With Australia’s stringent health regulations, it never crossed my mind that chemicals might not be disclosed to the public, until I recently read this article.
Some common consumer household cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful to human health when released in the air. What a scary thought, considering most of us are using these chemicals on a day-to-day basis!
The biggest culprit, according to this study is a thing called ‘terpenes’ which are most commonly found in fragranced chemicals. The reason for this being is that terpins reach with air to generate pollutants included formaldehyde and ultrafine partiles.
According to the study, even ‘Green’ labeled cleaning products have this harmful chemical in them, if they are fragranced. Take away lesson: if you can, avoid fragrance cleaning products!
Coconut Oil is the latest health trend, with coconut in everything.
But did you know you can use in in your cleaning as well? Coconut oil is a fantastic alternative to harmful chemical cleaners.
Heres’ what you can you use it for:
Coconut Oil can be used to clean hard to remove substances like crayon. Just dap some oil onto a cloth and rub away crayon. Remove oil with vinegar to rinse off.
Coconut oil can also be used to remove chewing gum from surfaces. Soak/ dab oil onto gum surface and leave for a few hours before removing.
Soak brushes in a cup of melted oil and then wipe residue off with a towel before allowing to dry.
Do you have any other useful cleaning hacks with coconut oil?
According to Choice.com, “⅓ of Australian bathroom cleaners sold in Australia contain bleach”.
After reading all the recent reports about how bleach has been found to cause a higher risk of infections, its a way smarter choice to use natural alternatives.
So if you, like me, are worries about the health effects of chemical cleaners, its time to DIY!
Natural Toilet Cleaner
● ½ cup baking soda
● 1 cup distilled white vinegar
● ½ teaspoon tea tree essential oil
Mix oil and vingar in a spray bottle, and spray onto the surface of the toilet. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before sprinking over baking soda and scrubbing with a toilet brush. Wipe away solution with a clean cloth, and flush toilet. Done, a sparkley white toilet bowl!
Vinegar is an awesome cleaner because it: disinfects, eliminates odors, and is non-toxic.
Sink Stain remover:
● Baking soda
● Lemon juice
Combine roughly equal parts of all ingredients to create a paste and spread onto sink. Leave for a few minutes and scrub to remove stains. Voila!
Mirror/ Glass Cleaner:
● 2 cups of water
● 2 tablespoons vinegar
● 10 drops essential oil of choice- I use lemon
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, and clean with a microfiber cloth, or newspaper. Streak-free, shiny glass the natural way!
Have you noticed most commercial cleaners in the market seem to have a lemon/citrus scent or smell?
There’s a reason for that, and it’s because lemon has strong disinfectant properties and has been used as a natural cleaner for years.
Instead of buying chemical cleaners with artificial lemon scent, why not use lemons themselves the old-school way.
Here’s some simple ways to clean with lemons:
- Cleaning copper. Dip a lemon in salt and clean spots off your copper
- Cleaning chopping boards: diluted lemon juice can be used to soak chopping boards, and remove food and stains.
- Kitchen Counters: Dip half a lemon in baking soda and wipe bench. Rinse with a wet sponge for a squeaky-clean counter top.
- Window Surface cleaner: Lemon juice and water mixed in a spray bottle is a perfect window cleaner
- Microwave cleaner: In a heat-proof bowl, combine 1 cup of water with 2 table spoons of lemon juice and heat in the microwave until boiling. Leave inside the microwave for 10 minutes and then wipe down food guck with a cloth and dry.
- Shower scum: Juice a lemon and pour it into a spray bottle and use to clean scum off your tiles (and naturally deodorize your bathroom)
- Jewelry: Place your silver in a bowl of lemon juice for half and hour to sanitize your jewelry.
- Mould: Mix lemon juice and salt to form a paste that can be used to scrub away mold and mildew naturally
- Linen: Adding a teaspoon of lemon juice in your normal washing load can make your linen smell super fresh
- Fridge deodorizer: Half a cut lemon in the fridge acts as a natural deodorizer and can be changed weekly for effectiveness.
Hope you are inspired to clean with lemons!
It’s pretty gross to open the fridge and smell the overwhelming stench of old take-away or rotten fruit hiding in the corner of a drawer somewhere.
It can turn you off from eating what you went looking for in the first place (which could be a good diet hack ha!)
I’ve found a way to naturally deodorize your fridge in a super-easy method with one secret ingredient…
Coffee is know to effectively absorb smells. All you have you do is spread ground coffee beans onto a plate and leave in the fridge for a day, and the smells should disappear.
Tell me readers, any other hacks for de-smellifying your fridge?
The weather is starting to warm up again and that means mould.
Mould and mildew from the summer are unavoidable in a lot of households. Using bleach to remove mould can be harmful to your health and the environment. These natural alternatives are non-toxic and use ingredients that can be easily bought from most supermarkets at a low cost.
Vinegar is also an effective mould killer.
Spraying Vinegar onto mould, and leaving for a few hours before scrubbing away will kill mould and remove it.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used. Spray onto the effected area, leave for 10 minutes and scrub away mould.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil is very effective in removing mould. Tea tree can be expensive, however a small bottle can last a long time and make a large amount of anti-mould spray when diluted.
Mix 2 teaspoons of tea-tree oil with 2 cups of water. Mix together in a spray bottle and spray onto affected area before wiping away.
It’s really convenient to have a few really great resources at your disposal at home that are easy to grab and look up a natural cleaning method when required.
I’ve found the following books to be an awesome help, and they all have great tips on natural living.
Naturally Clean Home
This book has HEAPS of great recipes, and most are made from ingredients you can find in your cupboard.
There are a few extreme-green tips like not using deodorant (ewy), but mostly it is a great resource for reasoning why you should get rid of/stop buying supermarket detergents, and start making your own!
DIY Natural Household Cleaners: How To Make Your Own Cleaners Naturally.
This is a short, but useful read with great tips. Also a great online resource.
Toxic Free: How to Protect Your Health and Home from the Chemicals that are making you Sick
This book is by the New York Times ‘Queen of Green’ and is a great read on the toxic elements in everyday products. It breaks down toxins in plain language and is a very interesting resource.
Let me know if you have any go-to green-cleaning books you love.
Is your cleaning cupboard filled with a million different cleaners with a million different purposes?
This magic recipe is for an all-purpose cleaner you can use to replace most of the bottles in your cleaning cupboard, and of course, it it all natural and nontoxic, cheap and super easy to make!
1 Cup distilled vinegar
3 Cups Water
10 drops of essential oil
Simply put all ingredients into a bottle and mix up
This spray can be use to clean everything from mirror’s, surface benches, tiles…
With baked-on Grime, ovens are usually one of the hardest things to clean in households (and gross).
Often oven cleaners are filled with chemicals and are toxic. The fumes are the most dangerous part of oven self-cleaners, when breathed, they can have terrible effects.
I’ve found a natural alternative method that is super cheap and non-toxic. It does however, require a lot of elbow grease. When I tried this method at home it took be about an hour to scrub the oven clean, but not using toxic chemicals makes it worth it.
Give it a try next time the oven needs a clean:
A spray bottle
- Remove everything from inside the oven (metal racks etc)
- Spray the entire oven thoroughly with water
- Sprinkle baking soda all over oven. Use rubber gloves to apply to sides of oven. Make sure you sprinkle a think layer especially on the bottom of the oven where there is usually baked on black grime
- Leave overnight
- In the morning, simply wipe away all baking soda with a damp cloth
- Spray residue soda with vinegar, leave it to react and bubble and wipe away excess
And its easy as that. A naturally clean sparkly oven with no toxic chemicals!
Disposing harmful household chemicals down the drain, or in the bin is harmful to the environment, not to mention our health!
The best way to dispose of chemicals in NSW is at a CleanOut event, hosted by the government.
These events happen throughout the year, and for more information on a CleanOut event near you, visit this link.
These are the kinds of chemicals you can take to a CleanOut event:
- Solvents and household cleaners
- Floor care products
- Ammonia-based cleaners
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Pool chemicals
- Hobby chemicals
- Acids and alkalis
For other parts of Australia, check out the following sites: