BY Laura Newcomer
MARCH 16, 2014
Spring is finally here (please?), and that means it’s time for lolling in the grass, tossin’ the disc, barbecuing with friends, and scouring your living space from top to bottom.
While it might be tempting to spray your whole place with bleach (that makes things “clean,” right?), a lot of common household cleaning products are actually pretty toxic to our health. Luckily, there are alternative ways to keep things fresh and sanitary. Read on for the low-down on cleaning every area of the home, DIY style.
So Fresh and So Clean — Meet the Star Players
Before we get to the cleaning, let’s check out some of the most common (and most useful) non-toxic cleaning products.
Baking soda is a pantry staple with proven virus-killing abilities that also effectively cleans, deodorizes, brightens, and cuts through grease and grime .
Castile soap is a style of soap that’s made from 100 percent plant oils (meaning it uses no animal products or chemical detergents). Popularized by the Dr. Bronner’s line of products, castile cuts through grease and cleans.
Thanks to its acidity, vinegar is nothing short of a cleaning wunderkind — it effectively (and gently!) eliminates grease, soap scum, and grime.
Natural lemon juice annihilates mildew and mold, cuts through grease, and shines hard surfaces (It also smells awesome.).
This good-for-you cooking oil also works as a cleaner andpolisher.
Essential oils have gained popularity thanks to aromatherapy, but these naturally occurring plant compounds also make great scent additions to homemade cleaning products (particularly if you’re not into the smell of vinegar). Essential oils are generally considered safe, but these extracts can trigger allergies — so keep this in mind when choosing scents.
Many DIY cleaners tout Borax (a boron mineral and salt) as a non-toxic alternative to mainstream cleaning products; however, the issue is pretty hotly debated. Some researchsuggests Borax can act as a skin and eye irritant and that it disrupts hormones. For this list, we’ve chosen to avoid products that use Borax.
A note on mixing products: Most of these ingredients can be used in combination with each other; however, many sources advise against mixing castile soap with vinegar or lemon juice. Since castile soap is basic (i.e., high on the pH scale) and vinegar and lemons are acidic, the products basically cancel each other out when used in combination (though it’s fine to wash with a base — like castile soap — and rinse with an acid — like vinegar!).
Follow us next week for non-toxic recipes for every room in your home...