Time to Clean Up Naturally
Spring (summer!) cleaning time is here! (This post is a little late.) Though maybe through all this you are finding that you are trying to disinfect everything you can get your hands on? Perhaps you’re like me and have been trying to take advantage of this slower time to declutter and reorganize. (I’m still not done, not even close...) And I’m looking at the collected grime and dust bunnies from weeks and weeks of a lack of a thorough deep clean throughout my house. So how can we clean our homes that’s best for our health, the environment, and our pocketbook?
I highly recommend you check out the Environmental Working Group’s website, ewg.org. Not only is this a great resource for clean sunscreens and cosmetics (I check all our personal care products here before I buy them), but they also list cleaning supplies and rate them based on toxicity levels, both from a health AND an environmental perspective. And yes, they rate disinfectants too. Just because something says it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you or the earth! I’ve learned that products can vary widely even within a particular “natural” or "organic" brand so it’s a good idea to do some research before you buy. Often cleaners themselves are toxic or are loaded with synthetic perfumes that can become triggers for allergies and other health issues. With our spending so much time at home these days, we want to be sure that our living environment is the least toxic place it can be.
In our home, we use a spray bottle filled with a mild natural soap diluted in water for everyday cleaning of surfaces, floors and counters. Our natural hand soap, body soap, shampoo and dish soap are all rated low toxicity on the ewg website, and our dishwasher and laundry soap are both environmentally friendly and nontoxic. It may not seem to make a huge difference, but in the long term knowing that we are not adding a huge amount of toxins into the local waste water makes me feel like I'm doing something good for Mother Earth.
And here I will extoll the virtues of two of the best (and most natural) cleaners I know of - baking soda and vinegar! Baking soda works wonders as a gentle non abrasive scrubber (especially on pots & pans - just be careful on quartz or marble), and vinegar can help to get glass streak-free and rid showerheads of calcium deposits. Just don't use vinegar on marble or other calcium based stone as it will cause etching and damage. Used together with hot water, vinegar and baking soda can even unblock mild drain clogs. Knowing that they are both extremely safe (they both can be ingested, after all), eco-friendly AND inexpensive gives me peace of mind and makes me feel a little smarter too. :)