The following is a guest post from Emily at Crunchy Mama Science. Emily Brown is a Medical Laboratory Scientist gone crunchy stay at home mama who blogs over at Crunchy Mama Science about simple, healthy living with a side of the science behind natural living! For Ten Easy Steps Toward Natural Non-Toxic Living and a free worksheet, visit www.crunchymamascience.com!
My Natural Cleaning Routine and Why I Have One
Why Natural Cleaning?
Natural cleaning is one of the simplest, most inexpensive ways to begin a transition into natural, healthy living. Not only does it remove some of the harshest chemicals in your home, it is incredibly cost effective, and very easy to start. It was one of the first natural changes I made in my life.
Why would we want to avoid harsh cleaners?
Chemicals in cleaning supplies may contribute to asthma, allergies, rashes, birth defects, reproductive problems, cancer, and of course burns and poisoning (1).
Some of these toxic chemicals include:
• Formaldehyde—known carcinogen, respiratory irritant
• 1,4 dioxane—probable human carcinogen
• Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether—implicated in fertility problems and possible harm to fetus
According to the EWG website, “The known dangerous ingredients are also at times able to vaporize into the air, react with other chemicals, and create even more dangerous and unknown chemicals” (1).
These are just a short few examples of the toxic chemicals that are lurking in your cleaning products (for an extensive list, see this website).
How To DIY
But, the good news is that it is simpler, safer, and cheaper to just make cleaning products right at home! My cleaning arsenal is very simple.
• Baking Soda: Baking soda is an abrasive base, which makes it an excellent choice to work in conjunction with soaps as you scrub hard messes.
• Castile soap: Castile soap is a saponified, vegetable based soap that is multi useful especially when it works together with baking soda. You can buy it unscented or scented with essential oils.
• Essential Oils*: Many essential oils are naturally microbial and function as anti-septics as well as offering a cover smell for vinegar.
*As with any essential oil, educate yourself. Do your research on the company you have chosen; call them and ask questions, research their farms, distillation processes, GC/MS reports, organic practices, and other data. Essential oils are powerful and must be treated as such. Please, keep them in a locked cabinet far away from children.
• White Vinegar: An excellent, natural, mild acid that works well for disinfecting.
• Hydrogen peroxide: For serious clean ups and biohazards, vinegar may not quite cut it and a hydrogen peroxide disinfectant boost is a good choice.
• Natural Dish Soap: An optional alternative for castile soap that won’t leave a film.
All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe
I fill up a big spray bottle with half white vinegar, half boiled or distilled water, a few squirts of natural dish soap, and 40+ drops of essential oil (usually cinnamon or lemon). You can also use castile soap here if you don’t have hard water.
My Cleaning Routine
I use my all-purpose cleaner and a damp rag for most of my home cleaning, including the kitchen, bathroom, and all other rooms in the house.
I use baking soda for tough messes and cleanups. I sprinkle it on the area followed by castile soap, then I use a sponge to scrub it; it works well for shower scum and the toilet bowl. For the carpet, I mix baking soda with essential oils and sprinkle it on the floor, let it sit for a few minutes, and vacuum it up.
DIY cleaning is just about as simple and cost effective as can be. It’s one of the easiest and most effective changes to make toward getting toxins out of your home, and I recommend beginners start here. I don’t have to worry about my daughter being in the room when I’m cleaning, in fact she can help. When I was pregnant I didn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in my home.
It’s much simpler too. Gone are the days when you need a cabinet full of different cleaning products for each appliance and room. The ingredients to make these products are cheap, and can easily be purchased in bulk.
Don’t mix baking soda and vinegar. Although nothing bad will happen, we have to remember that baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. Base + Acid = Salt and Water. Water won’t give you a good clean! Keep baking soda with castile soap and vinegar with oils and water.
Castile soap may leave a film behind when combined with hard water, as it reacts with the minerals. If you find this happening, you can cut it afterwards with your all-purpose vinegar spray.
Do you make your own cleaning products? Share your recipes below!