Monday, March 7, 2011

Clean smarter, not harder, live longer

            To me it is only logical that if you are cleaning up the way you eat and getting healthier that you should also strive to limit the amount of chemicals you come into contact with each day. The best place to start is your house. Go through your house and look in every room and see how many chemicals you have in your house, seriously from the toilet bowl cleaner, glass cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, air freshener, disinfectant spray, bleach, dusting spray, the list goes on.   
            My journey to using chemical free cleaners was not based on the environmental concerns I hold now.  I was only concerned in finding cleaners that would work without making my kids and I wheeze and giving me headache. I was at a homeschooling picnic when another mother introduced me to a mail order company that sold all natural cleaning products that she said had worked wonders in her house and stopped her family from getting sick after cleaning. This gave me pause I hadn't really thought about it before but every time I cleaned I got a headache if I did alot of cleaning all my kids needed breathing treatments, maybe she was on to something. So I started using those products and they worked great. She was right the headaches didn't occur after cleaning and no wheezing. My daughter's with eczema were even able to do dishes. As time went I found that I could use other products that were less costly and that I could simply make my own cleaners. So here are my favorite alternative money saving eco-friendly cleaners-
1) Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap- this soap has soooooo many uses it doesn't even make sense but you can use it as a bodywash, shampoo, and in keeping with the purpose of this post you can use it to clean cabinets, counters, floors, walls, tables, toilets, tubs, just about anything even dishes (although IMHO Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds formula is a better dish liquid but it does contain sodium lauryl sulfate which is why it is so good at cutting grease). You can use it diluted half soap half water and it will still work effectively. You can make your own homemade soft scrub with water, baking soda, and Dr. B's and all purpose cleaning spray, as well as just adding a bit to a bowl or bucket of water and using it to do your cleaning of cabinets and whatever else.
           Castile Soap scrub recipe 
            1/4 cup soap
            1/8 cup water
            1/8-1/4 cup baking soda add until desired consistency
          All Purpose Spray
          32 oz bottle
           2oz Dr. B's
           30 oz water
           if you want you can add either a tsp of vinegar or baking soda to increase cleaning power
2) Vinegar- plain old white distilled vinegar is your friend! Not only can you make glass cleaner out of it but you can use it as a natural disinfectant. Yes some things may smell like pickles but at least it won't make you choke or sick like bleach.  Vinegar and water works good on sealed wood floors too. I use it in my laundry in place of fabric softener (I know its a bit much for some of you but if your chemical sensitive ya'll like it) it help get all the soap out of your clothes leaving them soft. I have a front load machine so I add a few drops of essential oil to the tray holding the vinegar if I want a scent (no I don't smell like pickles!)
           Window Cleaner
            32 oz spray bottle
            4-6 oz vineger
            fill with water
            *if you want a fragrance add 10-15 drops of lemon or orange essential oil*

3) If you are feeling truly advanturous you can make your own laundry soap I do! I started not only to save money but because y children have sensitive skin and eczema. Finding a good affordable fragrance free detergent was next to imposible. I started by using this woman's recipe  which now I have modified to my liking and to make it more concentrated. I use Kirk's Coco Castile Soap to make mine and it works great. We have been using it for over a year and love it!!!!

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