If you’re in the business of preserving your health and the environment, evaluating your cleaning supplies is essential. Most “normal” household products–from disinfectants to laundry detergent to air fresheners–contain a number of toxins and irritants. The artificial fragrances can cause headaches, irritate mucosal linings, and exacerbate existing allergies. Petroleum-based ingredients obviously further our dependence upon oil, a non-renewable resource, while slowly loading our bodies with chemicals they can’t easily eliminate. Fortunately, you have options for replacing toxic or petroleum-based products. Several companies make excellent home care solutions that are easy the body and the earth. The downside? Cost, of course. As you might expect, safer, higher-quality products sport higher price tags than their toxic counterparts.
For a little more work and a lot less money, you can make your own cleaners. Of course, you might be happier buying some things pre-made. I, for example, buy Ecover’s toilet bowl cleaner and stain stick, primarily because I like the dispensers. Afterall, who enjoys scrubbing a home-made past inside a toilet by hand? Not me! I also purchase dishwashing soap and, after an unfortunate series of events, laundry detergent. But as for household cleaners for glass, wood, and other surfaces, I make my own. It’s so easy.
For your dishwasher, combine equal parts borax and washing soda (both available in your grocery store) to use as detergent. Just fill your machine’s dispenser as usual. Because this mix can leave white spots on your dishes, be sure to use straight vinegar as a rinsing agent (use the appropriate dispenser). This combination has produced highly satisfactory results for me.
My favorite glass cleaner so far is plain club soda. It’s remarkably effective. Apparently, it’s also fantastic as a stain remover if you catch spills quickly, but I can’t personally vouch for it. Next time I spill something on my clothes, which will likely be in the next 30 minutes, I’ll give it a shot.
Although there are many options for making nontoxic disinfectants, my best effort yet is a mix of 3 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon borax, and 1 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap. I especially like to use the peppermint-scented soap because it makes my bathroom smell so fresh and clean. Borax is an excellent disinfectant, but washing soda is also good. Straight vinegar kills germs too, but I don’t have much tolerance for the smell.
I’ll publish more ideas later, but for now, I’m off to my Saturday afternoon nap. Also, my apologies for waiting so long to post. I’ve been working on our house lately, so the blog got pushed to the back burner. You can expect a post at least every 48 hours from now on. Thanks!