricking them into thinking hormones are present in our body that really aren’t. This one side effect has been proven to cause earlier puberty in children, which statistically increases risk of breast cancer. In fact, breast cancer is approximately 2 times as high among women who use cleaning products (specifically mold and mildew cleaners, and air fresheners). In addition, these chemicals are also causing reproductive and developmental problems in children, inflammation problems, other forms of cancer, neurological issues, and the list goes on…
I really could make this into a several part series due to the wealth of information available, but I believe there are many great articles out there already, so I encourage you to do your own research on the above chemicals. One great article I came across was on Dr. Mercola’s direct site, and I highly recommend you skim it over:
So what are we to do now that we’re afraid to touch our cleaners?? I’ve got some environmentally friendly, practical and easy DIY recipes that will take the fear out of your cleaning endeavors.
Some of these recipes, I’ve already referenced on my post on Practical Homesteading, but I will repost again so that you have them in 1 place – however, several are new:
Powdered Dishwasher Detergent:
1 Cup Borax Powder
1 Cup Baking Soda or Super Washing Soda
Optional – several drops of your favorite Essential Oil – and Lemon EO to help with the rinse cycle
Mix all ingredients and shake well. You will use 2 Tbsp per load.
Liquid Dishwasher Detergent:
2 Cups Liquid Castile Soap
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Drops EO of your choice
Pour all ingredients into a plastic bottle with squirt top and shake well. Use 2 Tbsp per load.
1 Cup Borax Powder
1 Cup Super Washing Soda
1 Grated Bar of All Natural Soap (such as Fels Naptha or plain Ivory)
15 Drops EO
Mix all ingredients well and use 2 Tbsp per load.
All Purpose Cleaning Spray:
1/8 Cup White Vinegar
1 Tsp Borax Powder
1 Tsp Super Washing Soda
1/8 Cup Liquid Castile Soap
16 Ounces Hot Water
10 Drops Lemon EO – or Thieve’s Blend (See my recipe on my post on Thieve’s Oil)
10 Drops Tea Tree EO (Optional if using Thieve’s blend)
Combine the vinegar, washing soda, borax, and soap in a spray bottle. Fill bottle with hot water and add essential oils. Blend until dissolved. Shake before using.
Source – The Herb Companion, September 1999
1 Cup Baking Soda
10 Drops of EO of your choice
Mix together and shake well. Leave to stand overnight. When using, shake on your carpet, then vacuum.
Source – http://brocanthehome.typepad.com/brocante_home/
1 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
Mix the ingredients and use by dabbing a rag into the solution, then wiping onto your wood surfaces to polish.
1/2 Cup Bentonite Clay
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
12 Drops Lemon EO
Place clay in a bowl, and make a small well in the center. Drop the EO in the middle, then add baking soda and mix until blended.
1/8 Cup Liquid Soap
1/4 to 1/2 Cup White Distilled Vinegar
30 Drops Citrus EO
Combine Ingredients in a pail. Mix the water until it is sudsy. Make only what you will use at that time.
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Cups Club Soda or Water
1/2 Tsp Peppermint EO
1 Tsp Cornstarch
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, the pour into a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before each use.
2 Tbsp Baking Soda
2 Tbsp White Vinegar
1 Tsp Orange EO
1 Tsp Grapefruit EO
2 Cups Water
Mix all ingredients in a 4 cup measuring bowl. Note: it will foam. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes before pouring into a spray bottle.
Source- The Herb Companion, March 2006
These recipes are easy to make, practical, chemical free, and will save you money! Win win! Don’t have the time? There are so many “green” brands of cleaners on the shelves as well that use plant-based cleaning agents, and all natural, sustainable ingredient sources – one of my favorites being Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products. But whether you make it yourself, or buy it, it’s important that you do some extra research and learn what you are using to clean your environment. Our health is such a necessity to us, and when our bodies are being bombarded from all sides from environmental chemicals, to the chemicals in our food, we owe it to ourselves, and our families to take some of the burden off of our overtaxed systems.
Hope this post gets you inspired to do some “cleaning” of your own!