Guest post by Jessie Hawkins of Vintage Remedies
Cleaning the house is a chore that never ends. Unfortunately, this daily routine can also be increasing your and your family’s health risks as most conventional cleaning products pollute indoor air. This polluted air can contribute to headaches, eye irritation, eczema, fatigue, congestion, allergies and even cancer! It has been estimated that the average American family uses over 40 pounds of dangerous household cleaners each year, and most of these contain chemicals that have never been tested for safety in children or pregnant women. This use results in indoor air quality that has caused the Environmental Protection Agency to list our homes as one of the top 5 environmental risks to our health.
Fortunately, alternative exist that are effective, safe and – yes – affordable. Many cleaning products can be produced with ingredients that are already in your kitchen. With a few additional items, you can create an entire set of cleaning products for a fraction of the cost.
To create your own products, you’ll need:
- baking soda
- liquid castille soap (Dr. Bronners is a favorite brand of mine)
- various essential oils
- distilled water
- spray bottles and other containers
I recommend purchasing the large size baking soda and vinegar from Costco or a similar store. You’ll definitely use it. Castille soap can be found in a health food store. It can be pricey, but there is no reason to get the big bottle because you’ll only use a few tablespoons. While you’re at the health food store, look for the essential oils. These will be the biggest initial expense, but they are extremely concentrated and a little goes a very long way. Most of the oils in my recipes are lower pried oils, but substitutions could increase the cost.
Every item you create should be stored in a clean bottle. Get a fresh bottle for each item. They can be refilled with the same product, but should not be used interchangeably for products. The ingredients could mix, creating different products, and the labeling could cause a product to be misused. Of course, you’ll want to label each product with not only the name of the item, but potential uses, all ingredients and the date it was created.
All Purpose Cleaning Spray
This handy spray is great for hard water, mineral build up and any messes that happen with little ones around!
1/3 cup vinegar
3/4 cup warm water
1 T vegetable soap
8 drops eucalyptus oil
6 drops lavender oil
2 drops tea tree oil
Tub and Tile Cleaning Paste
This is ideal for any solid surface and helps break down soap scum and other common troubles. If it begins to dry out, simply add a few drops of water and stir well.
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable soap
1 T distilled water
1 T vinegar
20 drops essential oil blend of choice (Citrus oils make a great choice for this as they are effective de-greasers.)
Mix together the soda and soap. Add the water and essential oils. When thoroughly combined, stir in the vinegar. The mixture may foam a little. Scoop into a clean jar, cap and label.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
1 cup vinegar
3 T vegetable soap
25 drops tea tree oil
Combine in the squirt bottle and shake well. For an especially dirty toilet, sprinkle baking soda on first, allow to sit a couple of minutes, then follow with this cleaner.
About Jessie Hawkins of Vintage Remedies
Jessie Hawkins is, by definition, a wife, mom of four and the Executive Director of Vintage Remedies. More specifically, however, she is a speaker, an author, an herbalist, a holistic wellness professional, an amateur real foods chef, a natural living professional, an advocate for informed birthing choices, a teacher of sustainable lifestyles, a hobby gardner, a gentle parent, an avid researcher, a lifelong student and a satisfied mommy.
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