Spring is here! There are loads of people who utilize spring as a time to ‘reset’ and shake off the winter sludge with a dietary detox or cleanse. Spring cleaning season is also here, and you may be finally seeing the extent that the dust has accumulated on the blinds now that the sun is shining. While seasonal detoxes can be a great mental reset, if toxins are a concern it is of primary importance not to cleanse your diet for X days, but to first minimize exposure to harmful chemicals every day. I encourage you to go through your cupboards and garage this spring and get rid of harmful pesticides, herbicides, and heavy-duty cleaners which have warning labels on them. While you can pick up some non-toxic cleaners at the store, some of these still contain questionable ingredients and all of them are far more expensive than the DIY recipes I have here that work just as well. Give these a try and let me know what you think!
DIY everyday cleaner – I have a couple bottles of this in the house in various places. Some essential oils have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties; these are the ones I like to use in this cleaner.
- 1 cup white vinegar (If your countertops are made from marble, granite, or stone, use rubbing alcohol or cheap vodka instead of vinegar (its acidity can harm these surfaces).
- 1 cup distilled water
- 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oils (lemon, tea tree, orange, pine, and clove all have great antibacterial action). Alternatively, add the peel from 1-2 citrus fruits instead!
Mix all in a spray bottle and use when needed.
Use Lemon and Salt to Clean Wooden Cutting Boards & Surfaces
Photo via The Kitchn
Clean butcher blocks and wooden cutting boards with lemon and salt! Sprinkle the wooden surface with coarse salt and then scour it well using a lemon that has been cut in half. Squeeze it slightly as you scrub to release the lemon juice. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, scrape it off and then give it a final rinse with a clean, wet sponge.
Clean Your Baking Sheets with Baking Soda & Vinegar
Photo via Bon Appetit
Any baking sheet that gets used often will end up with black, caked-on residue. I used to think I needed a pressure washer to get it looking new again, but not quite! An easier solution is to mix 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup baking soda. Put the baking sheet in a plugged sink, and cover it with the baking soda and water, letting it sit for 30 minutes to an hour before scrubbing that black tar off with a scouring pad.
Shower Cleaner – 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 5-10 drops of lemon, pine, or lavender essential oils. Spray on tile and let sit for several minutes before wiping away.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Kristin Marr at Live Simply has a great toilet bowl cleaner that utilizes baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The baking soda adds a little bit of grit and the peroxide disinfects *and* reacts with the making soda to foam up the bowl a bit. Take her advice and keep the two separated until they are to be used. Here’s the recipe:
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap
- 15-30 drops lavender essential oil or grapefruit, tea tree, lemon, orange, or whatever you like!
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Using a small funnel, add the liquid ingredients: water and castile soap to a squirt container or bottle. Then, add the baking soda. Shake to combine the ingredients, except the hydrogen peroxide.
Place the top on the bottle (make sure the squirt top is closed!). Shake the bottle vigorously until the ingredients are combined.
To Use: Squirt the interior sides of the toilet bowl with cleaner. Spray hydrogen peroxide over the cleaner. Allow both to rest for 5-15 minutes, then scrub the toilet bowl with a cleaner brush. Store the cleaner (sans peroxide) at room temperature and vigorously shake before using. Separation of the ingredients is normal. You may wish to store the peroxide in a spray bottle next to the bowl cleaner. Alternatively, it can be omitted, but it will then not have as strong as a disinfectant effect. Read more here.
Mildew killer – spray vinegar directly onto the affected area. Let sit for 30 min, then rinse away with warm water, scrubbing if needed.
DIY Window Cleaner – This is originally from Crunchy Betty, but nabbed from WholeNewMom.com.
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (the cornstarch reduces streaking)
- 2 cups water
- 8-10 drops essential oil of choice (optional)
To use: Combine everything in a spray bottle and shake well to mix. Spray onto glass surface and wipe clean with newspaper.
For more recipes I strongly recommend the book Clean House, Clean Planet! It’s a timeless publication that covers all areas of the home. If you want something a little more current that includes such 21st century items as foaming hand soap and dishwasher pellets, check out The Organically Clean Home: 150 Everyday Organic Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself–The Natural, Chemical-Free Way
These cleaners will leave your home smelling fresh and your surfaces shining! In my next post I’ll share some other tips to keep toxin exposure low inside your home.