As more and more people are making the switch to healthier living, one surprisingly easy transition starts right in your own home: cleaning products.
Most of us don’t realize that the commercial cleaning products we use to help us keep attractive and healthy living spaces can actually do more harm than good. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that many commercial cleaning products contain carcinogens, allergens and irritants as well as chemicals that cause or worsen asthma. Evidence also shows that some of these substances harm reproductive and organ health.
Fortunately, there are easy, effective and inexpensive solutions that are healthier and more environmentally responsible. Some of them might even be in your cupboard already.
Many people keep sodium bicarbonate on hand for baking, but it’s also a useful substance for deodorizing and scrubbing. With just a little bit of water, baking soda becomes a paste that gets out some of the toughest grime. It’s especially useful in the kitchen when used on build-ups common to stove tops, sinks, pots, pans, silverware, microwaves and ovens.
Distilled white vinegar is a versatile cleaning solution that’s both safe and effective. In one study, a freshly prepared solution of 50% distilled white vinegar was found to be more effective than bleach against Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Using vinegar in a one to one solution with water is especially helpful in tackling odd jobs like grease removal, window cleaning, garbage disposal deodorizing and coffee maker sanitizing.
As versatile as vinegar is, the smell can be off-putting for some people. If you’re not a fan of the scent, try adding essential oils. Not only do essential oils help mask the smell of vinegar, but they also deliver aromatherapy benefits. In addition, essential oils have antimicrobial compounds. In one study, lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint and orange oils were found to be particularly effective at killing bacteria.
Castile soap is another nontoxic, environmentally friendly alternative to commercial cleaners. Originally from the Mediterranean, this biodegradable soap was first made from olive oil. Today, castile soap is also commonly produced from other plant-based oils, such as castor, coconut and hemp. Once mixed with water, castile soap works as an all-purpose cleaning solution, and is especially useful in cleaning dishes and floors.
However, be aware that castile soap shouldn’t be mixed with vinegar, acids or hardwater, or it can leave a residue behind.
These are just a few of the solutions you can start using right now for healthier, more natural cleaning. Once you’ve made the switch, we think you’ll wish you had done it sooner.