Natural cleaning products are healthier for you AND the Earth.
Spring time gifts a fabulous flush of energy. For some of us, the first warm sunny day creates an irresistible desire to throw open the windows and clean out the cobwebs that may have overtaken the corners while we were hibernating. Mother nature’s party dress of bonny blossoms inspires us to invite beauty and fragrance in our own homes. A clean home nurtures creativity and cultivates a sense of ease, promoting relaxation and true enjoyment of our abode.
Unfortunately, most commercial household cleaning products contain lung, eye, and skin irritants. Some may even contain carcinogens, increasing cancer risks for ourselves and our pets. Others can damage landscaping and contaminate our streams and waterways, bringing harm to fish and wildlife.
In this article, we’ll explore two EASY to MAKE plant-sourced cleaning products YOU can easily create to use in your own home. These powerhouses of simplicity will leave your home spotless and your mind at ease. Each will leave your home smelling fresh AND they are crazy economical to create. Best of all, these plant-based cleaning products are safe for both children and pets, and will help reduce household harm to the environment.
1. Remove tough mildew and algae stains with this citrus powered all-purpose potion.
For tough jobs like mildew, algae or greasy grime, a potion with muscle is required. Many commercially available bathroom, kitchen and outdoor cleaning formulas contain bleach, which is harsh for the skin, toxic to eyes and damaging to the lungs when inhaled. Bleach can also cause staining of surfaces and clothing, and can damage plants around your home and deck.
White vinegar and citrus fruits possess a potent cleaning power in their natural acidity, and are food-grade and child and pet safe. Even better, the lemony scent leaves your kitchen, bathroom, or other project smelling fresh.
To create this sunny concoction, first find a clean new spray bottle, or recycle one you may already have. If reusing a bottle that contained a commercial product, make sure to soak it and wash well to remove any chemical residue from a previous occupant.
Are you ready? Here is your recipe for a safe, sparkling clean:
In the spray bottle, combine 1 1/2 cups white vinegar and one entire sliced lemon.
Two ingredients! THAT’s IT! Simple and yet AMAZINGLY effective!
The solution will work best if you allow it to marinate overnight. This enables the citrus juice to blend with the vinegar maximizing the cleaning power of these two potent natural cleansers. If you are in a hurry though, just shake well and spray away!!!
Check out this video to see the lemon-vinegar potion in action cleaning our algae covered deck box this spring!
2. Deep clean and freshen your carpet while protecting your indoor air quality (no dangerous VOC chemicals)
If like me, you are a pet lover, a parent, an outdoors enthusiast, a foodie, or just a beautiful human trying to make it through the week 😉 , I’m guessing you have your fair share of carpet catastrophes to address from time to time. Professional carpet cleaning is expensive, and often utilizes chemical processes that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment. As a person with respiratory sensitivity, I have to stay out of my home for almost a full day after commercial carpet cleaning, as the VOC’s (volitile organic compounds) released into the indoor air can trigger asthma attacks and lung irritation. Some migraine sufferers also can have their condition exacerbated by exposure to these chemicals. Those of us with more sensitive systems are canaries in the coal mine folks, and you can bet those chemicals are causing sub-clinical challenges to everyone in your household, even if symptoms aren’t obvious.
Now we love our Rosie-pup (pictured above), but between muddy paws and the occasional “Mom you left me home alone too long and I can’t cross my legs any longer” accidents, I have tried lots of different professional cleaning companies and commercial do-it-yourself carpet solutions. Unfortunately with each of them, lung irritation seemed inevitable. Necessity being the mother of invention, one day I tried a simple natural approach and it worked like a charm! Fresh, clean carpet and no lung, skin or eye irritation! YAY!
So here is the simple secret!
Vacuum your carpet’s first to remove any dry debris and dirt. Sprinkle the entire carpet with baking soda and allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Using your home carpet cleaning unit (works with both water-tank vacuum style or “spot bot”), instead of adding your traditional commercial cleaning fluid, fill the water reservoir to the full mark with 2/3 hot water and 1/3 white vinegar. Steam clean over the baking soda. The bristles of your carpet cleaner unit will mix the baking soda deeper into the carpet pile and will help with your deep clean. Allow carpet to dry, then vacuum again to remove any residual baking soda.
As with all carpet cleaning instructions, it is a good idea to spot test for color fastness before doing your whole carpet. As this method contains no bleaching agents, I believe it will be safe for most carpets that can be steam cleaned!
Fresh, clean, de-puppied carpet and healthy indoor air quality!!! Bonus!
Written by: Ann C. Collins, MD, RYT
Video and Photo credits: Ann C. Collins MD, RYT