Tuesday, September 16, 2014

House Beautiful.....Or House Deadly?

All of us would like to dream of our homes looking lovely...the furniture polished to a high
gloss, the windows sparkling, sinks and counter tops grease-free, no mildew in the bathroom.  Your local supermarket has all the products you need to keep your home clean

and sparkling.  Or does it?  What price are those cleaning supplies taking on your health?

Every product on your supermarket shelves is in some way toxic.  On every can you will see warnings about accidental poisoning.  There are cautions about how flammable, corrosive, or carcinogenic it is.  You will probably see warnings not even to inhale the fumes, let alone allow the product contact with your skin.  Did you know that if you use these products, even if they never come in contact with our skin, just breathing the fumes causes the chemicals to be stored in your fatty tissues until they reach such toxic levels that they begin to cause disease?

Well, my home is a naturally clean home.  I do not use carcinogenic chemicals.  Nature has provided everything I need.

There are five ingredients which are my primary cleaning agents. These are:  lemon juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and salt.  Salt is an abrasive; baking soda a milder abrasive, an odor absorber, and a whitener; lemon juice is a degreaser and an anti-bacterial agent; and vinegar is also an antibacterial agent and mild whitener.  Hydrogen peroxide serves as a whitener, bacteria fighter, and to loosen oxidated substances.  Lemon juice and vinegar work as antibacterial agents because almost no living organism can maintain life below a pH of 3, which is very acidic.  Occasionally, I will also use a pure essential plant oil, but nothing synthetic, and nothing toxic.

This way of cleaning is cheaper, healthier, and much more personally satisfying.

In The Bathroom:  First, I scrub the tub with baking soda or salt. Sometimes, I will cut a fresh lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the tub, and then use the lemon half as a scrub brush.  I rub my lemon half in the pile of salt or baking soda, and start scrubbing away.  If there is any mildew on the tile or shower curtain, I first clean the mildewed area with salt and

rinse it.  Then I have a solution of half vinegar, half water in a spray bottle, and I generously spray the mildewed area with it.  I allow it to sit for a while, then rinse again.  Sometimes I will use a stiff brush on this area after it has sat for a while.  If the mildew stains are not yet gone, I use some hydrogen peroxide on it to whiten it.  For the toilet, I use salt and a toilet brush, and I spray the seat on top and underneath with the vinegar/water solution and wipe off with a rag.  (Incidentally, I don't use paper towels to clean with.....they are very wasteful, and a rag or old t-shirt works just as good.  I have a bucket I carry around with me, and when I am through with a dirty rag, I toss it in the bucket.  The bucket full of rags are then washed at the end of the day).  After I am through cleaning the toilet, I use several drops of a pure essential oil in the toilet to make it smell good.  My favorites are mandarin orange, rosewood, or peppermint. In place of those "scrubbing bubbles" products for the sink, I close up the stopper, pour a little vinegar in the bottom of the sink, and throw in some baking soda.  Voila!  Homemade scrubbing bubbles!  If you don't believe me, try it.  For the mirror, good old vinegar and water sprayed on and wiped off with newspaper or an old rag, and for the floor, plain water with a few drops of your favorite essential oil will do the trick.  If for some reason your floor is greasy, add some lemon juice.  You can even add essential oil of pine to make believe you are using Pine Sol.

In The Kitchen:  First, I make sure all my dishes are washed up.  I do not use soap on my dishes.  Soap is drying to the skin, and the new antibacterial kinds have toxic chemicals in them.  Most dishes, if rinsed out just after use, require no cleansers of any kind.  Food easily rinses off without help.  If they have sat a while, I take a plate for instance, pour a little salt onto it, and us a scrub brush.  This only takes a few seconds, no longer than to put soap on it and scrub.  If there is grease or oil on the plate, a little lemon juice does nicely to remove it.  If there is a greasy pan, say a nonstick skillet, after I have washed out everything except the greasy film, I then to my scrubbing bubbles trick with the soda and vinegar, let the pan sit in the sink for a few minutes and bubble, swish the bubbles around in the pan to make sure it has gotten to the whole surface, and rinse.  No soap is needed.  At my sink I have four bottles:  a shaker bottle of salt, a shaker bottle of soda, a squirt bottle of lemon juice, and a squirt bottle of vinegar.  All four sit at my sink so that I may use whatever combination seems to work for my dish problem.

After the dishes are done (I don't use a dishwasher.....it wastes electricity and water, and by the time you have rinsed the dishes before putting them in, you might as well have washed them) the countertops and stove top all have vinegar and water sprayed on them and are wiped down.  The appliances get the same, and the floor is done with pure water and several drops of essential oils.  If there is a hard to remove stain that the mop won't get up, a little salt or baking soda and half a lemon will do the trick.  You can also use a scrub pad if you so desire, but why bother?  Those lemon halves are just going to get thrown away anyway.

I also put lemon juice on my wooden cutting boards to kill bacteria and germs.  Once a month, all my utensils get soaked for an hour in vinegar, rinsed, and then soaked for an hour in hydrogen peroxide.

After everything is done in the kitchen, the sink is scrubbed with baking soda to clean and whiten it from the stains of cooking and washing dishes.

Other Various and Sundry Tips:

If your car leaks oil onto your driveway, baking soda is a great substitute for bags of oil dry from the store.

For wet pet stains on the carpet (pee, poop, or throw-up) I wipe up as much of the mess as I can with old rags that I can just throw away.  Then I spray the area with clean water, and cover it with a thick covering of baking soda.. I let the baking soda soak up the wetness.  Then, I have a Little Green Clean Machine which I use to suck up the mess.  I then put clear water in the machine's reservoir and add a couple of drops of my favorite essential oil.  I spray the spot and then suck up the excess.  It smells great!

For cloth diapers, I make a diaper pail full of warm water and baking soda, and as soon as the diaper is removed and the poop tossed into the toilet, I toss the diaper into the pail.  It stays there until wash day, and the smells typical of diaper pails are absorbed by the baking soda.  If I think a stain on a diaper is not going to come out, I toss it in the sink and throw on the hydrogen peroxide. This will help whiten it.

Well, that is how we clean our wonderfully natural home.  The products that I use are cheaper, healthier, and a joy to use.If for some reason you want to purchase commercially prepared cleaning products, we carry all natural, Ecologically safe, Ecover brand products..  They carry all purpose cleaners, dishwashing liquids, liquid and powdered laundry detergents, fabric softeners, stain removers, non-chlorine bleach, and more.

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