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Home Grown Cleaning Products

November 29, 2009

Back to basics

I’ve been amazed throughout my reading and research on cleaning products how naive I’ve been with regards to the toxins and chemicals in my home that I’ve so innocently used around my family everyday.

In the USA research carried out by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), has shown that on average indoor air contains two to five times more pollutants per cubic foot than outdoor air. A further EPA study revealed that some toxic levels found in homes were greater than the levels which qualify as chemical waste sites.

We can make a huge difference to our health and health of our children if we choose to throw out the bright green chemicals in bottles hidden beneath our sink and pull out the vinegar and a bit of elbow grease! Chemical cleaners can have toxic fumes, cause harmful reactions on skin, and some chemical cleaners can be carcinogenic.

Homemade cleaners can do just as good a job without all the harmful side effects.

Janey Lee Grace has these great books which I’m slowly working through; she’s a busy mother of four but works hard to make sure the world around her children is as chemical free as possible; from the foods that go in their mouths to the surfaces they touch!

This book was also very helpful, it not only contains the science behind the chemicals in the products we use but it’s also packed with great homemade recipes with very simple and cheap ingredients.

The great thing is that one homemade product can clean a multitude of surfaces. Chemical products generally target one specific area or duty, so many different kinds need to be bought just to clean up around the house.

I know this all sounds very serious, but it’s also LOTS of fun; chat with other ladies about, explore the alternatives together and see what you come up with. I’ve loved exploring this with a couple of my gal pals; just last night Rebecca knocked at my door with a beautiful jar of ‘Almond hand scrub’ for me that she’s made from Epsom salts and almond oil – love it!

What do I use?
Here’s a list of basic ingredients that I use for my homemade cleaning fun!
I bulk buy most of these products from here; my friend and I have just started sharing the shipping cost and going in together on our order.

White distilled vinegar: Vinegar has detergent and disinfectant properties so very versatile for use in the home. White vinegar also acts as a natural deodoriser and absorbs odours rather than covering them up. White vinegar also makes a good fabric softener substitute as it cuts detergent residue.

Bicarbonate of soda: here is the list of the many, many uses (I LOVE it!)

Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap: 100% natural liquid soap that boasts of 18 different uses! I use it everything from the kids hair to cleaning the guinea pig cage. I also mix it with essential oils to make my own shower gel and hand wash.

Essential oils: Essential oils have many antibacterial and antiviral properties, this makes them particularly useful for using in homemade recipes such as toiletries, essential oil soap and cleaning products

You can get tons of recipes and ideas from the Internet or the books I’ve recommended but here’s what I do at the moment, I’m always tweaking my ideas – the quantities are really rough so please bare with me but you’ll get the idea:

I made this batch up yesterday:

‘Festive all purpose cleaner’: I use a plastic sugar shaker that my friend Lucy saved for me for this one; it has holes in the top which makes for easier sprinkling! Fill the pot with bicarbonate of soda, add 20 drops of cinnamon essential oil and 20 drops of pine essential oil – mix well. Happy Christmas cleaning! This is also a great idea for a fun Mum gift, I’ve done some for my Mum and MIL (Shhh, don’t tell them) in a glass jar, you can package it up with a cute ribbon and tag and throw in some pink gloves for more domestic fun!

‘Lemon and Pine Bathroom spray‘: Fill a spray bottle half full of Dr. Bronners soap, fill half with cold water and add 10 drops of lemon essential oil and 10 drops of pine essential oil, shake well and spray.

Lavender Kitchen cleaner‘: Fill a spray bottle half full of white vinegar, half full of water and add 20 drops of lavender essential oil. I use this on surfaces, windows and floors.

Of course all of these ‘products’ can be used all over the house despite my ‘cutesy’ labels!!

So, what do you do? I’m sure there are many more ‘seasoned’ green Mama’s out there with heaps of ideas; please leave a comment and share your wisdom ladies!

Happy cleaning!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2009 9:29 pm

    I made your Lavender Kitchen Cleaner! It brought back loving memories of my Gran when she would come to visit us…it smelt JUST like her perfume she used to wear (and still does at 97 years old!). Its GREAT on the windows and floor, but still needed to use some chemical brand kitchen spray to get the stubborn splashes on the oven stove to remove quickly.

  2. December 5, 2009 10:19 pm

    Yeah!! I generally use a bit of bicarb on more stubborn splashes then spray down afterwards with the kitchen cleaner – works a treat…although it does take a little more 'elbow grease'!!

  3. December 28, 2009 2:17 am

    Leah, I clean my whole house with bicarb. & vinegar. It's great! Windows become streak-free with vinegar and newspaper. Also, you can use cooled black tea to clean and polish your furniture. It works great – with no chemicals! xoxox

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