Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Up until about 60 years ago, we all used a few simple and natural non-toxic, biodegradable materials to clean and disinfect our homes.
Cleaning is supposed to make us healthier, not sicker! But, today, cleaning is a dirty business. There are anywhere from 25,000 to 84,000 chemicals released the market and into our environment. An additional 2 - 3,000 new synthetic chemicals are introduced every year. Not even the most brilliant and devoted chemist could keep track of all of them, nor guarantee their safety. Even lead was considered safe until 1977.
And, even if each chemical is generally considered safe to our health and the health of our environment on its own -- what about when it is combined with other chemicals?
How are these cocktails of two or more synthetic chemicals affecting us in the long term? The air we breathe, the health of all living organisms and environment we live in?
I don't know about you, but this sister can't stand being assaulted by the super strong "clean" chemical fragrance in typical cleaning supplies. Think Windex, Clorox, Febreeze. 🤢
But, how do we clean without chemicals??!!
Luckily, you've got a sister who's got your back.
It's really important to me to do my best to live green -- I value organic foods, natural skincare and non-toxic cleaning products. I've got a few DIY recipes below that cost pennies to make and are hella effective.
If you're not the DIY type, here are a few of my favorite non-toxic done-for-you brands to check out:
Look for plant-based, biodegradable, chlorine-free, ammonia-free, solvent-free, phosphate-free and made without synthetic fragrances or dyes.
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day
Easiest, Cheapest Master Cleansers
OK. Ready to make your own non-toxic sparkling clean? It's really this simple.
Get some distilled white vinegar. Not apple cider vinegar, cider, wine or rice vinegar. Good old-fashioned distilled white vinegar you can get by the gallon. Studies have shown that just a 5% solution of simple distilled white vinegar will kill 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of viruses.
1. Fill a spray bottle with 100% distilled white vinegar. Spray everything from produce to countertops, refrigerator, faucets, stovetop and door knobs. The vinegar smell will disappear after a few minutes.
Hydrogen peroxide is essentially a water molecule with an extra oxygen atom attached. Pure oxygen is extremely toxic to microorganisms, which is why super simple hydrogen peroxide is such a killer antiseptic. I am never without it. Besides, it really satisfying to watch it bubble and fizz as it kills bacteria. When the bubbling stops, the deed is done.
2. Fill a second darkened spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Yup. The same stuff you get at the drugstore. Your spray bottle for hydrogen peroxide must be dark. so light does not get through. Light, heat and agitation will degrade your hydrogen peroxide, so always keep in a dark spray bottle and don't shake or mix with vinegar. The vinegar will de-activate the oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide and it will lose it's power.
First spray with vinegar.
Second, follow up your vinegar spritz with a hydrogen peroxide spritz.
No need to dilute or rinse.
Done. Wipe or let dry. Easy-peasy.
Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are totally harmless to humans, pets and the environment. Dangerous little microbes won't become resistant to them either. Stock up.
Want something a little more fancy and smell-good? I've got you. Check out these DIY cleansers from Renee Loux, author of Easy Green Living:
Lavender Lemon Disinfecting Spray
1/4 cup of vodka (use the cheap stuff, sweetie)
1/4 cup 3% drugstore hydrogen peroxide
1 cup water
5 drops grapefruit seed extract (optional, but offers extra protection)
10 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
5 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. SWIRL TO COMBINE -- don't shake vigorously or you'll deactivate the oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide and your awesome cleaning product will go flat and lose its action.
Spray any surface, wait a few minutes and wipe dry with a clean cloth or simply let it dry naturally.
It will keep indefinitely stored in a cool, dark place.
All-Purpose Deodorizing Basic Soda Cleanser
This recipe is tough on dirt and stains. Baking soda is a little abrasive, but won't scratch. Castile soap is one of the oldest, safest and most effective natural cleanser -- together they are a tag-team of cleaning power. This cleanser is great for kitchens and baths. You'll need to wipe clean, as this cleanser will leave a little baking soda residue if not wiped clean.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon castile soap (my fave is Dr. Bronners citrus scented)
1/2 teaspoon rosemary, thyme or sweet orange essential oil (or oil of your choice)
1 cup very warm water
1 cup club soda
Add baking soda, soap, oils and water to a clean spray bottle. Shake to dissolve. Slowly add the club soda and swirl to mix in.
Spray surfaces, leave for a few minutes for deep cleaning, wipe clean and admire the view.
Here's a basic check-list of natural cleansers to keep in your non-toxic cleaning closet:
White distilled vinegar
Hydrogen peroxide and oxygen bleach powder
Antiseptic essential oils: cinnamon, clove, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, oregano, rosemary, tea tree, sweet orange and thyme.
Super simple. Super sexy. 🍋
Keeping your home safe, healthy and beautiful. You got this.
Rock on, Sister. 🔮