Ditch the Cleaning Products

Ditch The CleaningProducts (1) (1)
Reading Time: 6 min
Cleaning Essentials Euro My Cleaning Essentials Euro
Mr Muscle Window and Glass Cleaner 2.65 Dr Bronner Tea Tree 9.99
Cif the Original Cream Cleaner 3.25 Soda Bicarbonate 1.26
Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner 4.65  White Vinegar 0.49
Dettol Surface Cleaner AntiBacterial 2.39    
Mr Muscle Kitchen Cleaner 3.2    
Cif Woodfloor Cleaner 2    
Harpic Power Plus Toilet Cleaner 3.38    
Cif Power and Shine Bathroom Cleaner Spray 3.24    
Vanish Powder Carpet Cleaner 7.37    
Fairy Washing up Liquid 2.5    
Total 34.63 Total 11.74

 

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I have always hated cleaning products and cleaning days. When I was younger I had developed according to the ENT a chronic “Pharyngitis” that consisted of a constant tickle at the back of my throat which would get progressively worse if I am in a dusty place or even worse if it’s cleaning day in our house. I would go into coughing fits from floor cleaners and sprays. There was never any questioning whether cleaning products should be used and it all resorted to the fact that I am just overly sensitive. Whenever I cleaned the skin on my hands will dry out and if I happened to wash the dishes for a while my nails would start breaking a lot. My mom, however, kept finding innovative products to strengthen her nails and using hand creams. At some stage, gloves were used but I think shortly after my mom found them a nuisance. In the meantime, at my grandmother’s, only the most powerful cleaning products made their way into the house and they were mostly bought in bulk. She always complained how expensive they are and how much money she spends on them. She developed “pharyngitis” too, which she has up to this day.  I have shaken off my chronic illness a long time ago but the tickle always comes back in her house or if I am anywhere where strong cleaning products have been used. I can never point fingers but the chemicals in cleaning products were definitely an obvious detrimental factor to my health.

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The Toxins

Unfortunately, cleaning products do a little bit more than cleaning the surfaces we expose them to. They also pollute the waters, lands and affect ecosystems. Many contribute to indoor air pollution, are poisonous if ingested, and can be harmful if inhaled or touched. Many of us trust that if something is in the shop and people are allowed to take it home and use it unsupervised then surely this product is 100% safe, they wouldn’t sell it otherwise, would they?

Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer.

Here are some of the ingredients and their potential effects, taken from Green Goes With Everything

  • Ammonia: Fatal if swallowed; skin, lung, throat irritant; can cause blindness
  • Butyl Cellosolve: Irritation and tissue damage from inhalation
  • Formaldehyde: Known carcinogen
  • Hydrochloric Acid: Fatal if swallowed; concentrated fumes harmful
  • Naphtha: Depresses the central nervous system
  • Perchloroethylene: Damages liver, kidney, nervous system
  • Petroleum Distillates: Highly flammable; can damage lung tissue and nerve cells
  • Phenols: Extremely dangerous; suspected carcinogen
  • Propylene Glycol: Ingestion can damage kidneys, lungs, heart, and nervous system
  • Sodium Hydroxide (lye): Highly caustic. Contact can cause severe damage to eyes, skin, mouth, and throat; can cause liver and kidney damage
  • Sodium Hypochlorite (chlorine bleach): Contact can cause severe damage to eyes, skin, mouth, and throat; can cause liver and kidney damage; causes more poisoning exposures than any household chemical
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Skin irritant
  • Sulfuric Acid: Dangerous. Can burn skin. Exposure to concentrated fumes can be carcinogenic
  • Trichloroethane: Damages liver and kidney

My Personal top 3 reasons to stop using cleaning products 

  1. Protect myself and those who I love

  2. Not to pour poison down the drain that will kill wildlife and pollute the environment

  3. Prevent allergic reactions in my short- muzzled doggy-bestie

 

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Solutions

I like to keep my cleaning products and routine as minimalistic as possible, hence I use the same ingredients in different ways.  I like to keep it as simple as possible so I always use my judgment as a measuring cup. This is not the only way, however, there are tonnes of articles and books with cleaning recipes (I bet you there is one in your local library). There is always the option of buying less toxic cleaning brands such as Ecover, Sonett, Faith in Nature etc. The main ingredients I use are:

Dr Bronner- Liquid Castille Soap

Dr. Bronner’s soaps are completely vegetable oil based. Basically, Dr. Bronner is natural and can clean anything without the negative environmental or health expenses. The soaps can be used to wash your face, body, hands, and hair, to bath, shave, brush your teeth, rinse fruit, clean dishes, do laundry, wash windows, mop floors, scrub toilets, control dust mites, kill ants and garden pests, and even wash your dog. Drbronner.com provides diluting instructions for each. The history of making the soap is quite interesting which you can watch in a documentary here.

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Essential Oils

Essential oils are the ones that make cleaning products smell nice. However, that is not all they are about. They are antibacterial and viral so they make your cleaning products extra powerful.

Tea Tree  – fights viruses, germs and bacteria.

Lemon – antiviral and Antibacterial.

Pine– pine oil is effective at killing yeast spores, E.coli and other household germs.

Rosemary – antibacterial and antiseptic.

Wild Orange – a grease killer.

Eucalyptus– a germicide.

Lavender– antibacterial.

Cinnamon leaf – antibacterial and antiseptic, powerful against mold.

Peppermint – antibacterial.

Thyme – powerful against germs, effective against salmonella.

Baking Soda

Soda Bicarbonate aka Baking Soda is actually a milder version of salt. It is a great universal cleaner that can work on a few levels:

  • It absorbs odors rather than masking them.
  • It reacts with vinegar making them cleaning partners of crime cutting through grease and cleaning any surface.
  • It is slightly abrasive. It does the same job as a soap but it allows for a more abrasive scrub which is ideal for removing stains. 

 Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile, environmentally friendly and cheap alternative to a range of cleaning products.

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Make your own

I initially bought ecological cleaning products and then filled the bottles with my own concoctions since they are quite pricey. I like to keep it as simple as possible so I always use my judgment as a measuring cup.  Also feel free to add essential oils to any of the recipes.

Floor: Warm water with some Dr. Bronner. Essential oils and baking powder can also be added.

All-Purpose Spray for…well everything. :  Some Dr Bornner (around 1/4 cup), the same measure baking soda and a few more drops of an essential oil to strengthen it. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water.

Oven: Sprinkle all over the bottom of the oven, leave it for a few hours. Spray with your homemade spray on top and clean it off.

Windows: Combine in a spray bottle 2 cups of water, 2 tbsp of white vinegar, Optional: a few drops of lemon essential oil. 

Toilet: dump baking soda then white vinegar, leave it for a while, scrub, flush.

Dish Soap: A shot of Castille Soap, top up with water. 

Bug Killer: Heating baking soda produces Carbon dioxide which cuts out the oxygen as when ingested by, let’s say, cockroaches it builds up their bodies and causes their organ fail (sounds horrid)

 

 

 

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