There is something about the feeling just after cleaning a room. That sense of accomplishment for all the hard work you put into scrubbing. The openness when everything is put away. The smell of clean.
Over the years I have set a goal for myself to wean off of harsh chemical cleaners that are bad for the environment or worse, bad for the health of my family. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping you live your healthiest life, states that chemical cleaners may induce asthma, contain cancer causing ingredients and cause allergic reactions and serious physical burns to the skin.
This does not bode well with me!
In an effort to reduce my and my family's exposure, I have researched a few simple ways to replace these harsh chemicals with gentler more natural ones that keep us safe and also protect the environment. Disclaimer: I am not perfect. I do still have a stash of chemicals such as bleach and bathroom cleaner but use them only in case of emergency (aka the dog decided to take a mud bath and now I have to do a deep disinfecting of the tub and all her towels).
Here I will share the recipes I use to make my own as well as a few resources to purchase "done for you" cleaners
Most commercial carpet and fabric fresheners such as this Febreze receive low scores from EWG because they can cause allergic reactions or induce asthma. In addition, carpet fresheners only cover the odors, not necessarily "clean". On my quest to find a healthier alternative, I found myself in the baking in the baking aisle at the supermarket. I combined 1 1/2 cups of baking soda with 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil, whisked it together and let it sit for about an hour to allow the lavender to infuse. Sprinkled on my carpet, let sit for half an hour and vacuumed it up. It may be my imagination, but I do believe even Daisy Dog acts a little more calm after a refreshing carpet cleaning.
Keeping those Circadian Rhythms in balance is a must for good sleep. Throwing up the blinds to let the sun shine in is much more pleasant with clean and streak free windows. Unfortunately, those bottles of blue liquid score poorly on the EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning. My plastic bottles have been replaced with a more decorative glass spray bottle (I love this one from Grove Co.) filled with a blend of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, water and essential oils. Skip the paper towels and opt for microfiber cloths or black and white newspaper (trust me...it works!!)
All Purpose Cleaning and Disinfecting Spray
After researching different all purpose cleaners and disinfectants, I have learned that many of them get poor grades with an emphasis on the dangers to one's health as well as the environment. Now more than ever, I want to make sure I am keeping the germs to a minimum but not at the expense of my family's safety. These toxic cleaners were some of the first to go on my quest. I now disinfect with a spray bottle filled with a blend of 190 proof alcohol, vinegar, water and a boost of antimicrobial lemon myrtle and pine essential oils. The smell is wonderfully refreshing and it leaves my counters and bathroom clean and sparkling.
Done for You Cleaners
Maybe you are not ready to make the investment into DIY cleaners. As I mentioned, this has been a journey where I have found a balance between making my own, slowly adding to my essential oil collection, and store bought cleaners. My biggest pet peeve about store bought is the one time use plastic containers that even the greenest cleaners are packaged in. Many companies are popping up with more environmentally friendly products that are minimally packaged, good for the environment, cost efficient and\, well, kinda fun (in a "I need to find some joy in cleaning).
When choosing done for you products, these are my go-to brands, most of which are available in stores
Cleaning is a chore, but one that can be made a little more enjoyable with the right products and perhaps a great playlist. You will be able to reap the benefits of the essential oils long after you have put the dusting cloths away.
Will you join me in my quest to use healthier and safer cleaning alternatives and reduce your use of plastics?
Share you ideas in the comments.
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I'm Liz. Mom, wife, teacher, Health Coach. My passion lies in everything health and wellness. When new research and trends pop up, you can bet I am finding the best resources to information, weeding out the not so good and making the great easy to digest. From meal planning and recipes to exercise and mindfulness, wellness touches upon so many dimensions. Your path to optimal health is out there and I can help you find it.