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Did you know that your cleaning products contain three different categories of hazardous toxins?
Obviously, I knew they weren’t safe to drink or to get in your eyes… but I had no idea they were this toxic: “For starters, the three essential categories into which most of the hazardous ingredients in household cleaning products fall are:
1. Carcinogens – Carcinogens cause cancer and/or promote cancer’s growth.
2. Endocrine disruptors – Endocrine disruptors mimic human hormones, confusing the body with false signals. Exposure to endocrine disruptors can lead to numerous health concerns including reproductive, developmental, growth and behavior problems. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to reduced fertility, premature puberty, miscarriage, menstrual problems, challenged immune systems, abnormal prostate size, ADHD, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and certain cancers.
3. Neurotoxins – Neurotoxins alter neurons, affecting brain activity, causing a range of problems from headaches to loss of intellect.” (green.wikia.com)
For starters?! That’s just the beginning? Apparently, Phthalates, Perchloroethylene or “PERC”, Triclosan, Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”, 2-Butoxyethanol, Ammonia, Chlorine and Sodium Hydroxide are just some of the substances found in regular cleaning products that alter our health.
Then there are the so-called “green products” that have just started to invade supermarkets, ever since the eco-bio boom. But here’s the thing: even if they claim these products are 100% natural and safe for your home… that doesn’t mean they’re non-toxic, according to the “The Sins of Greenwashing” report in 2010.
So the best thing you can do is make your own natural cleaning products. Trust me, it’s not complicated at all. In fact, it’s easier than going to the supermarket and back… and it’s a lot (A LOT!) cheaper.
I found a list of basic ingredients for DIY cleaners on Apartment Therapy, so here’s what you’ll need:
• Baking Soda
• White Vinegar
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Essential oils, like tea tree oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, or lemongrass oil
• Castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
• Fresh herbs, citrus, or citrus peels
• Olive or vegetable oil
• Kosher salt
You’re also going to need:
• Measuring cups and spoons
• Spray bottles
So let’s start with porcelain and tile cleaners, as they cover quite a wide surface in most apartments and houses.
For horizontal surfaces (such as counters), you can sprinkle baking soda, then soak a sponge in water and scrub the surface. You can also use kosher salt on persistent stains, but scrub gently, so you don’t scratch the tile.
For vertical surfaces (walls), try some homemade disinfectant: 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 30 drops of tea tree oil (recipe I read on thedailygreen.com). The whole place will smell incredibly good and everything will be as clean as it gets.
For grease stains, use vinegar. I’ve been using it for a long time, my grandma taught me this trick and it always worked.
Now here’s a window cleaner recipe from parentables.howstuffworks.com. It’s really easy to make and it’s very efficient:
Mix 2 gallons of warm water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 2 tsp. liquid dish detergent in a big bucket. Dip a sponge or squegee into the mixture and scrub the windows. Use the squegee to remove all liquid from the windows. Finish by wiping clean with a dry rag.
But what about floor cleaners?
If you’ve got wooden floors, here’s another little trick I got for my grandma: in a bucket, mix 2 part water with 1 part white vinegar and mop the floor with it. Let it dry completely before entering the room again. According to gomestic.com, this method is no longer endorsed by the National Wood Flooring Association, but I reccomend it wholeheartedly. My gran used it for decades and her floors were perfectly fine.
For ceramic and laminate floors, you can use the natural disinfectant I told you about earlier: 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 30 drops of tea tree oil. But you don’t need to use it every time you mop. Soaking the mop in a 3 part water, 1 part baking soda will do just fine if there are no persistent stains.
If you want a natural carpet cleaner as well, you can try this recipe:
Mix 1/2lb baking powder with up to 3.5-oz. corn flour. Then crumble dried bay leaves and add them into the mixture. If you want to, you can also add a handful of potpourri to give it a fresh smell. Now you’ll have to cover the container and shake the mixture.
If you’ve got stains, apply some of the powder onto the stained area and leave it overnight. Wipe off the powder the next day and then vacuum to make sure no residue remains in the carpet. (searchwarp.com)
That’s all for now, but I can’t wait to read your own recipes in the comments section. Also, if you try these ones out, tell me how they worked for you, what you’d add to make them more efficient or smell better. Any tip is welcomed here!
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