Since we made the decision to go natural in every way possible, I have acquired several cleaning techniques that do not involve using harmful chemicals and fumes. I must admit, from time to time, I still use bleach in desperate situations for our kitchen sink or our bathtub. There is no disputing the dangers of inhaling bleach fumes - especially when mixed with other cleaners. It even says so right on the bottle. So I avoid it's use 99% of the time. And when I do use it, I cover my face and make sure my house is well ventilated. For full disclosure, I must admit on that particular day, I did bleach my bath tub. It was so gross. I can't even describe it because I am too embarrassed I let it get that bad!
But back to natural cleaners. I've decided to share a few of the cleaners I use and how I use them in case you are skeptical on how to use "natural" cleaners. We've been programmed to believe the smell of bleach or 409 or Pine-sol, or any number of other cleaners means you have a clean house. I would like to challenge that thought. The stronger the odor, the more you can tell the fumes are filling your house and your lungs. Indoor air pollution is a big problem that people rarely think about. In most houses today, the air quality is WORSE inside than the air outside - even in urban homes. The United States Enviornmental Protection Agency (EPA) has some great tips on how to improve the air quality of your home. One such way to do this? Switch your cleaners.
I am not getting paid for advertising certain products here. This is just what I have found that I like to use. There are many natural products out there. I tend to lean toward the least expensive route!
1. Shaklee Basic H2 Super Cleaning Concentrate - This stuff is magical. For $10 I have used this stuff for over a year. It is super concentrated so it breaks down into window cleaner, all purpose cleaner, or a degreaser cleaner depending on how much you mix with water in your sprayer. It smells pleasant and works wonders.
2. White Vinegar (diluted) - I fill a spray bottle most of the way up with water and put about 1/2 cup of vinegar in it. This is great to use as a glass/mirror cleaner as it leaves virtually zero streaks or marks behind. You can also use it as a general all purpose cleaner for any surface. I like to use it in the shower to help prevent hard water build up. Just spray on the shower doors or walls after each shower. I also use vinegar to mop my floors. Add about 1/2 cup vinegar to a gallon of hot water and mop away. Check out more vinegar uses HERE.
3. Homemade air freshener/room spray - Check out this link for a recipe on how to make your own natural "Febreeze." We like lavender scent but you can use any essential oil scent you prefer.
4. Baking Soda - So many cleaning uses for baking soda. I use it the most mixed with water, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Use to clean your sink, tub, counters, or any surface you need to scrub a little harder on!
5. Green Works Toliet Cleaner - Found at just about any grocery store or Walmart and Target. This cleaner works great and smells nice too. However, if you have really hard water - you might need something stronger as was the case when we moved to our mountain home.
6. Norwex Micro Fiber Cleaning cloths - these are the bomb. I would link here but I have several friends that sell it and don't want to leave anyone out. These cloths require ZERO cleaner as they have special disinfectant cleaning powers woven inside the cloth! I like to use them for my windows and mirrors.
7. Boulder Dish Soap - This soap is found at Costco and I love the fresh citrus smell of it. It's all natural and plant derived which I love. No harsh chemicals on my dishes.
Coming soon! Soap nuts.... What? Yes! I'm giving soap nuts a try. If you've never heard of them before (I hadn't) check out my friend's Etsy site HERE. They are totally 100% organic dried berries that grow in the Himalayas that contain natural soap in them. You simply toss them in with your laundry - no detergent necessary.
These are only a few of the products I use but they are the most used ones. I'm sure there are lots of other nice products on the market but these are my personal favorite. It's really easy to make the switch with so many options available these days. So what are you waiting for? Rid your home of toxic fumes and improve the air quality for your whole family. Your lungs will thank you for it.