How “clean” is your cleaner?

Ever wonder why the smell of cleaning products can be so overwhelming? Many of the common household cleaning products offered at your local grocery store are full of volatile chemicals that can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, and linger on countertops. In addition to the potential health-related concerns with toxicity, there are largely unknown effects to our local ecosystems and the plant and animal life that depend on it.

Fortunately, some of the most common household products can create some really effective cleaning products, plus they’re the cheapest way to clear out toxic chemicals from your home. For example, baking soda can be used as a “soft scrub”, and white vinegar can be used as a window/chrome cleaner.

There are a few more simple products that can be added to the mix, depending on the type of job you need to get done. For example, essential oils are a great addition - they not only add fragrance, but they have excellent anti-microbial properties – eucalyptus, citrus, and fir are some of my favorites. Some essential oils are even anti-viral and/or anti-fungal.

Microfiber cloths pair really well with these cleaning recommendations. They’re especially good for cleaning bathrooms, wood floors and dusting - which is essential for asthmatics and those with dust allergies. Lemon juice mixed with table or sea salt makes a good abrasive scrub for chopping boards and other rugged surfaces. Eucalyptus Essential Oil removes stains and grease. It’s also a mild antiseptic and an insect repellent - great for getting fleas off pets! Borax (use this sparingly) is a mildly abrasive cleaner, a water softener and an insect repellent. Raw sea salt is a great bleach and stain remover. Lastly, beeswax is a good wood preservative and polishing agent.

My favorite resource for home-cleaning recipes is “The Naturally Clean Home: Over 100 Safe & Easy Herbal Formulas for Nontoxic Cleansers”. Here’s a simple recipe, from the book, that I use for windows and bathroom mirrors:

 1 ½ C white distilled vinegar

 ½ C water

 8 drops of essential oil (your choice, but I recommend citrus!)

Happy house-cleaning!

In gratitude,

Dr. Michelle and the VWS Team