Monday, May 2, 2011

Step Two: The Air You Breathe

Now that you've reduced the amount of waste products going into our environment, let's clean up the air we breathe. Many of my clients find the cleaners I offer to be lest costly, more effective, and better smelling than commercial--traditional, chemically-altered--cleaning products.


Take any cleaner bottle out of your stash and read the label. Does it worry you that words like WARNING, CAUTION, and POISON stare back at you? These products are supposed to make your home healthier, and in turn safer, and yet, here are these frightening words right on the bottle! I am not a scientist, but I do know that this can't be safe for our families. I won't bore you with details and unpronouncable chemical compound names. I will, however, warn you of some of the effects of using these cleaners: skin issues like rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis; respiratory issues like asthma, as well as heart problems; eye irritation; hormonal imbalances; and death if ingested.


After cleaning her home for the first time, a client told me that her house smelled great for a week afterwards. She also said that she was thrilled not to smell the terrible chemical odors that she was accustomed to. I told her that those chemical odors were causing her and her family harm and she immediately wanted to know what was in the cleaners I make. While the specific recipes are a my own special secret, I am glad to share the ingredients I love to use.

Baking soda, washing soda, and borax are excellent for scouring sinks, tubs, and other tough jobs. The combination of baking soda and vinegar has a wonderful chemical reaction that removes mold, mildew, and even unclogs drains. Hydrogen peroxide (or the powder form called sodium percarbonate) removes organic stains like urine, blood, fecal matter, and most food stains. Witch hazel is excellent for cleaning glass, chrome, and stainless steel without having the harsh effects of rubbing alcohol. White vinegar is an excellent degreaser, disinfectant, and overall gentle cleaner. Lemon and lime juices are wonderful degreasers, disinfectants, conditioners, and wonderful smelling additives to your favorite cleaning recipe.

Now for my favorite part! I love essential oils. I love the smells, but they don't just smell great. Many of them have specific properties that make our recipes even more effective. Here are my favorites:

Clove - antiseptic, ant-repellant

Citrus - grease cutter, deodorizer, flea-repellant

Cedar - anti-bacterial, disinfectant, antiseptic, flea-repellant

Eucalyptus - disinfectant, insect repellant; BONUS: relieves symptoms of upper-respiratory ailments

Lavender - antiseptic, disinfectant, deodorizer, moth-repellant

Lemongrass - antiseptic, insect-repellant

Neem - Insect-repellant

Peppermint - insect repellant, deodorizer; added benefit: inhaling the oil has been shown to relieve insomnia

Tea Tree - antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, disinfectant, antiseptic; BONUS: heals minor cuts, scrapes, and blemishes

Stay tuned for more specific information on creating wonderful, healthy cleaning products that are safe for your family and the earth.

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