Toxic Landfill or Oasis? Natural Cleaning Solutions For Your Home

NEWS UPDATE!  April 2012 EWG’s Hall of Shame, Most Toxic Cleaning Supplies. Check it out and make sure none are in your cupboards.

When is the last time you looked under your kitchen sink?  Or in the cupboard where you keep your cleaning supplies?  Household cleaners have some of the most toxic ingredients.  In our home, we use just a few products to keep everything clean.   My basic cleaning products include vinegar, baking soda,  BonAmi cleanser (no bleach cleanser), An Essential Oil Household cleaner (for disinfecting: toilets, sinks, countertops), Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild soap, Oxygen bleach and Biokleen all purpose cleaner (glass & stainless steel).  I add my choice of essential oils to the vinegar solutions or BonAmi to suit my needs.  A few months ago I ran out of my Cinnamon/Clove/Rosemary/Lemon household cleaner.  When my new bottle arrived I cleaned my bathroom.  My four year old came up to the sink and breathed deeply saying “oh, mommy that smells so good”.  I felt great knowing I didn’t have to work in a “well-ventilated area” or keep my little boy from breathing harmful fumes.  I also know I can pop the kids in the bathtub right after cleaning with my Cinnamon/Clove/Rosemary/Lemon household cleaner and don’t have to worry about any chemical residue that might remain from products with questionable ingredients.

Essential oils make a great  addition to your own homemade cleaning solutions.  Many oils are naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.   Quality is essential in choosing oils to use for cleaning and personal use because many oils on the market are diluted, altered or may only be a synthetic reproduction which smells like a true oil.  Reproductions and diluted oils should not be relied on for cleaning and bacteria control because they do not have the natural antimicrobial qualities of a pure essential oil. 

Find an essential oil company that rigorously tests all the oils it sells for purity and potency. When you have a potent, tested product for purity, it will help keep your home clean. There is even research showing therapeutic grade oils are effective against antibiotic resistance staph infection (MRSA).   Cinnamon, clove, rosemary Lemongrass, Citronella and lemon essential oils are all powerful essential oils for keeping your home Green and Clean.  

When you use essential oils that are certified safe as food additives, so you can have full confidence in their safety around everyone, including children and pets.  Currently, the FDA does not have guidelines for essential oil labeling and inferior brands may contain synthetic additives or chemicals not listed on the labels – the exact things individuals like yourself are trying to avoid by looking to natural materials for safe solutions.  I used health store brand oils for 12 years with mixed results.  When I found Therapeutic, Food-Grade Essential Oils, I regained my confidence in using therapeutic grade essential oils to keep my family healthy and our home greener.  Adding Therapeutic, Food-Grade essential oils to your natural cleaning products will help you  have a cleaner home, and you will feel better when you limit your exposure to unknown chemicals.

Aerosol sprays pollute your breathing space

What are you spraying into your air?

Here are some practical and economical green cleaning tips and recipes:

  1. Remove clutter which collects dust.
  2. Institute a no shoes indoors policy. Shoes are a great source of dirt in the home including bacteria and pesticide residue from lawns.  We practice this in our yoga studio and many cultures do this as a sign of respect.  It makes perfect sense in maintaining a green home, leave the dirt at the door!
  3. Avoid “antibacterial” sponges and soaps, especially products with “Triclosan” a substance known to disrupt the endocrine system. Know anyone on thyroid medication?
  4. Avoid cleaners with ammonium and chloride derivatives including Bleach,  known to irritate the respiratory tract.  Anyone with asthma?
  5. Avoid any products with petroleum and solvents which are absorbed into the skin and wreak havoc on your system.
  6. Keep home-made solutions well labeled. Better yet, mix up only what you will use.
  7. Baking soda and salt act as natural non-abrasive cleanser.  Use up your iodized salt for cleaning and treat your body to Celtic Sea Salt for consumption.
  8. Oxygen bleach is a safe whitening alternative to chlorine bleach which is harmful to the respiratory tract and breaks down into dioxin, a carcinogen. My favorite brand is Natural Choices.
  9. Lemon juice and vinegar disinfect and dissolve hard water deposits.
  10. Borax disinfects and cleans many surfaces.

All Purpose Cleanser:  mix equal parts of water and baking soda to form a paste, add lemon juice or essential oil of choice to clean surfaces

Drain Cleaner:  Pour 1 C baking soda down drain, follow with 1 C vinegar, wait about 30 minutes until bubbling subsides. Rinse drain with hot water

Oven Cleaner: make a paste with 3/4 C baking soda, 1/4 C salt & 1/4C water. Spread on interior of oven and let sit overnight. Remove with a spatual in the morning using steel wool for tough spots.

Stainless Steel cleaner:  wipe area with undiluted vinegar

Sinks – use natural cleanser or oxygen bleach adding a drop or two of essential oils (clove, cinnamon, lemongrass, citronella or lemon) to disinfect

Mold & Mildew – Mix up cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, melaleuca alternifolia or lemon into a vinegar & water solution to spray directly on surfaces. Diffuse these essential oil to kill airborne mold spores. Or make your own spray with spore killing essential oils of clove, cinnamon, rosemary and lemon.

Dusting –  A damp cloth is all you need to remove dust, even from wood furniture.  Traditional polishes only spray chemicals into the air and may add a waxy build up.

If you’d like a place to start “greening” up your home, start with being healthy yourself. Get a copy of my free eBook and you’ll also get tips for natural living a couple of times a month.

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5 Responses to Toxic Landfill or Oasis? Natural Cleaning Solutions For Your Home

  1. colleen February 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    i just started making my own cleaners and was wondering
    if i did this right
    i put 10 drops of orange oil in a spray bottle with some vinegar and water

    in another i put 10 of each orange and tea tree oil and vinegar

    should i omit the vinegar

    i was only able to get orange and tea tree this week due to budget issues but will get lavandar and others

    i love your website very informative good work:)

  2. SueP February 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Great questions on quantities Colleen. The beauty of essential oils is you have a bit of flexibility. The vinegar will contribute to the cleaning qualities of your cleaner so I would not omit that. The water and vinegar is your foundational cleaner and the oils you add are like the frosting on the cake. They add more anti-bacterial qualities (anti-fungal in the case of tea tree oil) and pure clean fragrance. I also would not add more that 10-20 drops of total oil to a gallon of water and vinegar for floors and general cleaning. Any more than that is really wasting the oils. If I wipe out my bathtub with baking soda and and a wet washcloth, I may only use 1-3 drops of oil per cleaning. 8-10 drops of oil should be sufficient for a 16 oz spray bottle of vinegar and water, any more is just excessive. Essential oils are powerful and potent so capitalize on that benefit and you’ll extend your investment!

  3. Carmen July 10, 2015 at 12:55 am #

    Pet Urine/Vomit. The Pet Parent class would be ever grateful for a cleaning solution and a deterrent solution. I’ve always known that there is no such thing as a free kitty or a gifted puppy. They cost thousands in health care and good food–not to mention the additional thousands repairing or replacing damaged or ruined property because “It’s just a puppy/kitten! or The poor thing is old.” We love them never the less but we still need a cleaning solution and a deterrent solution. Please, help.

  4. Betty Shepard January 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

    Great article! I love essential oils and had looked into making my own cleaners until I found Norwex! Have you heard of it? You clean with ONLY water and radically reduce the chemicals in personal care and cleaning 🙂 You can even save some of your natural supplies & oils while keeping your home clean…it’s great & has changed my family’s lives…I hope you can check it out!

  5. Susan P January 23, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    Yes Betty, I’ve used Norwex. I like the idea of no chemicals and you can save your oils for other special uses like supporting your immune system!

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