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The following is a guest post from Deja of Deja Vu Organics.
How many times have you watched a commercial about bleach with clouds, floating flowers, and an overall feel of freshness? Sadly, that is not just an over-exaggeration, it’s pretty much a lie.
Conventional Cleaning Products
There are tons of conventional cleaning products and, sadly, almost all of them contain ingredients with side effects ranging from lung and skin irritation to being a carcinogen with repeated use. Definitely not what you want in products you use on a daily basis.
A great example is bleach. Bleach can be found in most cleaners and is advertised as the best way to kill germs. It’s also a chlorine-based corrosive substance that is especially harmful to infants and young children due to their immature immune systems.
Serious side effects of its residue include respiratory problems, skin burns, damage to the nervous system, asthma flares, extreme headaches, migraines, and vomiting. And it isn’t just toxic to people- it’s also toxic to animals and the environment.
(Psst, check out this post if you are curious about the toxin rating of your favorite store bought cleaning products!
A Better Alternative
Thankfully, there are easy (DIY) do-it-yourself cleaners that are just as effective as bleach and other conventional cleaning products as long as they are prepared the day you use them. Since I made it a priority to live a non-toxic lifestyle, I have been able to clean my house top to bottom mainly using vinegar, baking soda, castile soap, and tea tree essential oil.
Why These Cleaning Ingredients?
Each ingredient mentioned is great for cleaning in its own way. Baking soda is great for scouring and degreasing, castile soap is a potent cleaner (seriously- always dilute it), tea tree oil has been shown to be an “efficient disinfection of microbe-contaminated industrial surfaces,” and vinegar’s pH balance makes it near impossible for germs to survive.
Baking soda is naturally present in all things it helps maintain the pH balance necessary for life. It is a mild, natural abrasive great for cleaning dirt and grease allowing both to easily dissolve in water for effective removal. Baking soda is often used to whiten clothes and teeth and is great for scouring.
Dr. Bonner’s liquid Castile soap is highly concentrated, effective, and good for the environment and is the base of most of my cleaning solutions around the home. Another plus? They avoid using palm oil in their soaps due to its negative effects on the habitats of orangutans.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Essential oils weaken the cell walls of germs. With no cell walls, germs basically melt apart making essential oils very effective cleaners.
Tea tree essential oil is my favorite but there are plenty of other essential oils that are just as effective as cleaners. Also, I did say there were only five ingredients- not 10 or more. Other essential oils you could use are basil, bergamot, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, orange, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, and thyme or any combination of those listed.
Due to it’s pH balance and the acetic acid content, vinegar makes a great cleaner. However, as much as I love cleaning with vinegar, it is important to know it should not be directly mixed with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or castile soap to avoid any dangerous mixtures or neutralizing it (mixing with baking soda essentially makes salt water).
6 Easy DIY Cleaning Recipes
Ready to see how easy cleaning your home can be with natural cleaners? Check out these simple recipes!
Add 1 tsp of castile soap to ½ cup of water with 5 drops of tea tree oil to a squeeze bottle then squirt on a sponge or scrub brush to wash your dishes.
Add ⅓ cup of castile soap (½ if especially dirty) to a large load of clothes in a normal washer. Then add ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. If you have a High Efficiency (HE) washer, use half of the mount.
Add ½ cup of castile soap in 3 gallons of hot water to clean kitchen and bathroom floors. Optional: Add 5 drops of tea tree or other essential oil to increase disinfecting power and add a fresh scent.
Add ¼ cup castile soap and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil in a quart of water in a glass spray bottle.
Pour 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle and use to clean windows. If the windows are especially dirty, go old school and use a newspaper instead of paper towels to clean.
Pour ½ cup of liquid castile soap into an old toilet bowl cleaner container or glass container/mason jar. Then add ½ cup of baking soda and 20-25 drops of tea tree essential oil (normally I would not suggest putting essential oils into plastic but it’s literally being flushed down the toilet and I have yet to find anything that works as well as spraying a toilet bowl cleaner shaped bottle for cleaning under the rim). Let soak for one minute and then scrub.
Cleaning your home can be done just as effectively with natural cleaners so give it a shot and let us know how well it works for you.
Do you already clean with natural cleaners? If so, drop your favorite recipe below!
Deja Cronley is a Registered Nurse turned Blogger. She fell in love with natural living four years ago and has dedicated herself to educating others about organics. She loves Crossfit, the beach, and playing with her kids. Read more about organic, non-toxic living at DejaVuOrganics.com.
Need even more DIY Cleaning Recipes?
Homemade Soft Scrub