Small adjustments and contributions are the easiest way to change your home into a safer place. Synthetic chemicals cleaners and fragrances cause cancer, birth defects, brain and nervous system damage, and disrupt hormones. Changing the type of products we use at home means understanding the bigger picture of health and environment, and how honest information can make all the difference in our daily lives.
The following are five healthy cleaning products I use in my own home. Each one is:
- Easy to find
Furniture is one way of making your home non-toxic (see my Ready to Order or Custom Made pieces for a better idea how). The other part is controlling the toxic fumes of other products inside the home, so break out the baking soda and vinegar and let's get down to scrubbing!
There's a reason those small Arm & Hammer boxes have been popular since before you were born. The stuff works.
Baking soda absorbs odors anywhere. Place an open box in the refrigerator or the freezer. In the bathroom, the bedroom, or sprinkle some on your car's floor and upholstery.
It's also terrific for non-abrasive, mild alkali scrubbing action. Sprinkle some on stoves, counters, and scrub away. To clean grimy buildup on wood furniture, mix a bit with furniture oil and gently rub clean with a dry cloth. This and Simple Green keep my vintage stove clean pristine!
It's so safe you can put it in your mouth, say, brush your teeth with it. The Environmental Working Group gives the Arm & Hammer brand an A for its lack of health concerns and ingredient disclosure.
Want to explore more? Get this .pdf from the University of Wisconsin extension program titled Baking Soda – the Everyday Miracle.
Use this household favorite directly in any laundry, as a disinfectant and fabric softener.
Disinfect in the bathroom with vinegar, soften those hard water stains, or pour a cup in the laundry. Does vinegar realllllllllly work? The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, yep, ABC, gives it a definite yes in this article Does vinegar really kill household germs?
While chlorine bleach is popular and very helpful, vinegar is a healthier alternative since it's biodegradable and doesn't give off fumes that can cause health problems over the long term.
Be careful with window seals and dishwasher gaskets. Vinegar can deteriorate those over time so rinse with water after use.
I use benzoyl peroxide like a bleach and treat it the same in the bleach drain in the washing machine. Great tip from the website Collective-Evolution.com: Peroxide is great to get rid of blood stains on clothes and carpets. If there is blood on clothing, just pour it directly on the spot, let it sit for about a minute, then rub and rinse with cold water.
These are actually berries, not nuts. They produce saponin in the shell as they ripen on the Soap Berry Tree. Saponin is a natural cleaning agent that's activated in water. Soap nuts then break down the surface tension in the water and allows it to clean the clothes. They're as powerful as commercial cleaning agents but they're plant based.
In So Cal, you won't find them on every grocer's shelf. Some stores to look for are: Whole Foods locations; Erewhon with stores in LA 90036, Venice and Calabasas; Earth Baby Boutique in Sherman Oaks and Full O' Life Natural Foods in Burbank.
Soap nuts do require warm water and best left for darker colors. I also use regular biodegradable soap in the box from Trader Joes to avoid the plastic for my whites.
Wool Dryer Balls
Make this a fun project with the kids. Wool dryer balls create space between clothes and it's been tested that they can reduce drying time by 25%. They reduce static cling and keep clothes soft. Same benefits as commercial drying sheets but without all the additives.
Create your own by buying 100% wool yarn. Any other fibers, like mohair, need to be natural. Target recently introduced wool balls, but I bought organic wool dryer balls a while back on Amazon.com.
Thankfully, there are healthy alternatives for our furniture and our cleaning supplies. Take control of your environment and let me know of good products you've found.