Let go. Don’t go another day on toxic cleaner dependence. Up your life now! Everyday we are exposed to all kinds of toxins and chemicals. These come from the air we breath, the water and food, and just being around things. We can largely reduce our exposure to these things through the choices we make in our homes. We can control this aspect of our daily living, while it is harder to control the outside air quality or our drinking water. We can drastically reduce the amount of toxins we are exposed to simply by changing what we use to clean our homes and our clothing.
Also, don’t be fooled by those expensive ‘GREEN’ (Method, Clorox Green,) cleaners. Many of them are just as harmful, contain the same chemicals, and are a waste of money when you can use simpler, cheaper cleaners. There are some out there that are legit, so just do some research.
So what to do with the old, toxic cleaners? There isn’t a good way to do this. You can either use them up, but why wait? Give them to someone who won’t change, donate them to a place (like work). Or pour them down the drain. In all reality, they’re going to end up down the drain anyway. If you think that it’s awful to pour a bottle of 409 down the drain, but you still think it’s okay to use it to clean, then your thought isn’t making sense. It all goes into the water supply.
I make most of all the cleaners I use around the house and I have reduced the amount of toxic cleaners I use for laundry. Trust me, these cleaners DO clean, DO de-germ, and DO cut the grime and grease. These simple cleaners are also more effective, don’t destroy your fixtures or clothing, are a lot cheaper, and leave a fresher air to breathe. All of these ingredients have a million uses, so they’re very versatile and you don’t have to buy separate cleaners for each thing you want to clean. I have converted Brad to using these cleaners that I make, and he’s said that it gets things a lot cleaner and doesn’t leave him with a headache.
A Few Basic Cleaning Ingredients:
128 oz Vinegar $2.70
4 lbs Baking soda $3
32 oz Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap $10
Others I Sometimes Use:
Old socks, washrags
Drip/Squirt bottle for furniture polish
Re-used spray bottles for cleaning mixtures
Re-used laundry detergent bottle to store baking soda
Large pickle jar for powdered laundry detergent
Trader Joe’s quick drying kitchen cloths $4 for two
All of these ingredients last a very long time. I go through vinegar the quickest, but it is super cheap. One thing to note is that you can also ingest a lot of these ingredients! You know it’s safe if you can eat it. The ones you don’t want to eat however, they can be used to clean your own skin. So you know these are safe things to use around the home an they will make you feel a lot better.
Another thing to note is that these products are not tested on animals. In fact, you can use them on animals knowing they’re okay. You can pour these ingredients on your skin all day and you won’t burn or get a rash. Would you want 409 dumped on your skin all day? Listed below are a few ways I use these cleaning ingredients.
General Cleaner: Spray bottle with a mixture of water, vinegar, Biokleen, and essential oils. I use this mixture to clean counters, the sink, the toilet, the vinyl/stone floors, the shower, and plastics. I keep a bottle under the kitchen sink and one with the rest of my cleaning stuff. You can even make a mix of just water/vinegar to clean produce.
You don’t have to add essential oils. They can be used for a more astringent cleaning, but mostly for smells! They will lift your spirit and they are not toxic fragrances that are SUPER harmful for you. Synthetic fragrances can negatively affect your lungs, your skin, and your nervous system. The essential oils last a very long time and go a long way in your cleaners, so they aren’t expensive when you consider their benefits and how long they last. You can also think of using essential oils as an aromatherapy benefit! Lift your mood while you clean! Just beware that what you are buying is truly an essential oil made from a plant. Many are just ‘fragrances’ that seem like essential oils. The brand Aura Cacia is legit: http://www.auracacia.com/auracacia/acproducts/acessoils.html
Furniture Polish: Squirt bottle with a mixture of olive oil, Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap, and water. This is not Pine-Sol. The water and soap clean the wood while the olive oil polishes. This makes the wood super shiny. You do have to make sure you really good over the wood to get it absorbed, but it keeps the wood clean for a long time and brightens it up.
Carpets & Stains: This can be tricky depending on the stain. If it just happend, I’ve had good luck putting salt on it to soak up the mess. Then I dab the area with a towel. After that, I sprinkle baking soda on it, then spray with a vinegar/water mix. If it still doesn’t come out, go for the Biokleen. This cleaner has an enzyme in it which breaks down dirt.
If you have a stain on a hard surface, such as a counter, then sprinkle with baking soda and spray with straight vinegar. Let it sit for a while, then scrub. If it’s still there, do it again.
Mirrors & Windows: No need to buy expensive, stinky Windex ever again. Ever! If cleaning your surface for the first time, clean with a wet rag and just a few drops of dish detergent. This gets the film off the surface that Windex leaves behind. Now, with a spray bottle with 1/3 vinegar and the rest water, clean the surface! If you really want to keep streaks away, then use newspaper. You will be amazed…trust me. It costs pennies and won’t leave you passed out on the floor from fumes.
Air Cleaners: Febreeze no more! Glade no more! These are super harmful since they are so easily inhaled. Really, I rather smell the stink than these products. They really give me a headache. It’s super simple to make your own fragrant spray and air freshener, and you can do it many ways. First, you should think about what is causing these smells around your home. Are you masking up something that should be cleaned? Is it time to replace that soiled carpet with easy to clean hard flooring? Or are you just trying to have some smell-good time?
1. Clean with the products I have listed, and things will smell good automatically
2. Save a misting bottle from perfume or whatever. Rinse it out well. Fill with filtered water. Add your own essential oils like lavender, rose, jasmine, citrus, pine, peppermint, etc. There are many mixtures listed online if you do some research on aromatherapy.
3. Herb Sachet. Take a muslin bag and fill with dried herbs like lavender, rosemary, rose petals, cinnamon bark, etc. You can find some in a regular grocery in the spices aisle, more at your health food store, and online.
4. A box of baking soda can be put in your fridge
5. Bowls of vinegar soak up odors in the air.
6. Simmer citrus peels, cinnamon, juniper berries, etc, in a pot over low heat on the stove. Just don’t let it go dry! You can also spray oil on these things and heat them up in the oven on it’s lowest setting.
7. Use an oil diffuser. The bottom part holds a candle and the top holds water with a few drops of essential oils. These things work well and a little less dangerous than leaving the stove on. Make sure again these are real essential oils you use, not fragrance.
8. Make your own reed diffuser. You can find a tutorial here on Re-Nest. Most of the ones you buy use that fake ‘fragrance’ which is still super harmful to breathe! This is why you need to be careful when buying ‘nice smelly air’ things.
9. Replace soiled items/declutter. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to keep things clean and less things to hold stink. Carpets and fabrics hold a lot of odors. Do a steam clean or consider replacing your carpets with hard surfaces that are easier to clean and don’t hold in bacteria, spills, and dust. Carpets are actually pretty unhealthy!
10. Beeswax candles. Opt for candles made of soy or beeswax. Paraffin actually makes your air dirtier and many candles use the synthetic fragrance. They are also harmful for your furnace, just like kerosene heaters, and wood fires because of the soot. Beeswax is the best because it makes negative ions, which cleans the air. They are costly, but you can extend their life by freezing them before use. It slows the melting!
Dr. Bronners Castille Soap: If you only had one cleaner, this would be it. It has hundreds of uses. You can use it to do general cleaning, laundry, shampoo, body wash, pet shampoo, and to wash the car.
Laundry: Laundry products are a huge issue when it concerns toxins. What we use in our laundry also has a huge impact on the environment because the water and exhaust from our machines goes out into the real world. When it comes to laundry cleaners, you can also keep it simple and use many of these same ingredients we’ve talked about so far.
Washing Clothes: It is possible to make your own very good detergent. I have done it myself and it works. I made my own powdered from washing soda, baking soda, grated bar soap, and borax. I just used 1 cup of each ingredient, then 1 bar of soap. There are many possibilities. Many people also add in salt, which keeps clothes bright, and some Oxyclean powder. There are tons of recipes online if your search “make your own laundry detergent’ or ‘homemade laundry detergent’.
I use what I made for an extra boost and for whites. I still use standard laundry detergent most of the time. However, I only use what is suggested as a small load’s amount for a large load. Then half of that for a small load, and it works. If you use too much, it will stay in your clothing and washer, causing it to stink.
Skip the fabric softener too, you can add in a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar. Vinegar also helps to eliminate odors and keep things whiter.
I recently purchased two drying racks to hang clothes on. They are collapsible so they don’t take up much room when not in use. The clothes dry pretty quickly, adding humidity to the air. To beat the wrinkles, I do throw them in the dryer for 5 to 10 minutes before they are totally dry. If they do become dry, I wet a bandanna and add it into the dryer.
Just this week I stopped using dryer sheets. I’ve always disliked them, but they did help to cut the static. But, they are SUPER toxic, not only to our bodies, but to the air outside. Ever walked by someone’s house and smell their super fragrant laundry going? To replace dryer sheets, I bought these Dryer Balls from a lady on Etsy that are handmade out of wool. They will last forever! This new way is a lot more cost effective over time and cuts time using the dryer. They replace both fabric softener and dryer sheets. If you want a smell to your laundry, you can put a few drops of an essential oil on them.
Converting your laundry cleaning products goes a long way in reducing the amount of toxins you are exposed to. Think about all the time we are in contact with our clothing, our bedding, towels, and our pillows. The residues left on these fabrics get rubbed onto our skin and inhaled through our lungs. The chemical toxins are then stored in our brains and other places in our bodies which lead to cancer, Alzheimers, nervous system disorders, skin rashes, and respiratory illness. They are really a huge contributor to negative health problems and are really bad for you. Here is a great link that just describes what is in dryer sheets: http://www.holistichealthsecrets.com/alternativehealth/main-content/the-toxic-dangers-of-dryer-sheets-and-fabric-softeners
So if you clean, then really do clean! Don’t dirty your things back up with chemicals that’s worse for you than the dirt that’s already there! Using these few ingredients is all about living simple and healthy.