Why Natural Cleaning?
Natural cleaning has gained popularity in recent years as environmental and health issues have become high priorities for many people. Natural cleaning is actually an old concept. In past generations, people did not run to the local store to pick up a bottle of glass cleaner or a can of air freshener; instead, products normally found right in the cupboards were used for everything from cleaning the kitchen sink to scrubbing the tub, controlling odors to removing laundry stains and much more. As safe and environmentally sound living becomes a goal for many of today’s families, topics such as natural cleaning are ideas whose time has come once again.
People who clean naturally offer a variety of reasons, ranging from health problems such as asthma and skin conditions to consideration of both the immediate and long-term environmental impact. Consider the following facts. People spend many hours indoors, where air contaminant levels can be as much as 100 times that of the air outside. Improper use of strong chemical cleaning agents can cause the release of highly toxic fumes in your home. Even when used properly, many products pose a risk to respiratory systems and skin. Storing such items insecurely throughout the home may prove lethal if found and ingested by a young child. Environmentally, cleaning products can also cause many problems, such as polluted water, which can be lethal to plant and animal life. Obviously, these concerns are valid and the answer is natural cleaning.
Natural Air Freshener
I have recently become interested in the use of essential oils in house cleaning. I’ve been learning quite a lot about natural / green cleaning in the last several months. I recently stumbled across the idea of using essential oils and the benefits of aromatherapy in house cleaning as well.
Essential oils provide many cleaning benefits. Many of them are some combination of antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and / or antiseptic in their properties. This is in addition to the pleasant fragrance they leave in your home, as opposed to the “fake” clean smell of commercial cleaning products.
So, in keeping with this interest, I have a seasonal tip to share with everyone on how to make your own natural, Christmas scented air freshener. This stuff smells great (and it makes you feel a lot better than spraying other fresheners around, thinking about all the damage you’re actually doing to yourself, your family and the air quality in your home). The recipe is below — go ahead and try it and let me know what you think!
Holiday Air Freshener
Directions: Mix in 2-3 ounces water, per your preference. A good idea is to start with 2 ounces. If the fragrance is too strong for you, dilute further with up to 1 additional ounce of water. There you go! A easy, natural air freshener that can be used in any part of the home.
Baking Soda or Vinegar?..Best Natural Cleaner?
Baking soda is an inexpensive, versatile natural cleaning product. As many people know, it is effective at eliminating odors in the fridge, garbage can or sink drain. A general-purpose cleaner can be made by combining a couple teaspoonfuls of baking soda with 2 1/2 cups of warm water. This solution removes grease and dust quickly and easily. Use it to clean white kitchen appliances, inside the microwave and the outside of toilets. A slightly stronger solution works well for cleaning out the fridge. For those baked-on messes on the stovetop, simply dampen and sprinkle baking soda over the area. Allow it to sit for about half an hour before cleaning and rinsing. Sprinkle baking soda straight on to items along with just a little water to create a paste-like substance — this works great for cleaning countertops, stains and hard water deposits in the kitchen and bathroom. These ideas are just a small sample of the many ways in which you can use baking soda to clean around the home.
Vinegar is another common household substance used in cleaning. It has many applications in the laundry room, where it can be used to brighten colors (soak clothing in 1 gallon warm water and 1 cup vinegar), remove odors (wash wool sweaters, then rinse in vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio), or in place of fabric softener (use as you would any liquid fabric softener). This is just the beginning. Other applications of vinegar include dabbing it across doorways and windowsills to keep ants and other unwanted visitors from coming into your home, using hot vinegar and a rag to remove paint from glass and using a water and vinegar mixture in a spray bottle as a germicidal when cleaning bathroom and kitchen areas. I have neither the time nor the space to do justice to this amazing cleanser, but there are numerous other uses for vinegar throughout the home.
Tea Tree Oil
Though many people are familiar with baking soda and vinegar as natural cleaning agents, others are not always well known. One of these lesser known cleansers is tea tree oil. It is an essential oil with anitviral, antibacterial, and antifugal properties. You can hardly beat that!
Combine 5 teaspoons oil with 1 quart water to create a general cleaning solution. Store in spray bottles and use as a room deodorizer and household disinfectant. It can also be sprayed on areas with mold (think bathrooms) to kill and remove it.
Having problems with residue build-up on your dishes? Just put several drops of tea tree oil in the dispenser along with your usual detergent and your dishes will come out squeaky clean! Likewise, you may add a few drops of tea tree oil to your laundry to leave clothes clean and fresh.
Don’t stop here. Browse the Internet, talk to friends and read books to find more natural cleaning methods for your household chores. Every little tip you pick up gets you one step closer to living a healthy life in a safe environment. You shouldn’t settle for anything less.