The Natural Home
Today I want to talk about natural cleaners and what I use to clean our house. If you have read my post on environmental toxins you know that I try to limit our exposure to unnecessary chemicals in the home. A lot of the solutions I use come straight from my mother. She has had chemical allergies for years and has used primarily vinegar, baking soda, and elbow grease to clean her entire house and if you were to ever walk into her home you would see that it is spotless. We, as a society, have this misconception that something needs to smell pretty or smell like chemicals to actually be clean but this is furthest from the truth.
In our home we have two cats, two very large dogs, a monkey who likes to touch everything with his dirty little hands, plus a momma who is a slightly germ a phobic especially when it comes to raw meat in my kitchen. This means that I need cleaners that actually work to keep dog odors away and kill the yucky things that can come from raw meat. Lets look at the things I purchase to do the job.
So what do I use in our house? I primarily use vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, peroxide, and a few natural cleaners which I purchase.
- For my dishes and general cleaning around the kitchen and for washing my dishes I use a natural dish detergent from Nature Clean. We purchase the unscented variety but they do sell a scented kind as well. For most of my kitchen cleaning I use hot water, soap and some elbow grease. This is honestly all you need. I place my meat on cutting boards to contain any of the nastiness and after cleaning it with hot water and soap I pour vinegar all over it to make sure it is nicely disinfected.
- On my counters I wash them down with hot water and soap followed with either some peroxide or white vinegar. Both of these are good disinfectants and I use them interchangeably.
- In the bathroom I use baking soda to scrub down the tub, the inside of the toilette, and the sink. It does wonders on soap scum and leaves the bath tub and sink perfectly clean every time. On the faucets and mirrors I use a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar to leave them sparkly clean. On the base of the toilette we use peroxide in a spray bottle. Lastly every month I place my shower head into a plastic bag with a 75/25 mix of vinegar/water and allow it to soak for a minimum of 1 hr. This helps eliminate any calcification and kills the bacteria that builds up on the shower head.
- For dusting, general cleaning and the floors I mix together hot water, vinegar, and the juice of two lemons. So for example if I was going to dust and wipe things down I would mix about 8 cups hot water, two cups vinegar and the juice of two lemons together.
- In our washing machine we use Eco Nuts. These amazing little dried berries produce saponins when agitated in water and they do an amazing job cleaning your clothing. They can be used in top loaders and HE machines and are septic system friendly plus they are cheap. Once box does 100 loads of laundry for 12$. Most conventional cleaners only do 30 – 40 loads for around 9 – 12$ depending on what you are buying. You can also add vinegar and baking soda to your washing machine a long with these to help brighten whites and soften clothing. I usually add 1 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda. Eco Nuts is just one company I purchase these from but there are a host of other companies which sell soap nuts under various names.
That is pretty much it. If you search the internet there are also a lot of recipes for making more intricate cleaners that you can add essential oils if you really want something that smell like something other then vinegar. They do require you to purchase a few specialty items however and so I have never bothered doing this. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and peroxide are economic and do the job perfectly.
Lotions, soaps, shampoos all carry with them some questionable ingredients. (click on each to get specifics) Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and diethanolamine. After reading the other uses these all have and what they can actually do to the body you have to wonder what the heck are they doing in my shampoo and what are the long term effects of continuous use of these. Not to mention these are only three questionable ingredients but there are often over 10 ingredients like these in the average bottle of shampoo or soap.
Here are a few of my favorite natural soaps:
- Pure Olive Oil Soap from Kiss my Face
- Hard Shampoo Bar from The Great Canadian Soap Co. they also carry a bunch of all natural soups, moisturizers, oils, etc…
For moisturizers I make my own using coconut oil, olive oil and vitamin E oil. They are quick and easy to make and are cheap. Plus a little goes a long way.
For face: I use 1/3 cup coconut oil plus 1 jar of Jamieson 100% pure vitamin E oil. I start by whipping my coconut oil in my kitchen aid mixer with the palette attachment to soften. Then I add the vitamin e oil and whip it on high with the coconut oil. I put it in a jar and keep it in the bathroom. It is slightly oily if you use to much so start with a little bit and rub it in well. I use this all over my face, around my eyes and my neck.
For our bodies: 1 cup coconut oil plus 3 tbsp organic cold pressed olive oil. I start again by whipping my coconut oil in my kitchen aid mixer with the palette attachment to soften. With mixer on high I drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time so it emulsifies and mixes in well. In the winter I keep in a glass tupperware container in the bathroom but in the summer I keep this in the fridge. It can be a little greasy at first so only use a little at a time and rub it in well. It leaves your skin very soft and I like the smell of the coconut oil and olive oil combined.
If you can not use coconut oil a search online for homemade lotions will bring up loads of alternatives.
As you can see it is 100% possible to remove all toxic chemicals from our houses and if making your own does not sound appealing to you both of the company’s I listed above for the soaps have lots of alternatives for you.
If your not ready to change every single item you use in your home but really want to eliminate your toxic load then start slow and change each product as it runs out for something more natural.
Have a great day!