Identify the chemicals in your home you use for cleaning, take steps to reduce your reliance on them, and eliminate them from your home. This can be a load of fun if you have a good game plan and children who are eager to help their Mother save the earth. If you’re not sure what qualifies as toxic in your home, mosey over to http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/kids/hometour/index.htm … this website was designed with children in mind and it makes for an inspiring learning experience all around.
Before you eliminate toxic cleaning supplies from your home you’ll want to replace them with earth friendly products. You’ll need a biodegradable laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent and a good distinfectant … the rest you can make at home. If you think salmonela germs can be killed with vinegar, think again. I use Sol-U-Guard for a disinfectant, it’s made by Melaleuca and contains thyme oil. The first biodegradable approved by the EPA for it’s use in hospitals. The stuff is magic I tell you and it smells great too. There are other sprays you can create for just pennies!
The final step of elimination comes down to knowing where and how to dispose of hazardous waste. (Let’s just call it what it is!) If you’re not sure of where to go and what to do, check the phone directory for landfills or recycling centers in your area or visit www.Earth911.org. This is a great site that let’s you search by zip code. It’s a piece of cake.
Making your own cleaners brings lots of joy: you’ll know the ingredients are pure, the cost is significantly lower than you ever dreamed, and you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that what grandma used really did work! BONUS REMIX: kids just love to mix these ingredients, if they happen to sneek a taste you won’t have to call Poison Control.
Here’s a few tried and true nontoxic recipes for your family game plan. They are safe, fun to make and fun to use.
Prewash Stain Remover
Eucalyptus Oil rubbed on to tar, oil or grass stains loosens them miraculously before washing.
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar (or fresh lemon juice)
Combine ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag in to the solution and wipe over wood surfaces. Seal the lid and store indefinitely.
2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water.
Combine tea tree oil and water in a spray bottle, shake before applying. No need to rinse. Strong odour will disappear within several days. Mixture has a long shelf life.
Toilet Bowl Tidy-Up
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
Elbow grease (scrub, scrub, rub, rub!)
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake and spray along the inside rim of the toilet. Leave on for 15 minutes and then scrub with a toilet brush. Makes 2 1/4 cups.
Magic Window Wash
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar = acetic acid; a weak acid that serves as an effective disinfectant, dissolves scale, pulls dirt from wood, and neutralizes many stains and odors.
1/2 teaspoon liquid biodegradable detergent
2 cups warm water
essential oils for scent (optional)
Elbow grease (scrub, scrub and rub, rub!)
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to blend. Spray on surface, then remove with squeegee, paper towel or newspaper. Makes 2 1/4 cups.
Eco Tub & Tile Cleaner
1 2/3 cups baking soda
1/2 cup of liquid biodegradable laundry detergent
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. vinegar
Mix together in a bowl. Stir with a fork until the lumps are gone. Be as exact as you can, otherwise, your squirt will be too thin or thick. Pour into a plastic container with a lid (milk jug, plastic vinegar bottle)Use it for under the rim of the toilet, bathtub rings, sinks and countertops.
Sprinkle a little bit of salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is nicely soaked in lime juice. Leave the mixture on for two or three hours. Use the leftover rind as a handy scrubber. Rust is gone.
Oxy Clean Wash
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
Mix together and then add to your wash when the water has completely filled.
If you have a great recipe or cleaning tip that’s tested and true, don’t be shy — share it with us!