It’s no secret that some of the chemicals used in household products and cleaners are bad news – for the planet, and for the health of your family. Studies have even shown that the air quality inside of homes is poorer than outside, due to the fact that modern homes are far more airtight, trapping those pollutants inside.
When you start learning about just how toxic these pollutants are, it’s hard to believe that we all still use them day in, day out. I guess it’s hard to accept that these products aren’t safe; I mean, the companies wouldn’t be allowed to sell them if they were dangerous, right?
One of the more common classes of household pollutants is VOC’s – Volatile Organic Compounds. These are present in solvents, wood preservatives, dry cleaned clothing and air fresheners, amongst many other products. Formaldehyde is a commonly known VOC that is harmful to the nervous, digestive and respiratory systems of the body, is carcinogenic and may cause death. And it doesn’t stop there. Formaldehyde is just one toxic chemical that we are exposed to day in, day out thanks to our modern lifestyle.
So what can we do about it? Saving the planet and the health of our nearest and dearest starts at home. Ditch those toxic products and replace them with natural alternatives that are just as effective (if not more so) and not harmful to your family’s health. And as if you didn’t need any more reason to leave those chemical cleaners in the supermarket aisles, it’ll save you money too.
Following is a list of common household products that are known to be toxic, and safe natural alternatives to them.
Air Fresheners – Just open your windows! If that is not possible due to weather conditions, try using good old pot pourri to scent a room like your mum used to. Fresh flowers do the trick, too. To neutralise bad smells on fabrics (and this goes for carpets, too), sprinkle baking soda on them and leave for a while before vacuuming.
All-Purpose Household Cleaner – Replace those headache-inducing concoctions with a fresh, natural alternative. Use two-thirds of a cup of baking soda, a quarter of a cup of ammonia and a quarter of a cup of white vinegar mixed in with a gallon of hot water. Hey presto! A fab all-purpose cleaner. If you aren’t comfortable using ammonia, simply throw some white vinegar into a spray bottle, add a squirt of Dr Bronner’s all purpose soap, a couple drops of scented oil (like tea tree or lavender) and fill it up with water.
Sink unblocker – Put a tablespoon of baking soda down the plughole, and then slowly pour in a third of a cup of white vinegar. This will loosen the clogs. Then plunge, and wash down with plenty of boiling water. To help keep drains clear, rinse with boiling water on a weekly basis and invest in one of those little plughole covers that catch the bits of food.
Floor Cleaner – Back to good old white vinegar again! Mix one cup into two gallons of water, and get scrubbing!
Floor Polish – The little bubbles in club soda make light work of getting a floor nice and shiny. Pour on, rub in and allow to dry.
Oven Cleaner – bake a dish of water for a couple hours to loosen any baked-on dirt, then scrub with a baking soda/water solution.
Toilet Cleaner – A baking soda solution makes light work of stinky toilets. You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil – lavender has natural antibacterial properties.
I’d love to hear what natural, home made solutions you use to clean and freshen your home!