Our homes should be a sanctuary, a haven from the outside world. Our daily life begins and ends there. We like to be intimately aware of the people and things we allow into our lives, and this should include what we use to clean the spaces in which we live.
Most brand-name and generic house cleaners come with a long list of chemicals on their list of ingredients. When we clean our houses or flats, we should be making them safer to live in, not more toxic. Chemical cleaners have been shown to contribute to asthma and other health problems, and they can be loaded with chemicals that pollute air in your house. According to Government Product News, “One out of every three chemical cleaning products contains ingredients known to cause human health or environmental problems”.
As a recent graduate, I live on a limited budget and can’t afford expensive natural cleaning products. I had previously balked at making my own cleaners because it takes time and effort, something that I am usually short of at the end of long day. But I found that toxic-free cleaning doesn’t have to eat up all my precious spare time. Below is a compilation of tried and tested effective DIY natural cleaners, all made with ingredients people typically have in their homes already. And the best bit? They only take seconds to prepare.
organic dish soap
sponge or cloth
1 quart warm water
1/2 cup oil (vegetable, olive, etc)
1 cup of distilled white vinegar*
damp cloth or mop
There are a number of advantages to going DIY and natural with your cleaning methods, including:
- They are easily made with ingredients in home
- Cheaper than store-bought cleaning solutions
- No harsh, toxic smell
- Safe for people and the environment
After researching and trying out these natural cleaners, I noticed I did not have to worry about letting the chemical smell of the cleaners dissipate before guests came over, and I had no problem rinsing out my rags in the kitchen sink. That is not something I would normally do if I was using a typical chemical cleaner. I feel better after switching to chemical-free products, because I know I am making my home, an environment that is supposed to be a safe place for my loved ones and me, a healthier place.
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*A note about vinegar:
Many people tend to be irritated by the strong smell of vinegar. The Occupational Health Guideline for Acetic Acid indicates that the vapours of acetic acid can irritate throats, eyes, nose, and lungs and can cause damage through inhalation of acetic acid in concentrated form. Avoid using vinegar in large quantities and open windows while cleaning. In addition, many distilled white vinegars are made from GMO (genetically modified) corn. Spectrum is one of the most easily found brands of organic distilled white vinegar.
Author: Miriam Sivula