Homemade Cleaners for a Healthy Home
Homemade cleaners are inexpensive, effective and far safer than synthetic chemical cleaners that can be harmful to humans, pets and the environment. A DIY cleaning approach can make for a healthy, sustainable home, and is easy to implement once you know some of the tools you’ll need.
what is sustainable cleaning?
To me, it’s avoiding harsh chemicals, and using everyday items you may have around the home, such as vinegar, baking soda, essential oils and citrus.
Environmentally-friendly cleaning should avoid animal testing/cruelty, unnecessary waste (plastic packaging), fragile species or ecosystem dependency, harsh synthetic chemicals that may cause damage to humans, animals and ecosystems during use or disposal, and does not require loads of energy to produce.
why are homemade cleaners healthier?
There are over 85000 chemicals in use today, many having never been tested for their human and environmental impacts. Of those that have been tested, 5-10% have been found to be carcinogenic. And a great deal of these chemicals are in our cleaning solutions. Seems counterintuitive, right? We usually clean to avoid health risks such as germs and bacteria, but we are smearing toxins across surfaces that we live in. Off-gassing puts these toxins in the air we breathe in our very own homes.
Human health risks from exposure to these types of chemicals are cancer, hormonal disorders, asthma, allergies, immune disorders and beyond. There are environmental risks as well.
By controlling the ingredients in your homemade, natural cleaners, you can avoid toxic exposure to everyday household cleaners. And making your own products means less plastic packaging and less products overall because you will find that a lot of the replacement items can handle multiple cleaning jobs.
You’ll feel better about the products you’re using, knowing you are no longer spreading toxins and chemicals around the surfaces of your home. You’ll find you’re decluttering because you need fewer synthetic solutions. Your home will smell good and be healthier and cleaner than it has ever been.
tools for green cleaning
Remember earlier when I mentioned reducing unnecessary waste? That means that throwaway, or one time use items should be exchanged for longer lasting tools. For instance, if you use a Swiffer, you are probably using the sheets once and tossing. I’d recommend a Norwex mop and dust set to replace what a Swiffer will do. Or get a cellulose mop with a bamboo handle if possible.
Opt for rags (you know those t-shirts you were going to throw out?) instead of paper towels.
Newspapers work well for cleaning windows, but a squeegee will actually eliminate the need for any throwaway tools like newspaper.
A Pumice stone can help when an abrasive tool is needed, for instance for toilet stains.
Save old toothbrushes for detail cleaning and toss them when they get flat from all that cleaning pressure.
Just a few ingredients can make the cleaning products for the majority of your home. Keep baking soda, white distilled vinegar, essential oils, and soap (either castile or vegetable based) on hand for the majority of your cleaning solutions.
Save jars and spray bottles so you can mix your sustainable cleaning solutions and save them for future use.
recipes for natural homemade cleaners
All-Purpose Cleaner, for any surface
2 cups hot water
1-2 ounces of castile soap
5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice (I love citrus or lavender)
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
2 cups Vinegar
A few drops of Essential oil
2 cups olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
Use a soft cloth to buff the furniture
1 cup water
5 drops essential oil of your choice
Bucket of water
Add 1 cup of lemon juice
Leave clothes overnight
These are just a few ways you can easily get started replacing your synthetic chemical cleaners in your home with healthier, cheaper, natural, homemade cleaners. There are so many recipes out there for specific cleaning needs, that as you grow and explore a little more with your green cleaning, and add some new items to the list, you’ll find recipes you’ll love.
But these should get your started with only a few tools, and keep you motivated in avoiding those synthetic chemicals.