According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside the typical home is on average 2-5 times more polluted than the air just outside—and in extreme cases 100 times more contaminated—largely because of household cleaners and pesticides.
What?? Think about this - the cleaners that you use to de-germ your house are likely more harmful than the germs themselves. They include strong, artificial ingredients and harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia, and alcohol. We are hurting ourselves, our children, our pets, the environment, etc. etc. etc. I find this incredibly disqusting, not to mention a cause of some serious anxiety. I went under my kitchen sink, threw out every single toxic cleaner I owned (which luckily wasn't many!), and made a pledge to buy & make safe, non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaners. I found a couple recipes to get me started and it seems pretty easy.
Basic ingredients:Vegetable oil based soap (like Dr. Bronners), water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, essential oils, tea tree oil.
Recipes.This is fun - it's like cooking, but you can't eat it! Insead, the reward is knowing you will have a clean house without giving yourself cancer. Sounds harsh, but this is serious business!
All purpose cleaners - for countertops, floors, walls, carpet & upholstery. Combine in a spray bottle:
- Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water.
- Add 1/2 cup vinegar to between 1 cup and 1 quart of warm water.
- Combine 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil based liquid soap and 3/4 cup warm water. Shake to blend.
Grease cleaner - use a mix of vinegar and salt.
Disinfectant - for kitchen cutting boards and the bathroom: use a spray of distilled white vinegar followed by a 3 % peroxide spray. Wipe clean.
Glass cleaner - mix 1 quart warm water with 1/4 cup white vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice for a citrus scented version or add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil.
Furniture polish - 1/2 teaspoon oil (like olive or jojoba), 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice (fresh works best of course!). Mix in a glass jar and use a soft rag to dab and wipe onto wood.
Two of my personal favorite safe & environmentally friendly brands to buy are Seventh Generation (expensive, but you can find coupons here) and Trader Joes Cleanliness is Next to Godliness (for the more frugal cleaner)!
Sources: http://www.worldwatch.org/, http://www.eartheasy.commost/, www.oregonmetro.gov, www.care2.com.