When I was pregnant, I went through my “nesting” phase big time. Suddenly the dust on the baseboards were glaringly obvious and every little mess drove me insane. This is pretty common and I had many friends share the same experience. However, during this cleaning madness, I was careful about what I used. After all, I was growing a child that would be exposed to whatever was absorbed through my skin or inhaled through my lungs. I couldn’t imagine bleach or ammonia based products being safe at all. Whether or not you’re pregnant, caring for small children, or even just trying to care for yourself, the junk in cleaning products is seriously nasty and scary.
And it’s not like there is just one chemical laden thing that’s used, there’s a bottle for everything: all-purpose cleaner, wood polish, toilet cleaner, bathroom and shower scrubs, cleanser for the sinks, drain cleaners, floor solutions, carpet cleaners, the list goes on. A top to bottom cleaning of the house? Hundreds of chemicals.
Some of these chemicals, sure, you’re getting minimal exposure to. But over time, certain toxins can build up in fat cells, just kind of hanging out. Why on earth would anyone want a carcinogenic chemical stored in their hips?
Because there are so many chemicals that make up a typical cleaning product, let’s just go through a few common ones:
Bleach: causes skin irritation, coughing, vomiting, fluid in the lungs, and death. Exposure over time causes failure of liver, kidney, and lungs.
Ammonia: Inhalation causes skin, eye, and lung irritation. Direct exposure can cause serious chemical burns.
Denatured ethanol: causes nausea, dizziness, blindness, and death
Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride: found in toilet bowl cleaners and has been found to kill fish and crustaceans. Toxic to the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and immune systems as well as to the skin and liver.
Even if I were to be VERY careful with these chemicals, wearing gloves and a mask, there is residue leftover on the surfaces. These are surfaces that are possibly touched by myself, my dogs, my husband, and my child. Yes, they are devoid of germs, but that in itself has devastating consequences. All of those “super bugs” that are resistant to antibiotics and medicine were created because of the overuse of both antibiotics and antibiotic cleaners. Besides, as long as the microbial count is under a certain amount, exposure to germs is good for our immune system. It’s like taking your immune system to the gym everyday, exposure to germs keeps it strong and on it’s toes!
After doing a ton of research, I found some effective yet natural and safe alternatives. I essentially only use distilled white vinegar, baking soda, Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, and BacOut. Sal Suds is an awesome all natural disinfecting detergent and BacOut is the best thing for getting rid of smells.
Mix half white vinegar (yes, it is a disinfectant) and half water in a spray bottle. Add some drops of a skin safe essential oil like lavender or tea tree for scent and added antimicrobial power. Can be used on pretty much anything: countertops, mirrors, shelves, sinks, etc.
Toilet Bowl Scrub:
Sprinkle baking soda in the bowl and scrub away with a brush. Pour in some vinegar and finish scrubbing.
Showers and tubs:
Use a baking soda paste (water and baking soda) to scrub soap scum and mildew. Wipe down with vinegar. To get rid of hard water buildup, let vinegar sit for 10 minutes first. I also use Sal Suds for a bit of extra power since we have very hard water that builds up quite fast.
Squirt a bit of Sal Suds in a bucket with mostly water (this stuff is reallllllyyyy concentrated) and mop away!
Smelly carpets and stains:
Let BacOut sit for about 10 minutes then vacuum or scrub up. We also use it in our carpet cleaner.
Pour a bit of BacOut into the disposal and let sit for 10 minutes. Put some ice in the drain and let the disposal run. It’s really loud but very effective. Chunks of lemon or lime work too.
For really clogged up drains I recommend getting one of those wire “snake” looking things too. It’s gag worthy gross but way safer than chemicals. For mild clogs pour baking soda into the drain followed by enough vinegar to cause a ton of fizzing.
Get your spring cleaning on for both your house and your body! Happy clean cleaning!