Cold & flu season is here, and while it seems super tempting to grab the nearest bottle of lysol or Clorox, those toxic cleaners can do more harm than good.
Toxic, commercial cleaners contain items that fall into 3 categories:
1. Carcinogens – Cancer rates are skyrocketing…more than 1/3 of people will develop cancer in our lifetime. Many cancers are due to avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens in the food we eat, cosmetics, and beauty products we use, and household products we buy.
2. Neurotoxins – Neurotoxins are substances that are poisonous or destructive to nerve tissue. Although the substances in commercial cleaners are not used in large quantities, over time, there is room for toxicity build up.
A 2011 study published in Environmental Impact Assessment Review, “Fragranced Consumer Products: Chemicals Emitted, Ingredients Unlisted,” analyzed 25 scented household products, including laundry and dish detergents, fabric softeners, cleaners, soaps, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, lotions, deodorants and shampoos. The researchers found that the products emitted more than 130 different volatile organic compounds. Of these, “24 are classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws, and each product emitted at least 1 of these compounds.” (Src)
3. Endocrine disruptors – these disruptors mimic your human hormones, which leads to false signals in the body that can lead to infertility, early puberty, menstrual problems and miscarriage and even cancer.
A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, and other pesticides, “ – DDTSrc)
If you check out the Environmental Working Guide (EWG) to Healthy Cleaning, you can search more than $2,500 products for their current rating and status.
Thankfully, naturally alternatives can do the trick – and assuming that you are in great health, natural cleaners are a wonderful choice. The two most popular items in our home or cleaning are vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
Organic Distilled White Vinegar can kill up to 80% of germs.
Hydrogen Peroxide is water with an extra oxygen molecule. It breaks down into Oxygen and water and is environmentally friendly. You can pick it up at any drugstore or grocery store diluted to a 3% concentration – and you always want to try to keep it out of direct sunlight.
I’ve used a mixture of Vinegar and Water or, Hydrogen Peroxide and Water along with some essential oils for quite a long time now (years…) – and quite honestly, it’s much cheaper than the cleaners in store. More versatile, and better for our skin and respiratory system, too.
One of the best homemade cleaners can be thrown together with some of your citrus peels that accumulate – especially if your kids eat oranges frequently like ours do.
In fact, you can whip up this cleaner with any type of citrus peel – lemon, orange, or grapefruit… even lime. It smells amazing, and is just another alternative to putting them down the garbage disposal.
DIY Citrus Cleaner
- 2 quart mason jar (find at your local thrift or here on Amazon)
- A 16 oz glass spray bottle (we use these here)
- organic distilled white vinegar
- citrus peels (any combination)
- 10 drops Lemon essential oil
Fill your glass mason jar half full of citrus peels – pack them in! Fill the jar up to the top with white vinegar, and tightly cover.
Give it a shake then place it behind your sink (might want to remember what day you set it there too). Every day, give it a shake – whether it be in the morning, afternoon or before you go to bed.
Allow the vinegar and peels to steep for a week or two (the longer the more potent it will be).
After that time has passed, remove the peels from the mixture, use a strainer to strain out the liquid and then combine one part citrus vinegar to one part water and place in your glass spray bottle.
I love adding a little extra citrus boost to my cleaner, so I add 10 drops of Lemon Essential Oil – you can also add Tea Tree Essential Oil if you wish, too.
*Disclosure: A glass spray bottle should be used if you are using any type of citrus essential oil. If you forego the essential oil(s), then you can safely use plastic bottles to make this cleaner.