It would be an understatement to say that I am a big advocate of using all nontoxic cleaners in your home! It really makes me sick to think about all of those years, when I was working so hard to create a “healthy” and “clean” environment for my family, I was actually replacing the dust, dirt, and grease with chemicals that have been proven to be harmful to your body and can be especially harmful to children. In this article “Kids and Toxic Chemicals” by Esther Entin, M.D., she states that “Exposing the developing central nervous system to toxins during this period of increased vulnerability and rapid growth can lead to permanent damage of brain structures and of nerve function.” And the “toxins” that she is referring to are not exactly hard to stumble across. And for those who are trying to opt for safer products, this task is made even more difficult with the “Green-washing” epidemic of falsely labeling toxic cleaners with slogans and phrases that are not regulated by the EPA, which can easily give well-meaning consumers a false sense of security.
Here are just a few of the All-Purpose “Cleaners” that, despite their “F” rating with the EWG, are commonly used on a daily basis in homes all around the country.
LYSOL Disinfectant Spray Crisp Linen
“Corrosive; May contain ingredients with potential for developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; respiratory effects; acute aquatic toxicity”
method All Purpose Surface Cleaner French Lavender
“Corrosive; May contain ingredients with potential for Government enforceable restrictions; respiratory effects; nervous system effects”
Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner Rainshower
“May contain ingredients with potential for cancer; respiratory effects; acute aquatic toxicity”
Windex Original Glass Wipes
“May contain ingredients with potential for developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; acute aquatic toxicity; respiratory effects”
I know this information can be overwhelming and all those cleaners you’ve accumulated over the years represent a lot of hard earned money so relax and focus on what you want your next step to be, and if it happens to be “changing out your all-purpose cleaner” keep reading…
Now, one thing to take into consideration if you decide to follow this recipe is that I use a pretty hefty amount of essential oils because at the time I was doing research on DIY Cleaners, I was also fighting a maddening invasion of Odorous House Ants in my kitchen and decided to take a “two birds one stone” approach which involved lots of peppermint oil to deter the ants from their seemingly endless quest to develop a homestead in and around my kitchen sink. And after I fell in love with the powerful, clean smell I decided to keep on “over-doing it” in the name of personal preference. That being said, feel free to experiment with other essential oils and different quantities according to your preference and needs, here are a few amazing essential oils that you may want to consider using:
Lemon Oil : Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, natural insecticide, supports positive mood and cognitive ability.
Tea Tree Oil : Antibacterial, antiviral, kills mold, and promotes mental clarity and immune function.
Rosemary Oil : Antibacterial, antiseptic, and can help alleviate stress, headaches and symptoms of depression.
Orange Oil : Great for fighting grease and can act as a natural antidepressant.
Lavender Oil : Antibacterial, anti-fungal, promotes healthy sleep and reduces symptoms of anxiety.
Peppermint Oil : Antibacterial, natural insecticide, and amazing for headache relief.
And without further ado, here’s what you’ll need to recreate my favorite DIY Nontoxic All-Purpose Cleaner…
1 c warm filtered water
1 c white vinegar
1 tbs Liquid Castile Soap
1 tbs Essential Oil
Directions: Combine all ingredients in spray bottle shake and let sit for about 5 minutes to give the Castile Soap time to dissolve completely into the mixture.
I have found that some people don’t love the vinegar smell right after using this cleaner but just know that as soon as the surface dries, the vinegar smell fades and you’re left with the wonderful, clean scent of your chosen essential oil blend.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, please comment if you discover any new variations that work well for you!