Have you ever looked at the ingredients of your home cleaning products? Do you know what you are actually cleaning with? Is it safe for you and your family (pets included)? I have always believed that the definition of clean (free from dirt, pollutants or harmful substances – Oxford English Dictionary) would be quite straightforward until I started to take a closer look.
During my life in Communist Germany (up to 1989), we didn’t have nearly as many cleaning products as there are today. Speaking to older generations, it seems that about 50 – 60 years ago people had used basics such as baking soda, vinegar, alcohol, soap, salt, etc to lift stains, polish wood, repel pests, and deodorize and disinfect every surface. What has happened?
“The dawn of the chemical age followed quickly on the heels of World War II, instigated by war-related research and a host of ‘new and improved’ products like cleaners, plastics and disposable goods that quickly became symbols of American prosperity and modern luxury, along with advertising slogans like ‘better living through chemistry’. Vinegar and soap were out, chlorine and synthetic, petroleum-based detergents were in. The modern marvel of petrochemical wonders made domestic chores a breeze. Who needs elbow grease when chemicals will do the work for you? As America’s economy bloomed, so did the dizzying array of cleaning products on supermarket shelves, backed by big business’s muscles and marketing genius, and tried-and true methods were subjugated to the products of the chemical revolution. ” (Renee Loux, Author – Easy Green Living)
It is time to take a closer look at our cleaning cabinets, rething and start using greener and environmental friendlier solutions. It’s not just about saving animal species, but also about enjoying a quality of life and health that are worth passing on to future generations. Why not return to the basics?
Green guidelines (if you don’t understand the label, then don’t buy it!!!):
- Plant based
- Solvent free
- Phosphate free
- Chlorine free
- Ammonia free
- No synthetic fragrances or dyes
Look for these words on your product labels! Start a greener lifestyle and save money at the same time …. Your health, wallet and environment will thank you for it.
If you want to take it a step further, then try making the following homemade cleaning products with the basics from the past. I have been using them for some time already and loving it. Apart from having a toxic free home environment I am also able to save a lot of money.
DIY cleaning products:
- Drain cleaner: 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar, boiling water
Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain. After 30 minutes add some boiling water!!! It works like magic!
2. All purpose cleaner: White vinegar, lemon or orange peels (measurement up to you)
In a pint size mason jar, combine the peels of about 2 oranges or 4-5 limes/ lemons and cover them with white vinegar. After letting them sit in a sunny windowsill for about a week, remove some of the liquid. You can leave the rest to continue brewing for a few more weeks as it’ll continue to get stronger. Simply put some of your new homemade all purpose cleaner into a spray bottle and clean like normal.
For me, it worked as you would expect and had a pleasant citrus aroma that I really enjoyed, much better than the chemical smell of some harsh cleaners! Use a squirt bottle for optimal usage. (I have been using an old plastic spray bottle from before)
3. Black Tea Window Cleaner: Brew strong black tea (I normally brew extra black tea, when I’m preparing my Kombucha) Allow to fully cool, about an hour or two, then transfer cleaner to spray bottle or dip cotton cloth into solution. Clean your windows and wipe them dry with a towel. If you have dirty windows, you might need a second application.
As you can see from the ingredients, most of them contain baking soda, vinegar, fruit peels or even tea. For the past few months I have also been making my own vinegar from extra Kombucha scobys, so I can avoid the plastic bottles from the supermarket. Sounds time-consuming, but its actually not. The Scoby works on its own (20-30 days) and the home-cleaning products get whipped together in an instant.
I will continue to add more recipes as I move forward …. Please feel free to share what has worked for you….. any recipes you would like to share? Looking forward to learning from each other.