Whether you love to clean, or hate it… you’ve got to admit, there’s something innately satisfying about a sparkling clean home. But scrubbing away dirt and grime and erradicating bacteria could come with a price of its own, depending on the cleaning products you’re using.
The Warning Label
Conventional cleaning products — think: your standard glass cleaner, bleach, disinfectant, toilet cleaner, and shower foam (to name just a few) — are not only harmful when we come in direct contact with them, there could be lasting repercussions, even after they’ve been wiped and rinsed away. The first warning signs are right there on the label if you look closely enough: “flammable,” “keep out of reach of children,” “harmful to humans and animals,” “use in a well-ventilated area.”
When you think about it, how backwards is it to have a warning label on a product meant to keep us, and the environment we live in, healthy? While, yes, we all want to live in a clean and bacteria-free home, is it worth putting your life on the line? That may sound extreme, but just look at some of the side effects of the most popular cleaning ingredients.
Bleach: Can irritate eyes, skin and lungs. May cause long-term respiratory issues.
Ammonia: Fatal if swallowed. Could cause blindness (and mixing ammonia and bleach can result in toxic chloramine vapor).
Propylene Glycol: Can damage kidneys, lungs, heart, and nervous system
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Can irritate skin.
And those are just the dangers to the people who use them. Even if you wear gloves and a mask while you clean, lingering VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) can saturate the air to be breathed in by family members and pets, while remnants of the cleaners are washed down the drain to enter the surrounding environment.
It’s pretty scary stuff, but you can’t not clean, right? So what to do?
The (Greener) Solution
The answer is surprisingly easy and even more so, surprisingly cheap: Make your own cleaning products! Believe it or not, many organic ingredients are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial (looking at you, tea tree oil, vinegar, and lavender essential oil!), and combined with whitening and scouring greats like baking soda, make staying clean and staying healthy go hand in hand (like they should). The four DIYs below come together in minutes and use many of the same ingredients, not only are they free and clear of the harsh and harmful chemicals of traditional cleaners, the entire fleet will set you back less than ten bucks.
Paired with reusable, super absorbent bamboo cleaning cloths, you’ll be saving the planet while minding your health all at once. Ready to get clean?
1 part white vinegar
1 part water
Combine vinegar and water together in a reusable or – better yet – recycled spray bottle. Shake to combine. Use to clean counter tops and other surfaces.
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp rubbing alcohol (vodka works, too)
Combine vinegar, water and alcohol together in a reusable spray bottle. Shake to combine. To use, spray windows, glass or mirror surfaces with solution, then wipe with the newspaper until dry and streak-free.
½ cup baking soda
5 drops tea tree oil
This one’s an on-the-spot combination. First, pour the baking soda into the toilet bowl, followed by the tea tree oil. Use a toilet scrubber to scrub that baby clean. For extra scouring power, add ¼ cup vinegar and watch it fizz.
½ cup baking soda
10 drops essential oil of choice (lavender and citrus scents work well)
Small ball jar or recycled jar with lid
Awl or nail and hammer
Use the awl or a nail with a hammer to carefully poke holes in the lid of the jar. Set aside. Pour the baking soda in the jar, followed by 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Add the lid and place anywhere that needs a little freshening up!
Do you make your own cleaning products? Share your DIYs with us on Instagram or Facebook with @AvocadoMattress or #AvocadoGreenMagazine
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