For a long time we thought we were doing the right thing using bleach and other strong cleaning products in our home. After all we want to get rid of any germs or other nasties that may be lurking, right? Maybe not. Over time more and more evidence has shown strong cleaners may be doing more harm than good.
Exposure to the toxins and chemicals found in many common household cleaners has been associated with some serious health issues. These include asthma, eczema, infertility, hormone imbalances, neurotoxicity and even cancer.
The toxins in harsh cleaners have also been attributed to the rise of Autoimmune Diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. They are chronic conditions where people’s bodies turn on themselves attacking their own cells as if they were foreign bodies.
The increased use of Antibacterial soaps and wipes has also been questioned as the key ingredient triclosan has been associated with an increase in allergies in children. This could be because exposure to some level of bacteria is important for a healthy balanced immune system.
So what are the alternatives? No one wants to think of their home as dirty, and it is still important for our health to have a good level of cleanliness. Luckily you can make some great easy home made cleaning products that do an amazing job without the toxic fumes and chemicals that may be doing you and your family harm:
Citrus Based Cleaners:
Citrus peel contains limonene which is a natural solvent and degreaser. The naturally high level of acidity in citrus effectively breaks down dirt, oil and grime making citrus based cleaners an excellent choice for almost all cleaning tasks.
Vinegar effectively kills most mould, germs and bacteria including e-coli and salmonella. Make an all-purpose solution with half water and half vinegar. This solution is great for cleaning windows, mirrors, killing and cleaning up mould, shining up chrome ware and removing lime scale build up.
For an even more potent natural cleaner combine citrus and vinegar using this easy recipe for a powerful all-purpose cleaner:
What you need:
- 2 Cups of White Vinegar
- 2 Cups mix of orange and lemon peel
- 5 litre glass container
- spray bottle
Place the peels in the bottom of the glass jar, cover with vinegar, seal the jar and store in a cool dark place for one week. After a week strain the liquid into the spray bottle. You can keep the peels to use again next time. This cleaner can be used for any hard surfaces of your home but it is not recommended on carpet or fabrics.
Baking soda has many uses around the home including being an excellent effective cleaning agent and deodorizer. Combine vinegar and baking soda in a spray bottle for a powerful germ killing cleaner. It is great for almost any cleaning application but is especially good for deep cleaning grout, stove tops, or any areas with more stubborn dirt build up.
You can use baking soda mixed with water to clean counter-tops, toilet bowls, sinks and to deodorize drains.
Keep a few teaspoons of baking powder in an open container to remove odours and freshen the fridge, cupboards or any areas where unpleasant smells are present.
For a slightly abrasive paste:
Mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 tsp vinegar, watch it bubble as the chemical reaction sets in!
Use the paste to clean any areas with stubborn dirt or that need a really good clean. Remember, it can be a little abrasive so test on a small area of any surface that may scratch.
For a general all-purpose cleaning spray:
Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 2 litres of water in a spray bottle.
This is great for removing water stains from shower stalls, bathroom fixtures and mirrors.
Making your own household cleaners is fun and best of all they are, child safe, non-toxic and really really cheap!
Have you made your own home made cleaning products? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page!
‘Alexandra is a freelance writer and Mother of 2 girls aged 9 and 14. She enjoys writing about N.Z. family life and her own parenting experiences. Both her daughters have chronic health conditions which has led to a unique perspective on parenting. She writes about this along with many other topics in her blog:http://www.justmesayingblog.wordpress.com