Updated: Apr 7, 2022
A few years ago, I made the decision to jump from store bought cleaning products to making my own.
I had a nudge in my soul pushing me to do a little research on what to do to integrate a more wellness and holistic approach to cleaning my home, with the correct ingredients to use and how to make my own potions and concoctions, as it were, all in the name of healthy cleaning. I had a pull in my gut to change things up. It seemed that with cleaning house I was on a default setting of buying the same product week after week.
And what I discovered from my own experience has been an incredible journey to being more conscious with the choices we make for the benefit of our overall good health and wellbeing.
I have suffered from sinus and allergies for decades, and never really paid much attention to the possibility of this infliction being exacerbated by the vast amounts of chemical products put out into my direct environment in the name of keeping home.
While there are many things that can bring on allergies and just as many things that can aggravate them, from emotional, mental and physical aspects, as well as toxins around us, animals, plants and so on, how we keep clean and sanitarily safe at home is a huge slice of the pie adding to the big picture causing ailments which are flying around the planet these days.
Of course, in addition to my quest to do more for our mother earth with my drive to keep a holistically conscious home, plastic played a huge roll. So, in my thinking if I could cut down the monthly sometimes weekly purchasing of single use bottles with the various cleaning products on the shopping list, then surely, I would be adding my bit to the overall “better plan of consumerism” for us right now as a human race with the current plight we face.
I felt much better about this.
Of course, there was the added benefit of a little spare change at the end of the average monthly grocery bill. Actually, more than a little spare change. A literal “meal out for my family” kind of spare change! Which is also a good feeling.
So why the drive to steer away from the chemical waste land of toxic house cleaning?
Ok, let me unpack this a little from my own experience and my own perspective.
On the ingredients list of most common cleaning products there will be a bunch of long scientific laboratory style words reading a bit like this…
2-Butoxythanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hypochlorite, Tetrachloroethylene, Diethanolamine, Trisodium phosphate and so on.
Let’s be honest, just because the beautifully well lit, shiny grocery shop isles of our favorite grocery stores look so styled up, does not mean that the big chief up at the top is looking out for the well-being of the general shopper, us! The Muggins!
And the writing is so tiny on the labels and the general knowledge out there about the tiny writing is so limited that off we go, reaching for that glorious bright pink bottle of wonder that magically takes away all our stains.
But in reality, this layer of cleaning product added to the already thick layer of other toxins in our lives (food, air, water, noise) does actually affect our general and overall wellbeing and health.
So let me break it down, cleaning product by cleaning product as to the ailments that can result from the persistent use of various cleaning products in our homes.
My sinus allergy has drastically dropped off from at least 8-10 boughst a year to practically none.
So, in my experience this is what I have learned:
These contain enzymes that soften the water to loosen up stains. These are cationic, anionic and nonionic. Nonionic gives us skin irritations and eye irritations and can cause asthma if large amounts are used regularly or the person, sensitive to these toxins, for example is sleeping in sheets regularly washed in the same detergents.
While Cationic if ingested can cause vomiting, shock, convulsions and coma.
Radical right? And these are in our cupboards at home.
Essentiality we are just a sack of bones, delicate emotions and an endocrine system that has been designed by our creator to function optimally under the right conditions.
I don’t think the toxic factor from everyday products was in the plan.
And so here we find ourselves trouble shooting health issues on a daily basis that could be avoided if we go back to grannies cleaning tips!
All Purpose Cleaners
With the main ingredients being substances such as ammonia, ethylene glycol monobutyl acetate, sodium hypochlorite and trisodium phosphate, these all cause skin, eye, nose and throat irritations and is highly poisonous if ingested. Yikes!
Dishwashing liquid is the mildest of the chemical brood, with phosphates being the main ingredients, which causes mild skin irritations.
I’m not a maître for lemons and bicarb and I do believe that everything has its place. But knowledge is key and understanding that what is out there and placed onto our grocery shelves is not necessarily put out for the good of all humans.
Oven Cleaners all have a basic ingredient called Lye. Which is sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.
Lye is extremely corrosive and can burn your skin and your eyes. It is fatal if swallowed.
Cleaning the oven used to be my worst, and the smell lingered for days, and sometimes infused into the smell of freshly cooked food. Not nice.
It does take a little more elbow grease going green with cleaning the oven. But there are also tricks to keeping thigs cleaner for longer, like using parchment paper in your oven dishes and on the drip trays.
Antibacterial Cleaners have a chemical called surfactant and a pesticide called quaternary ammonium or phenolic chemicals.
These can irritate the skin, eyes, and throat.
Window & Glass Cleaner
These have a basic ingredient of ammonia and isopropanol. This is known to irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat. If swallowed it can cause drowsiness, unconsciousness and even death! That better be some shiny glass for the payoff!
But I tell you the homemade version is next level with how it cleans.
So keep reading and I will share the recipes.
Mold & Mildew Cleaners
Mold and Mildew Cleaners have a key ingredient of chlorine alkyl ammonium chlorides, which cause breathing problems. Need I say more.
Drain Cleaners, these are my worst. But I have to admit, they do the job really well.
Their main ingredient is Lye and sulfuric acid which cause eye, skin and throat irritation.
These can also cause damage to the kidney, liver and digestive tract if ingested.
And the fumes are extremely hazardous. These chemicals can cause blindness if they come in touch with the eyes and fatal if swallowed.
Rug & Upholstery Cleaners
Rug and Upholstery cleaners contain perchloroethylene, naphthalene and ammonium hydroxide. The fumes from these can cause cancer, liver damage, dizziness, loss of appetite, sleepiness, nausea and disorientation.
Bicarb and essential oil is all you need!
Furniture polish all contain petroleum, distillate and oil of cedar.
As well as ammonia, naphtha, nitrobenzene, petroleum distillate and phenol.
These irritate the skin, eyes, throat, lungs and windpipes.
Air Fresheners as lovely and wonderful as they make our rooms smell they contain formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, polichoroobenzene and aerosol propellants. These can cause cancer and brain damage!
Insect repellants have pyrethrin’s and DEET in them. These can cause a burning sensation to the eyes, skin and throat. They have also been known to bring on anxiety, behavioral changes, mental confusion and loss of coordination.
All in all, not great!
I know that this is a dismal outlook on what should be a rosy pastime. Keeping ones home.
But in essence if you know how these ingredients can adversely affect your health over years and years of them being used, why would you not venture into the realm of where our great grandmothers were with keeping their homes clean for our parents.
In a few short decades so much toxicity has been put into our direct environment.
I know the invention of the washing machine was beyond a revolution for the apron wearing glamour-zons of the 1950’s but I recon since this point, every cleaning product that was thrown at this type of home maker was just lapped up as an offering to do more cleaning with less work. And why not. I get it! But the fact is that the future back then was not written. We are writing it now.. And it aint looking so 1950’s fine!
So my take on all of this is this.
BALANCE. This is a life art, right?
Use the key knowledge out there to decide for yourself as to what is the best for you and your family.
I have taken some of the good, the bad and the ugly and done my own edit with what works for me.
There are certain chemical cleaners that are usefull to maintaining a healthy home. Drain Cleaner front and center please. And his backing vocalist is the simple bottle of bleach.
But I do use these under extreme caution, in very small doses and with protective wear. (well not the bleach)
Added to this I have devised some of my own ingredients to come up with a cleaning caddy of bottles that will service the needs of my home.
Here is my list and recipes for them so you can easily make your own.
I’ll go in order of the chemical line up above and give the alternate natural ingredients recipes.
But first you will need a quick shop for the ingredients.
You can buy new or you can repurpose from existing cleaning bottles that you will no longer be needing !
I look for glass where ever I can, as this is the more sustainable option, but not easy to find in a trigger pack.
2 x 2.5 litre containers for mixing and storing
5 x 500ml / 1L fine spray bottles
Rosemary essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Lemongrass essential oil
Rosemary sprigs (optional)
Lavender springs (optional)
(to replace all general cleaners such as Mr Muscle kitchen cleaner)
½ cup standard white vinegar
¼ cup baking soda
2 liters water
Mix together in a large 2.5liter container for (this way you can store and refill as you need)
Decant from container into .500ml spray bottle.
I like to put 2 x long sprigs of rosemary into the container. (it will fade in colour as it infuses into the water, but this adds the natural element to the product).
I don’t make these, but rather choose to support local hand crafted eco cleaning brands such as:
¾ Baking of soda
¼ cup of table salt
¼ cup of water
Make a thick paste
Wipe this all over the oven interior surface
Let this sit overnight to absorb oven grime
Remove with a rubber spatula
I use the recommended dosage for Milton (the baby bottle sterilizer)
Mixed with water.
Which is about 40mm to 1 litre of water.
This is a great counter top wipe down to make sure your counters are germ safe.
Windows and glass cleaner
½ cup standard white vinegar
¼ cup baking soda
2 litres water
Mix together in a large 2.5liter container for storage.
Decant from container into .500ml spray bottle.
An alternate for a fresh batch window cleaner, is to mix 20ml/ 2 teaspoons standard white vinegar to 800ml of warm water.
Decant into a .500ml spray bottle
Wash on and clean off with a window cleaning squeegee, newspaper or cotton cleaning cloths.
Toilet and Shower Cleaner & includes mold and mildew cleaners
(to replace Toilet Duck and disinfectants)
.500ml white vinegar
.500ml lemon juice
Apply this solution as a full strength anti bacterial solution.
DO NOT USE LEMON JUICE ON MARBLE!
Mix into a 2.5litre container and decant into a .500ml spray bottle
Baking soda will be your best friend for all pen, pencil, crayon, grime
Apply a little to a damp sponge and gently rub the marks away. Wipe clean with water.
Be Cautious of intense paint colours or paint of a poor quality.
1 cup standard white vinegar
2.5 - 3 litres water
8 x drops of your favourite aroma essential oil. I like lavender for floors.
Mix together in a 5 litre container.
Decant into a 1 litre spray bottle.
Spray directly onto floor tiles and wall tiles and mop or squeegee or wipe down.
Wipe clean with clean water after.
Upholstery and carpet cleaner
Mix together and then add 1 teaspoon of salt.
Spray onto the marked area, wipe out and leave to dry.
Vacuum once dry.
You can also sprinkle straight Bicarb of soda to stains let it absorb over night and then vacuum away the next day.
HAPPY CLEANING :)
AND LIVE CONSCIOUS BY ASKING QUESTIONS