Many years ago I read a few books and learned about nutrition that ultimately changed our eating life. Although we have always been health conscious on how to nourish our bodies, a little book I recently read called “Green up your Cleanup” propelled us on a mission to educate ourselves on everything to do with health and nutrition. That includes not only the food, but also the skin and personal care products, household items and basically everything we can reach for surrounding our bodies.
Regarding foods, I remember going shopping in the supermarket and actually trying to find food that I could eat that did not contain all of the nasty stuffs was a real challenge. Then I discovered the goodness of health food stores and local farmer’s markets and started ensuring what we put into our bodies truly support our well-being. I, and I also encourage all of you guys, do most of your grocery shopping at local farmer’s markets and health food stores, and always read the ingredients labels. I personally do a lot of readings and researches on food additives and other nasty chemicals so that I can spot them from the labels and stay away. Apart from store-bought foods, I still believe that preparing meals at home from raw ingredients is the ultimate way to truly nourish our bodies.
Chemicals not only come from the food we put into our bodies, but they also come from the personal care products and household cleaning product you normally use without thinking. Unfortunately, our body can absorb chemicals in all sorts of ways. First, of course, is the skin. Here, I name some of the products that inevitably contain nasty chemicals that you want to stay away now: fabric softener or drying sheets, disinfectants, chlorine bleach, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and air fresheners, etc. Very scary… So, to protect myself and my loved ones, and the earth from thousands of chemicals out there, I encourage you make a switch in the the cleaning methods and products. Personally, I have used vinegar as a perfect natural fabric softener and disinfectors and I don’t miss any store-bought softeners at all!
By sticking to ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years with no known toxic effects, and purchasing products from reputable companies that demonstrates a commitment to the environment, we can greatly reduce the harmful chemical in our life. You probably have these ingredients around already: baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, other ones such as true liquid soap, oxygen bleach, washing soda and borax, you can get them from stores easily.
When I first changed my cleaning methods, I was amazed at how well these simple ingredients work. I sometime also incorporate essential oils, which really make me start to enjoy cleaning, like aromatherapy every time I clean. My skin irritations to all the chemicals stick to my body (for example fabric softeners) forced me to really get back to basics. In saying that, I believe using homemade cleaners is as good as it gets.
The next thing I recommend to do is to toss out the chemicals and load up on vinegar, baking soda, lemons, and soap. Here I share some of the cleaning recipes I adopted from the book “Green up you cleanup” by Jill Potvin Schoff.
All-Surface Spray – Use to clean counters, wall, spills and more
- 1 16-oz. spray bottle
- 2 tsps. borax
- hot water 1/4 tsp. liquid castile soap
Put the borax in the spray bottle, fill the bottle with hot water, shake until the borax is dissolved, and then add soap.
All-Purpose Liquid Cleaner – Use to wash floors, cars, and any other large jobs which you want to make a large batch in a bucket
- 1 gal. hot water
- 1 tbsp. baking soda
- 2 tbsps. liquid soap or detergent
- 1 tbsp. washing soda (if to remove heavy grease)
- 1 tbsp. borax (if want to disinfect or kill mildew)
Fill a bucket with hot water, and then add baking soda and soap. Add washing soda or borax if desired.
Dishwasher Powder – Prerinse dishes for baked-on food
- 1/4 cup citric acid
- 1 1/2 cups borax
- 15 drops essential oil (optional)
Put all ingredients in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Use about 1 tbsp. per load. Shake each time before using.
Laundry Soap & Softener
- 1/8 cup liquid soap or detergent
- 1 tbsp. washing soda (optional if water is hard)
- 1/4 vinegar
- oxygen bleach
Add vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Mildew and Germ Killer Spray - Use in the kitchen, bathroom, anywhere you want to kill germs
As an alternative to the recipe, use Heinz white vinegar.
- 1 16-oz. spray bottle
- 2 cups water
- 25 drops tea tree oil
- 25 drops lavender oil
Baking Soda Scrub – Use as a all purpose scrub cleanser to clean grout, stovetops, sinks, and about anything else
- 2 tbsp. baking soda
- liquid dish soap or castile soap
- vinegar to rinse off
Put baking soda in a widemouthed container and mix in the liquid soap until you have a nice foamy paste. Let it sit 1 to 15 minutes or longer for heavy-duty jobs. Then spray with vinegar to rinse.
Glass Cleaner Spray
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp. liquid dish soap (optional)
- 3-8 drops essential oil (optional)
Fill the spray bottle with vinegar and water, shake gently. Add essential oil if you don’t like the vinegar smell.