Many commercial home cleaning products contain harmful chemicals. Why not try using more natural alternatives? We all use them; commercial cleaning products intended to get dirt, grime, stains, mold and other stuff off our floors, counter tops, bathroom fixtures, etc.
Plant based ingredients for eco friendly cleaning include:
Lemon Juice – Lemon juice is a great cleaner that can be applied directly on the surface or diluted in water. It’s also an effective disinfectant!
Baking Soda – Baking soda has many uses including as a deodorizer, air freshener, scouring agent, and more. Use it to clean your kitchen sink by mixing 1/2 cup baking soda with 2 cups of hot water. Let sit overnight then scrub away any soap residue.
Vinegar – Vinegar is another ingredient you may already have around the house. Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water to make a simple homemade cleanser. You’ll find this works well at removing tough grease from stovetops and sinks.
Alcohol – Alcohol will remove most stubborn stains like blood, ink, paint, rust, oil, and even some food items. Just don’t mix it with bleach because they react together causing damage to surfaces.
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is one of my favorite cleaners I’ve been using coconut oil since high school when we had no dishwasher. The best way to apply coconut oil is to rub it into a sponge and wipe down counters, appliances, walls, windows, doors, furniture, etc. Then let dry before wiping again. This helps prevent buildup.
Tea Tree Oils – Tea tree essential oils are amazing for killing bacteria and germs. They’re often found in household cleaners but there are so many ways to incorporate tea tree essential oils into your daily routine. For example, add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 4 ounces of distilled white vinegar and shake vigorously. Add to laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioners, body washes, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, mouthwash, hair spray, nail polish remover, lotions, candles, room sprays, fabric softeners, and much more.
Natural Essential Oils
Natural Essential Oils can be used to cleanse your body as well as cleaning your home There are several different types of essential oils available such as citrus lavender peppermint eucalyptus rosemary clove cinnamon bark lemon grass thyme sage cedarwood bergamot sandalwood patchouli vetiver frankincense juniper berries bay leaves basil marjoram oregano pine needles lemongrass ginger root cloves nutmeg cardamon coriander seed fennel seeds turmeric chives garlic onion horsetail herb mints parsley dill weed tarragon spearmint wintergreen orange peel grapefruit peels calendula flowers aloe vera gel avocado leaf ylang ylang flower jasmine sarsaparilla and others.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
There are many companies out there making environmentally safe cleaning products. Some examples include Seventh Generation, Method Products, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Simple Green, Ecover, Lava Soap, Biokleen, Earth Friendly Products, EcoLogic, Nature Made, Dr Bronner’s, and many more. These brands offer non toxic, biodegradable, chemical free options for those who want to go green.
How do these work?
The first step is to read labels carefully. Many people assume that if something says “organic” or “all natural” it must be good for their health. But organic doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. In fact, some studies show that organically grown produce isn’t always better than conventionally produced produce. And while all natural does indicate that nothing artificial has been added, it doesn’t guarantee safety.
Natural Cleaning Products
The second thing you need to know about the label is what exactly each ingredient means. Ingredients aren’t listed by weight, which makes it hard to tell how much of an active substance is actually present. Instead, they list things like alcohol, formaldehyde and petroleum distillates. If you see any of these on the label, look up the product online to find out whether it contains dangerous substances.
If you decide to buy a cleaner, make sure you choose one made without harsh chemicals. You should also avoid anything labeled “fragrance” or “perfume.” Fragrant compounds are known carcinogens. Perfumes are synthetic scents created specifically to mimic real perfumes. While perfumes might smell nice, they could still pose serious risks to your health.
Harmful and harsh chemicals exist in the majority of cleaning products, including bathroom cleaners, toilet cleaners, and even in beauty products. Harmful chemicals include: phthalate plasticizers, trichloroethylene degreasers, benzene, ammonia, methyl ethyl ketone , 1,4 Dioxane, 2,5 Dimethoxybenzophenone . The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database lists over 3,000 hazardous chemicals found in personal care products.
You can check the labels on the packaging of products to see if it lists any of those chemicals, if it does, look for a safer choice.
Have you ever read the warning labels on some of these cleansers?
“Use only in a well-ventilated area”
“Can cause severe burn if skin contact occurs”
“May be harmful or fatal if swallowed”
Warnings like these are so common they often go unread. But if your cleansers have these kinds of chemicals and health threatening effects, just imagine what they do to our environment!
From mining to manufacturing, use in your home and finally, disposal down the drain or into the garbage, these products are so eco-unfriendly that you should consider a few more natural alternatives.
Natural cleansers include mixes that use common, inexpensive household items such as baking soda, white distilled vinegar, lemon juice and oil soaps. You can mix them yourself, so while helping maintain our Earth’s environment and making your home a healthier place to live you’ll also be saving money!
Today, you can also find many natural cleansers on the market, so be sure to read the labels on these products when shopping to see which ones are natural or contain less harmful chemicals.
Believe it or not, your house is filled with items that are chemical free and will work effectively in different parts of the home.
The Wonders of Vinegar and Lemon Juice
Natural ingredients such as lemon juice and vinegar can clean as effectively as commercial cleansers, but without all the chemicals. Mixed 50-50 with distilled water, this is a great product for countertops, tubs, sinks and floors. To keep it easy, pour your blend into a spray bottle; you can purchase these at drugstores, hardware shops, etc.
Label each container accordingly. The only caution is that some grout may be sensitive, so you’ll want to test it or make sure to rinse and wipe clean after washing. In the shower, the beauty of this blend is that it cuts through the soap residue very quickly. If you find you dislike the aroma while cleaning, feel free to add a little lemon juice to offset it.
Once dry, the vinegar scent disappears. Beyond these applications about ‚½ cup of this mixture added to your wash cycle during the rinse cycle eliminates some of the soap not washed away normally. Lemon juice mixed with water works similarly. You’ll find this a great boon for family members with allergies to other perfumed commercial products. Speaking of lemon, mix this with a little baking soda and use it to scrub / polish metals. Keep a toothbrush for those hard to reach crevices.
Catsup and Baking Soda as Cleansers?
An alternative to the lemon for copper and brass is simple tomato juice or catsup mixed similarly into paste form and scrubbed on the surface of the metal. A third application for lemon juice and baking soda is cleaning your dishwasher and eliminating nasty aromas from the garbage disposal. For this purpose, however, you want more liquid than paste, and remember to run through the dishwasher when it’s empty for best results. Some people also like to add white vinegar to this mixture.
Oh, and for those refrigerator aromas? Just grab a box of baking soda and leave it open in the fridge. Replace this once a month. Before you do, sprinkle a little on stubborn oven spots and let them soak with water and vinegar. A little later, scrub clean!
Tips on Using Natural Cleansers at Home
- All-Purpose Natural Cleanser – For typical cleaning jobs, a few tablespoons of baking soda mixed in a quart of warm water works great. You can also try mixing vinegar and salt with warm water.
- Natural Glass Cleaner – These days, some brands of commercial glass cleaner are less toxic than most other types of commercial cleansers, but you can save money and make your own, even more natural glass cleaner by either using club soda or a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Using newspaper to wipe your windows clean is another great way to reduce the need to wash rags, since you can simply recycle the newspaper when you’re done!
- Natural Furniture Polish – Many commercial furniture polish products contain petroleum distillates, which are flammable and the manufacturing process is very eco-unfriendly. Instead, try using a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice; always experiment with your solution on a small, out of site part of your furniture before applying it to the entire surface! Murphy’s Oil Soap is also a good commercial product to try.
- Natural Floor Cleaner – Just use a mix of equal parts vinegar and warm water for light floor cleaning, this works wonders for cleaning sticky floors, this works wonders for cleaning sticky floors. Again, with wood floors, a vegetable-based liquid soap, like Murphy’s Oil Soap, works well for deep cleaning floors. Be sure to read the instructions for the flooring material you have before using any type of cleanser; laminate flooring products can require special cleansers.
- Natural Scouring Cleansers – Most commercial scouring cleansers contain chlorine bleach, which, when mixed with ammonia, release hazardous gases. As an alternative, you can use salt or baking soda, mixed with hot water and a bit of borax for a disinfecting cleanser to use on scouring jobs.
- Natural Drain Cleaner – Avoid the need for chemical drain cleaners by pouring half a cup of baking soda, then a half cup of vinegar. Let the baking soda and vinegar sit in the drain for about twenty minutes and then pour a half gallon of boiling water down the drain. If you have a clogged drain, use a drain snake or plunger instead of harmful drain cleaning products!
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner – As with drain cleaners, commercial toilet cleansers can burn your skin and eyes and are harmful to the environment. As an alternative, try pouring half a cup of vinegar, mixed with baking soda in your toilet bowl and scrubbing the bowl with a brush. You can also use half a cup of borax mixed with a third of a cup of lemon juice to make your natural toilet bowl cleanser.
- Natural Air Freshener – One way to eliminate cooking odors is to put a little vinegar in a bowl and set it out on your counter top. Lemon juice is a good way to freshen your sink after washing dished and you can also try boiling natural spices such as cloves and cinnamon to eliminate cooking odors. Or … try opening the windows if it isn’t too cold outside!
You can even make your own home made cleaning solutions like the ones in this video.