Several weeks ago I posted my blog Organize Like a Goddess: 7 Decluttering Tips for Spring, where I mentioned, among other things, Marla Cilley’s, technique for shining your sink. Some of you were concerned about chemicals. And, as I mentioned in my responses, I assure you that I don’t promote dumping harmful chemicals into our water supply. In fact, I am an advocate for having municipal water systems remove all of the harmful chemicals they use, including fluoride, among other things. (To learn more about the dangers of fluoride please visit the Flouride Action Network Website.)
Experts say that the average home has roughly 62 toxic chemicals lurking about. That’s pretty significant! Government regulations regarding labeling of toxic chemicals are pretty lax. Rather than a list of ingredients, what you see instead are those little pictures, like a flame or skull and cross bones, or even dynamite. But what those pictures don’t show you is how all those chemicals effect even a healthy person over time.
Nothing could be more Goddess-like than using products that are safe for your family and the environment. And, it’s really not as hard or expensive as it seems. In fact, cleaning like a green Goddess can be just as easy and less expensive than cleaning with chemical-laden products. All you need are every day items from your grocery store.
Here are some basic ingredients to keep on hand so you can clean just about anything like a green Goddess:
- White Vinegar – Has antifungal properties
- Baking soda – Eliminates odors and can be used as a gentle scouring powder
- Lemon Juice – Non-toxic bleach, grease cutter, and stain remover
- Borax (sodium borate) – Eliminates odors, removes dirt and acts as a disinfectant.
- Hydrogen Peroxide (3% concentration) – Non-toxic bleach, stain remover and disinfectant.
- Liquid Castile Soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s)
- Club Soda – Stain remover and polisher
- Corn Meal – For carpet spills
- Olive Oil – Furniture polish
- Essential Oils – Scent, antibacterial properties. (Always follow safety instructions as they are highly concentrated.)
Here are a few basic recipes and techniques to get you started:
All Purpose Cleaner
- 2 cups white distilled vinegar
- 2 cups water
- Essential oil (optional)
You can use this on hard surfaces such as countertops and kitchen floors, even windows and mirrors.
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 quart water
Mix together in spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe with lint-free cloth. (Great for sweaty yoga mats too!)
- 2 cups baking soda
- ½ cup to 2/3 cup liquid castile soap
- 4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (preservative)
- 5 drops antibacterial essential oil (optional)
Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar for a shelf life of two years.
Use this on kitchen counters, stoves, bathtubs and sinks.
- 1 cup soap flakes
- 1 cup washing soda (1/4 -1/2 if you have soft water)
- 1 cup baking soda (1/2 cup for soft water)
- 1-2 tbsp. oxygen bleach (optional for extra whitening power)
Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass container.
You only need one tablespoon per load, but you can add two tablespoons for more soiled laundry. Use in warm or cold water and it is safe for HE machines.
Note: You can make your own soap flakes by grating your favorite pure vegetable soap with a cheese grater.
Tips: Add distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle to make a great fabric softener. It also removes odors. Hydrogen peroxide is a great whitener and, when used directly on clothes prior to washing, can be used in place of bleach to remove stains.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 20 drops Lemon essential oil (or 2 teaspoons lemon juice)
(Note: If you use lemon juice in place of lemon oil, you must store in the refrigerator)
Tips: Dip a clean, dry cloth into the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.
Some other easy ways to clean and disinfect without harsh chemicals include:
- Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda to scrub you toilet clean. To disinfect your toilet, you can occasionally use borax instead. To clean the outside of your toilet, just wipe with vinegar.
- Wipe away mold and mildew with straight vinegar.
- Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in a room to give it a fresh scent. (You can even do this in your car!) Experiment with different oils. Lavender is great for bedrooms to help you relax. Citrus oils smell wonderful for the rest of the house. Be sure to place out of reach of children and pets.