It is very satisfying to spray down a counter top with a strong household product in order to clean it. It makes you feel like you’re doing a thorough job. What you may not even think about is that while you are busy cleaning, you are also busy breathing in all sorts of nasty chemicals.
The effect of cleaning products is devastating on lung health as determined by a study spanning 20 years. Those who regularly used cleaning products had the same lung function as those who smoked 20 cigarettes a day and also had higher rates of asthma. Another study found that nurses who used disinfectants had up to 32% higher chance of lung disease.
It’s not just nurses and cleaners who have increased exposure to these chemicals, hairdressers, nail technicians, laboratory workers and any other occupations where solvents are used. Studies have found that the children of people who work in these environments have a higher chance of having a birth defect.
It goes without saying that it’s simply not a good idea to voluntarily inhale or be exposed to any toxic chemicals. However you can easily reduce the amount of environmental toxins in your house by using more natural products
You will be able to find safer alternatives in any shop. Products with simple ingredients are best. Or you can make most cleaning products yourself.
1) All purpose cleaner: floors, counter tops
This recipe will take you no time to make and save you money in the long run. You can add a drop or two of essential oils if you want it to smell good.
500ml jar or bottle
2 cups (500ml) water
1 tsp Borax (optional)
1 tsp washing soda
1-2 tbsp liquid soap such as Dr.Bronners or washing up liquid
Place all ingredients in the jar and mix thoroughly. Use as you would a regular cleaning product.
2) Lemon vinegar solution: windows, surfaces, toilet, floor
Chop up a used lemon and place into a jar
Cover with vinegar
Leave for 1 week before discarding the lemon peel. Use it diluted for windows and surfaces and undiluted for the toilet.
3) Tile grout:
1 part water 3 parts baking soda. Leave on tiles and scrub off.
If you need it to be more abrasive, add salt and leave out some of the water.
4) Oven cleaner
Make a thick paste with ½ cup of baking soda and water.
Using gloves smear all over the oven. Allow to sit for 30min-1h
Scrub in the paste with circular motions with a sponge. If your oven is very crusted you might need a stainless steel mesh/brush.
Wipe down with water.
When everything is clean, spray or wipe down with vinegar.
5) Toilet cleaner
Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the toilet and let it sit overnight. Pour in 1 cup of vinegar and after 10 minutes flush the toilet.