I don’t want to sell you all my cleaners but if you have children, pets, or other life forms in the house you need to know that indoor air pollution from cleaning products and fragrances irritate the nose and throat, cause headaches, allergies, asthma, and yes, cancer. When government (EPA), science (NIH), and citizens groups (EWG) all agree that a thing is Satan in a can, all ears should be listening. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that over 95% of household cleaners, detergents, soaps, etc. contain toxic ingredients that do more harm than good. The American Lung Association publishes a great piece on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) if you feel like deepening your knowledge about depressing things. Basically, you are poisoning your house and your perfume is from hell. You can and should make your own household cleaners or switch to “green cleaners”
You should also chill on the antibacterial everything you domestic destroyer of all things microbial. Growing evidence shows that the overuse of hand sanitize and antibacterial everything is preventing children from building resistance to bacteria which increases their risk of developing allergies, autoimmune disorders, and environmental sensitivities. Microbiome studies are fascinating; you have more bacterial cells in your body than human body cells and most of them are hard at work keeping you healthy. Basically, when you psychotically attack all the bacteria you can end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Our immune systems are like a muscle - you’ve got to let it flex to allow it to grow. I’m not saying to lick doorknobs and sanitation standards are paramount to a healthy home but you can do it better. If the simple horrors of this first world health crisis have you down, I have some solutions.
What I want to focus on is the empowerment piece of my mission statement at ms.fresh thus I'll share some recipes so you can detox your environment wherever possible. My favorite blogger Katie Wells, aka the Wellness Mama, is a DIY goddess and you should defer to her recipes whether you’re a green newbie or an ass deep in baking soda pro on the do-it-yourself circuit. Like any recipe, you end up modifying the components to your preference and needs. Environmental differences and water quality (hardness, mineral and metal content) vary by locale but the basic ingredients will get the job done. You can purchase spray bottles and all ingredients at grocery and Sprawl Mart type stores. Not all the ingredients are organic but they are known to be far safer and free of fragrances and unnecessary toxins. Here are your starter pack recommendations to make all purpose cleaners and detergents:
Large box of baking soda
1 gallon white vinegar
Fels Naptha soap*
Metaborate powder (Borax)*
Basic essential oils
Dr. Bronner's castile soap
*Indicates active ingredient, not organic
How do I know it works? I had a unique army of enthusiastic researchers (my 8th graders) test this in the most germy place imaginable - our school. We swabbed lockers, doorways, the band room floor, bathrooms, etc. to grow bacteria in petri dishes. We then tested commercial cleaners vs. DIY cleaners to see how they measured up. The evidence overwhelmingly showed that the greener cleaners destroyed just as much bacteria as their toxic counterparts. Also, let’s talk about vinegar. Bleach and commercial cleaners started to give me an instant headache once I eliminated them because they slowly poison us. Now when I smell white vinegar, I smell clean. The smell of it doesn't linger like commercial cleaners. I’d challenge you to use it and wait 20 minutes; there will be no vinegar smell, just green clean. So if your new cleaners have you craving salt and vinegar chips, just wait;)
Mix the following:
How to use: Mix one tablespoon with a pint of warm water to dissolve powder then pour into washer as you would any detergent. Safe for babies and high efficiency washers. Note: All of these ingredients can be found in the cleaning aisle at grocery stores/sprawl mart
All Purpose Spray Cleaner
Mix the following in a standard size spray bottle (32 oz):
How to Use: Spray and wipe! I use this on stove, counters, doorknobs, phones, bathrooms, etc. I have a different spray for glass...the ratios can be adjusted for different size bottles. Basically its 1:4, vinegar:water.
Mix in a mason jar or bowl to use immediately. If you are storing it, don’t add the vinegar until you are ready to use.
How to Use: Apply with a damp cloth and scrub as you would with a “soft scrub” type tub and tile cleaner. Allow to sit for a few minutes and rinse - see the sparkle! This is an amazing mix.
Streak Free Glass Cleaner
Mix in a spray bottle.
How to Use: Spray and wipe. I got the tip to wipe with newspaper and it works to eliminate streaks. Who knew? Your grandmother knew.
Wood Polish - everyday dusting and wood floor cleaner
Mix in a spray bottle
How to Use: Spray and wipe. Make a larger quantity in a bucket for floors adjusting ratios as needed.
Fruit and Veggie Spray
Mix in a spray bottle
How to Use: 2 ways: spray and wipe apples, pears, tomatoes, large fruits. Use as a soak for berries, grapes, lettuce, etc. It kills listeria, e coli, salmonella.