Do your cleaners need to be locked away under the kitchen sink for fear that a little one will reach in and sample a dangerous chemical? If so, then it’s time to do a household cleaner makeover!
We’ve all been misled
Cleaning manufacturers have convinced us that we need a specific cleaner for every surface of our home – a special spray for the kitchen counters, another one for the bath, one for the shower, another one for mirrors and then there’s the laundry, dishes, floors and toilets.
It’s actually quite possible to clean ALL of those surfaces with one or two types of natural cleaning ingredients.
Here are some other fun tidbits that I found in my research over the years:
- Did you know that when using Lysol wipes, you have to leave it on the surface for 4 minutes in order to disinfect it? Who cleans this way?
- Or, did you know that almost all conventional cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals that can cause asthma, disrupt your endocrine system or even cause cancer?
- And, to make matters even worse, some popular cleaners (like Easy Off Oven Cleaner) are banned in the E.O. because they can harm the lungs. Spic & Span is banned in CA and the E.O. for being toxic to aquatic life and disrupting the hormone system. 409 and Lysol contain Ammonium Chlorides, which have serious respiratory effects and are dangerous to aquatic life.
So where do I begin?
The Environmental Working Group has done a great job of reviewing over 2,000 cleaning supplies. You can enter the name of your cleaner in their database and they will give it a grade and breakdown the possible toxic nature of the chemicals inside.
Think about this – you wipe down your kitchen counters and table where you eat. The cleaners leave a residue. Your 4 year old drops a chicken nugget with ketchup on it on the table and uses their finger to swipe it up. They’ve just consumed whatever residue was left behind on the surface.
You can always go with natural cleaners you’ll find in stores and online, like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Branch Basics. But these can get expensive. I like to use homemade concoctions of vinegar with essential oils that have disinfecting properties like thyme, tea tree and grapefruit.
Making Your Own Cleaners
- Head to a big box store and get your supplies: empty spray bottles, rags (or use old t-shirts), hydrogen peroxide, castile soap, jug of plain vinegar, salt, baking soda and some quality essential oils. (SO much cheaper than all of those cleaners!)
- Baking soda and salt, mixed with a bit of water makes a great scrub for the stove. Great for grout too. Keep those old toothbrushes for scrubbing these surfaces.
- Vinegar and essential oils, like grapefruit, make great countertop cleaners. The essential oils cover up the strong vinegar smell, as well as have disinfecting properties.
- Keep a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in separate bottles. Use them to tackle bacteria-rich zones like bathrooms and kitchen counters.
- Castile soap and hot water do wonders on grease.
- For dusting, just use a microfiber cloth that is slightly damp and then a dry one to polish it clean.
- Try things like wool dryer balls instead of chemical-laden dryer sheets. I’ve used mine for 2 years and I love them!
Do you make your own cleaners? I’d love to hear your cleaning tips in the comments below!