Holistic Home Cleaning means using products and methods that are kind and safe to you and your environment. In other words, cleaning mindfully.
Switching to cleaning your home safely works best when done gradually. I'm going to show you a few natural and healthy ideas you can use straight away!
Let's take a look at just some of the toxic ingredients that are in many of the cleaning and personal products that we all use.
Holistic Home Cleaning does not include these!
You can check these against products you have in your home now.
Ammonia: Eye and lung irritant, dangerous and poisonous when mixed with bleach.
Formaldehyde: Intense irritant and suspected carcinogen.
Hyrochloric Acid: Can burn skin and is a severe digestive irritant if swallowed. Subtle and dangerous.
Sodium Hyroxide (Lye): Poisonous and corrosive, fatal if swallowed.
Paradichlorobenzenes: Highly irritating to mucous membranes, very toxic.
Butyl Cellosolve: Easily absorbed by the skin, and can cause harm to your liver, kidneys and nervous system.
Ethanol: An alcohol, extremely flammable, and if ingested can cause severe digestive upset, nausea, vomiting and even death.
Paraben: I am just going to throw this ingredient in, because I'm concerned about it's presence in just about every anti-perspirant and skin moisturising lotion you pick up. It may have the word propyl, methyl, ethyl or butyl before it. It has not been proven to cause cancer, but has been found by researchers in the U.K. in every sample of breast tumours they tested. Do your research - be aware.
These are the essential products to have in your Holistic Home Cleaning cupboard. Cheap, natural and easy to buy!
Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor and decant into a small, sterilised bottle. Ideally, keep in the fridge. Shake well before use, massage into your face and remove with a warm muslin cloth. Divine!
Adapted from a recipe in the The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book
Wet your sink or tub, sprinkle on baking soda and scrub! For tougher areas, you can also make up a paste with vinegar, spread it on, leave it to sit for 15-20 minutes, and wipe off. This mixture is brilliant for removing soap scum and grime, but please check first that your surface can handle these ingredients.
Baking soda again! Simply open a box and place at the back of your refrigerator. It absorbs all odours naturally and easily. Why not try mixing a few drops of orange oil into the box as well? Activated charcoal is another natural refrigerator freshener.
Take 1 teaspoon lavender essential oil, 8-10 drops rosewood, geranium or peppermint essential oil, 20 oz. pure distilled water and 2 oz. vodka. Pour all the ingredients into a mister bottle and shake very well before each use. This can be sprayed onto linens before ironing or just to freshen them up. Lovely! PLEASE NOTE: Essential oils must be used with extreme caution. With children, expectant and/or breastfeeding mums, and anyone suffering from ill health, please consult a reputable source to check contra-indications. NEVER ingest essential oils and NEVER apply undiluted to skin.
All you need for this is warm water and white vinegar (about ½ cup to a medium bucket). If your windows are particularly grimy, a dash of liquid soap will give this recipe extra cleaning power. Use a sponge to wash the window with the water solution, a squeegee to wipe it off, and a clean, soft, dry towel to polish it off. Sparkling!
Mix together ½ cup olive oil to ¼ cup lemon juice. I like to add a couple of drops of lavender oil to this mix – smells amazing! Rub in a small amount to the wood surface and then wipe clean with a soft dry cloth. Lovely shine with a hint of lavender!
Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. To give it extra cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use in a spray bottle.
Essential oils - so simple and they smell 100% better than any artificial fragrance.
Purchase an essential oils burner (easily and cheaply available at most good health food shops), add water to the bowl and create your own personalised fragrance! Play around with your favourite essential oils to get the combination to please you. Generally, 5 to 6 drops are added to the water reservoir of most oil burners.
Here are some of my favourites:
Another fragrance to try is natural, undiluted, pure vanilla essence. This can be a little more expensive, but is definitely worth it! Try putting a few drops in a small bowl of water and leaving in the room - a delightful scent. Remember to refresh every couple of days.
Pour approximately ½ cup of baking soda into your drain, followed by a generous cup of white vinegar. This will start fizzing and popping (the best part!), cleaning away any moderate grease or dirt blockages in your drain. Cover with a stopper for a few minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain for a final clean. Great maintenance recipe!
Back to white vinegar and soap. Lots of warm water in your bucket, a small dash of liquid soap (too much will leave a residue on your floor), 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract, about ½ cup of white vinegar and a few drops of essential oil – why not try cedarwood for a really clean smell.
Add 200 ml of lemon juice to the rinse cycle in your washing machine when doing a load of whites and see them brighten up - naturally!
Not strictly a holistic home cleaning recipe, but one I wanted to share with you anyway! Not many people know this secret! After having your bath or shower (but definitely not after shaving!) rub the cut side of a lemon on your underarms and leave to dry. This will keep you odour free until your next shower! Completely natural and safe, it's a great alternative to a chemical based deodorant. As it isn't an antiperspirant, you will still perspire a little. Chemicals or no chemicals – it's your choice.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to take a small step towards Holistic Home Cleaning.
It's not an easy step – but it is one that our future generations will thank us for for.