We all have our own way of doing things. Each of us knows how we like things done, in what order we like to have them done and what we use for tools to get a certain job done. Of course this doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone else, only for you. We all decide things such as this every day, either at work or home. Since most of what we do on a daily basis is done out of habit, we tend not to think much about it… we just do it how we’ve always done it.
Recently, I started cleaning my home differently than how I used to, as well as using different products than I used before. The products I used to buy have become a thing of the past. I didn’t throw them away as some people might (and I probably should have), but I used them until they were gone and then have made the decision to not purchase them again. At this point in my journey to green, I’m experimenting with different “homemade recipes” for household cleaning products such as laundry soap, glass cleaner, all purpose cleaner, etc. I’m looking into alternatives for bleach, dish soap and many other products. It’s a learning process, but since I became aware of the number of chemicals that I come into contact with through products used to clean my home and myself, my thinking has changed dramatically. If this post does anything, I hope it will educate you about some products you’re using and it just might make you think twice before buying and/or using those products.
Here are some startling facts that you may not know about “chemicals” that we use in our homes:
- Plants that manufacture household cleaning and yard products require that their workers wear protective masks, gloves and clothing… but what do you wear when you use those same products?
- Only 1% of toxins are required to be listed on labels because companies classify their chemicals as trade secrets.
- Women who stay at home have a 54% higher rate of cancer than those that work outside the home, due to the direct result of higher exposure rates to toxic chemicals in common household products.
- According to the National Research Council, no toxic information is available for more than 80% of the chemicals in everyday-use products. (Source of above statistics)
If the stats listed above interested you, please read the website found on the site listed as “source” – I think you’ll find a few more that are quite surprising. I realize that they also keep offering to sell some products which I didn’t buy, but their information is correct and informative in nature.
If you want to take control of what you’re using to clean with, as well as what you’re exposing yourself and your family to, it all starts with a little research. If you have white vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice in your pantry, you’ve got a good start if you want to make the “natural cleaning switch”. There are other things you’ll find helpful to have on hand if you decide to take the natural cleaning route. I can tell you what I’ve started with, but as with anything, you’ll find what you like to use by trial and error.
So far I have stopped buying laundry soap, fabric softener, stain spray, chlorine bleach, comet & ajax cleanser, window cleaner, copper cleaner, bathroom cleaner, disinfectant spray, tub & tile cleaner, soap scum remover, de-greaser, air fresheners and I’m sure a few others that I can’t think of at the moment. What have I bought in order to replace the items listed? I’ve purchased Washing Soda, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Fels Naptha and Zote soap, Lemon Juice, Hydrogen Peroxide and Rubbing Alcohol. I would like to purchase some liquid castile soap and essential oils, but living in a remote area, I can’t find these things locally (yet) and detest buying things online. I will call a store and see if they’ll order what I need and that will solve that problem. Well, so far I can proudly say that the list of what I have to buy for cleaning now is much shorter, much cheaper and best of all it’s healthier for me, my family and the environment!
If you would like to try your hand at making the switch, I can start you off with a few links. There are so many great links out there that I hate to just list a few, so please look around (blogs and Pinterest are full of such “recipes, but please see my *hint* below). I’ve found so many people out there who have made this journey before me and they’ve made my trip much easier!*Hint: When looking at recipes for homemade household/personal cleaners, please look at and think about the ingredients they list. For instance, if they tell you to add “that de-greasing blue dish soap” as an ingredient – it’s not natural – you’re only adding chemicals to your product(s).*
Here are just a few links from my bookmarks to get you started:
All-Purpose Cleaner with printable labels included
Homemade Dish Soap (more than one recipe listed)
Battle of the Homemade Glass Cleaners (interesting post)
Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide – lots of hints for it’s use
DIY Glass/Stainless Steel Cleaner – more “recipes” in sidebar
Lemon Juice/Bleach Alternative – for cleaning purposes
There are way too many out there to list them all, but that will at least get you started. The reason I didn’t list any links for laundry soap and fabric softener recipes is that I am working on a post about that subject, separate from this post.
I’d love to hear any feedback/comments you have on the subject of cleaning naturally. Coming up here at MaineGreenGirl, I’ll be posting about my experience with making homemade laundry soap and fabric softener. I’ll include hints and tips that I read about before I made it, as well as things I learned from it that I’ll do differently next time. I realize this was a long post, I appreciate you staying with me this far!