reducing chemicals in your home
More and more articles and research papers are coming to light linking environmental toxins to our health and wellbeing. When I talk to patients or followers on social media and bring up environmental toxins, it is assumed that these are toxins out of our control, like air pollution or water pollution. People are shocked when they learn that these toxins are actually chemicals we are exposed to everyday. What you breath in at home and work, put on your skin or in your body, have a far greater impact on your wellbeing and luckily are very easy to change. Household cleaning products contain chemicals considered to be some of these environmental toxins.
Swapping your products has a two fold consequence. Not only are they better for you and your family but also for the environment.
So what do you have to look out for when changing your cleaning products?
Honestly, this can be tricky. Go to your cupboard and look at your surface cleaner. What does it say regarding the ingredients? Not a lot I imagine. Cleaning products do not list their ingredients. One ingredient guaranteed however to be present would be phalates for its use in fragrance. This group of ingredients is linked to various health issues including, asthmas, migraine, allergies, and can even affect our mental health and far more severe pathologies.
Bleach is another common household cleaner which can do a fair amount of damage and that’s just the smell of the stuff! Bleach kills off most bacteria, good and bad. Recent research has linked overly sterile homes to the increase in allergies and weakening of our immune system. Once flushed down the drain and into nature, its effects can be seen on marine life and marine vegetation.
So how do you know what to change?
When looking for your products, look at the label. Many cleaner and environmentally conscious brands will list what they are free from such as bleach, petrochemicals and phosphates. They will also mention how biodegradable their product is, indicating the benefits for nature. A few brands I use and trust include Method, Dr Bronner and a small brand supplied by my local zero waste grocery store.
With a little extra time, making your own cleaning products is super easy, more cost effective and you can create your own ideal combination.
For those who are addicted to their favourite brand of window cleaner, shower spray or floor polish, I guarantee you, you will love making your own quality, effective items.
Follow me on social media for recipes and how to keep you home sparkling and clean using these safe, natural products.
Here are my top 6 essential ingredients to have in your home.
A mild whitening agent and disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide comes in handy all over the home.
Ideal for washing whites, cleaning tiles and stain remover. It can be used on its own or in combination with other ingredients for a general cleaner
Mixed with a few other ingredients, baking soda is the perfect stain and odour remover as well as giving the product a slight abrasive quality, similar to Cif.
It works wonders on de-blocking drains and great as a clothes softener!
As mentioned phalates cause a whole heap of trouble for our health but they are not required when you start using essential oils.
The aroma of our home can have a huge impact on our wellbeing. How do you remember your childhood home smelling?
Do you get reminded of your home, event or memory when you smell a certain perfume.
Working with essential oils can help with relaxation, rebalancing and creating a comforting space to come home to.
Neroli, my favourite oil is uplifting, lavender relaxing and ylang-ylang comforting. Not only do these oils offer multiple options for your home to smell clean and fresh, they also individually carry anti-bacterial properties.
Lavender, tea tree and peppermint all add a cleansing boost to your home made products.
Peppermint for example is a fantastic pest control option.
It can happen on occasions that people are sensitive to all aromas, including essential oils. Take time to find which ones work for you.
I should have made this number one as it is the perfect household cleaner. Yes, it does have a strong smell but this is very easily overcome with a few other ingredients to create you own personalized cleaning fragrance, all phalate free. It is also a fantastic anti-microbial. Acetic acid present in vinegar kills bacteria from the inside. It also makes the best window cleaner!
citrus fruit/citric acid
Citrus fruits contain citric acid, used in many cleaning products.
It adjusts the pH of the item, which makes it a fabulous anti-microbial cleaning agent.
In the home citric acid is perfect to use to remove soap build-up, lime scale in your kettle, hard water scale in your shower and added to vinegar and is a perfect degreaser.
I love soapnuts and was introduced to them as a hair wash. These little balls of magic can also be used all around the house. Resembling a small round date, soap nuts actually come from a tree and naturally produce a slight foaming agent when in contact with water. They are not the only soap-forming item gifted to us by Mother Nature, quinoa can also do the same.
Plants contain these chemicals, saponins as a defense mechanism so animals do not eat them.
Back in your home, these balls can be used in all areas around the house. Boil them down to make a mild liquid soap.
Use them in your washing machine to clean your clothes, adding essential oils for an extra boost, or as mentioned, to wash your hair.