Cleaning Solutions for a Healthier Home
By Shelly Ballestero
We are living in a chemical soup, from our environment right down to the safe haven of our homes. Since World War II, more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals have been introduced to our society and 40 million tons are manufactured worldwide; said differently, some of these chemicals are in our food supply, skin care, cleaning products, and lawn care, affecting our health and our planet.
Have you ever wondered why your skin gets irritated after using certain cleaning products, or why your throat is a little sore or you get nasal burning sensations? Chemicals trigger inflammatory responses, which we recognize as heat, swelling, and redness. This occurs when your immune system is under attack -- in the tissues of your face, in your arteries, and in your vital organs. The more poisons we are exposed to, the more inflamed our bodies become.
So, what do we do? Sit around and get scared, or make changes?
In order to be healthy and have beautiful looking skin, begin by making some small changes. Let’s first start by editing your cleaning supplies. You don’t have to throw away everything. There are some great cleaners out there that are good for the environment… and you!
Some of my favorite products to choose from are Seventh Generation, Bi-o-Kleen, Aubrey Organics, Naturcare, Ecover, Dr. Bronner’s, Naturally Yours, Earthrite, BIOFA (natural paint products), Earth Friendly, and AFM (safer building and maintenance products). They can be found online or at health food stores, and now some large supermarket chain stores have them in stock.
Natural products are better, but if you must use chain store cleaners, here are some you are familiar with that are voted safer than their competitors:
- All purpose cleaner: Mr. Clean Lemon Fresh; Ajax All Purpose Liquid Cleaner Lemon Fresh.
- Air Fresheners: Citrus Magic; Airwick Stick Ups.
- Bathroom Cleaners: Ajax All Purpose Liquid Cleaner Lemon Fresh; Fantastik wipes; Spic and Span Pine floor cleaner.
- Bleaches: Clorox 2, Vivid Color Safe Bleach (Naturally Yours Natural Bleach and Softener would be best.)
- Carpet Cleaners: O’Cedar Carpet Science Spot & Stain Remover; Airwick Carpet Fresh (all).
- Cleansers: Mr. Clean Soft Cleanser
- Dishwashing Liquid: Ivory; Palmolive (no dyes)
- Automatic: Shaklee Basic D; Sunlight Powder Dishwashing Detergent.
- Floor Cleaner: Brite, Step-Saver.
- Furniture Polish: Old English Wood Soap; Wood Plus Furniture Polish & Cleaner
- Glass Cleaner: 409 Glass and Surface Cleaner; Mr. Clean Glass and Surface Spray Cleaner.
- Laundry Detergent: All Free and Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent: Ivory Soap Granules.
- Fabric Softener: Arm & Hammer; Bounce Unscented; Shaklee Softer than Soft Fabric Conditioner.
- Stain remover: Shout Liquid; Spray ‘n Wash Stain Stick
- Oven Cleaner: Easy-Off Fume Free Oven Cleaner (pump)
- Toilet Bowel Cleaner: Vanish Solid Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Now let’s combat the chemical war with natural cleansers. Here are my home sweet home-made cleaning recipes:
All-Purpose Household Cleaner
What you will need:
Liquid Soap (Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap)
White distilled vinegar
16-oz trigger spray bottle
Mix 2 tbsp. of vinegar with 1 tsp. Borax. Fill rest of bottle with very hot water. Shake well. Add ¼ cup of liquid soap. Add 10 -15 drops of lemon oil or bergamot.
Dish Wash Blend
Fill a 22-oz bottle with castile soap. Add 15 drops of lemon oil, 6 drops of lavender oil, and 6 drops of Bergamot oil.
Natural Soft Scrub
What you will need:
½ cup baking soda
½ cup liquid soap
5 - 10 drops pure antiseptic essential oil (lavender, tea tree, or rosemary)
Place the baking soda in a bowl. Slowly pour in liquid soap, stirring constantly until frosting-like. Add oil.
Combine 2 tsp. of Borax, 4 tbsp. of distilled white vinegar, 4 cups of very hot water, and ¼ tsp. of liquid soap. Add a few drops of tea tree oil.
Get a fresh lemon or lime and baking soda. Wet the stain and pour on the baking soda. Squeeze lemon juice over the stain. Let it set for a few hours. Finish by rubbing off remainder with a sponge.
Get an 8-oz spray bottle. Fill halfway with vinegar and then add water to fill rest of bottle. Add some lemon oil to the mixture.
Fill an 8-oz squirt bottle with ¾ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of white vinegar, and ¾ tsp. of lemon oil or food-grade lemon extract. Shake and start dusting.
Fill a bucket with hot water. Add Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap and a drop of vinegar. This solution works great on your floors.
Combine baking soda, corn starch (equal parts), and 10 drops of lavender oil into a shaker container (use a clean Kraft cheese container). Sprinkle on carpet. Let it set for an hour and then vacuum.
Other Cleaning Ideas
Peroxide 3% or lemon juice and sunlight makes a great natural bleach. Club Soda is a great emergency spotter for spills on carpet and clothes.
Plants: Nature’s Air Purifiers
Are you ready to grow some fresh air in your house? After all that cleaning, it’s time to remove toxins in the air by purchasing some plants. A Boston fern helps to remove air pollutants, especially formaldehyde, and adds humidity to the indoor environment. The Ficus Alii is a large plant that also helps to purify the air and remove chemical vapors. A corn plant prefers bright light but can live in semi-shade. It is an excellent house plant to help remove formaldehyde.
Plants should be placed every 100 yards to do the job of eliminating toxic vapors in your home.
Other Air Purifiers
To further enhance the quality of the air, my family purchased an air purifier by Shaklee, aromatherapy diffuser, soy candles with essential oils (not synthetic fragrance), Salt lamps(health food store), and a Rainbow Home Cleaning System vacuum(uses water instead of bags). Other hydro vacuums that are less expensive to consider are Thane’s H20 Vac and Frontgate’s Water Filtration Hydro Vacuum.
By the process of eliminating chemicals, we can create the safe-haven home we deserve. The more educated we are the better our choices.
God gave us all these wonderful resources to live the best we can, and, in turn, we should take care of His beautiful creations— including ourselves, His masterpieces!
The Safe Shopper’s Bible, David Steinman & Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Clean House, Clean Planet, Karen Logan
How to Grow Fresh Air, Dr. B.C. Wolverton
Shelly Ballestero is a licensed esthetician, make-up artist, beauty editor of Lifestyle Magazine, and author.
Shelly has studied under Emmy Award winner Eve Pearl, head make-up artist for ABC's The View. In addition, Shelly is one of the make-up experts for Jane Iredale cosmetics and participates in the International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa conference. Shelly and her husband, Angelo, a worship pastor, live in Windermere, Florida, with their two children.
(Photo of Shelly courtesy of Katie Meehan, www.phfocus.com.)
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