Did you know that the chemicals in some detergents and cleaning products may trigger ailments like asthma and eczema, while others may cause decreased fertility, miscarriages, premature births and cancers of the reproductive organs? These toxins are not only harmful to your health, they are equally damaging to the eco-system. However, if you are feeling crafty, you can whip up some of these create-your-own, eco-friendly cleaners from Women's Voices for the Earth, an environmental group based in Missoula, Montana. All ingredients can be found online, at your supermarket, or at a natural food store.
EASY ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER
For a solution that will wipe up messy spots, mix two cups of white vinegar with equal parts water (plus a little essential oil, like tea tree, rosemary or lavender, to add a fragrance, if you want one). To boost its cleaning power, warm it in the microwave in a glass container.
CREAMY SOFT SCRUB
Do your bathroom or kitchen tiles need a good scrubbing? Mix two cups baking soda, 1/2-cup liquid castile soap, four teaspoons vegetable glycerin, and five drops of an antibacterial essential oil, such as cinnamon bark, lemongrass and thyme oils, for fragrance. Then, tackle those tiles! And once you are done, you can store the scrub in a glass jar for two years.
Shine up your favorite furniture by wiping it down with a mix of 1/4-cup olive oil with four tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 20 to 30 drops of lemon essential oil. Don't have the latter? Swap it for two teaspoons of lemon juice and store the polish in the fridge after you have cleaned, to keep it fresh.
This detergent gets your clothes clean without the extra chemicals. First, make soap flakes by grating a pure vegetable soap bar with a cheese grater. Then, mix one cup of the flakes with 1/2-cup of washing soda (found in the laundry aisle) and 1/2-cup of borax, a powder or crystalline salt water softener and disinfectant. Use one to two tablespoons of the detergent per load of laundry.
Who knew vinegar works wonders on clogged drains, too? Pour 1/2-cup of baking soda into the drain, and then follow that with a cup of vinegar. After about 30 minutes, flush the train with boiling water.
Want more ideas for leading a green, clean life? Check out these links:
Five ways to dress your nest green
10 eco-friendly ways to green your home and family
Eco-friendly kitchen cleaning supplies