In the effort to decrease our exposure to chemicals, many of us spend lots of money on organic foods…all in the effort of avoid pesticides and chemical fertilizers. However, one of the very first places you should look to decrease your chemical exposure is in your cleaning products.
Many household cleaners are full of chemicals that you really don’t want on your skin, in your lungs or in your food. Yes, I say in your food because the cleaners you spray all over your kitchen, surely end up in your food as well!
Even many of the cleaners marketed as “green” are still filled with things you don’t really want to be in contact with and they are often quite expensive. So what’s a person to do? Well, you can go crazy mixing up fancy home-made cleaning supplies if you are so inclined…and this can indeed be fun. However, you don’t have to run out and spend a lot of money on supplies, you can get started with just a few ingredients you probably have right in your kitchen!
The first and foremost number one cleaning ingredient is vinegar. I use this for everything! Next time you are in the grocery store, pick up a big gallon jug of white vinegar. The store brand is fine, no need to go fancy. For a couple bucks, you have a huge container of cleaning product! Many people worry about the smell…and yes, it does remind me of coloring easter eggs while I’m cleaning. However, when vinegar dries, it leaves behind NO SMELL. This seems to be the perfect time to point out that the “fresh” smell of most pre-made cleaners comes from chemicals. Real clean has no smell!!! But, if you want to add a little smell of freshness after cleaning, add a drop of lemon essential oil to a damp rag and wipe it over your kitchen counters, your refrigerator, or any surface area you want to freshen up.
So you have the vinegar, now what? Fill an old spray bottle (or buy a new one) almost to the top with vinegar, add just a drop or two of dish soap, a splash of water and you have a great all-purpose cleaner. You can even skip the dish soap if you want. I use this for my kitchen counters, my stove top, my refrigerator, my cutting boards, my toilets & sinks, mirrors, windows and even my floors.
For the tub, just sprinkle the tub with baking soda and then spray down with vinegar. The bubbling reaction and the grittiness of the baking soda provide a scratch free/scrubbing bubbles sort of action that is perfect for getting off that stubborn soap scum.
Getting ready to dust your wood furniture? Put away your can of pledge and simply take a rag, add a couple drops of olive oil and off you go. If you want to jazz it up, add a drop of lemon or orange essential oil, but it’s certainly not necessary!
Is your wooden cutting board stained up and a little nasty? You have to be very careful what you spray on your cutting board! A simple way to clean a stain is to sprinkle some salt on it, add a little lemon juice and scrub. If you are using a real lemon, toss it in your garbage disposal to freshen that up while you’re at it!
Need to polish up some silver? Use a paste of vinegar and baking soda. This will also work for bronze and copper and much better than the chemical tarnish removers that require gloves!!
After all this cleaning, your house probably just smells clean…like nothing. Before you even consider reaching for a can of air freshener, think for a moment what is in that can. Before you spray those chemicals into the air you breathe, consider how easy it would be to make your own air-freshener.
If you have a small spray bottle, simply add a splash of vodka, a few drops of essential oils and fill with water. Shake and spray. Don’t have any vodka? Use real vanilla extract – but beware not to spray too close to fabric.
Another option of smelling up your home (in a good way) is to take a tart warmer, and instead of adding a wax tart, just add water and a drop or two of essential oils.
Room smell option 3 – take a small pot of water, add orange peel, a good sprinkle of cinnamon and a few cloves. Your kitchen will smell delicious in no time. Or add lemon juice, lemon peel, or lemon essential oil for a fresh citrus scent. The possibilities are endless.
I hope I have inspired you to ditch the chemicals and try a simply, healthy and chemical free cleaning experience! Your home and your health will thank you for it!
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.