There’s only one drawback to homemade cleaners: the time needed to make them. Actually, the alchemist in you might not even mind the 5 minutes it takes to mix an ancient cleaning concoction!
In honour of the first day of Spring this Friday, here are just a few reasons to get rid of your old cleaners (take them to a hazardous household depot near you) and whip up your own:
- They’re safe enough to eat or drink (almost). Baking soda, vinegar, salt and lemons are just a few natural ingredients found in homemade cleaning recipes. (Check out this post for a list of ingredients & formulas, and this post for some tips on using natural but toxic ingredients for really tough jobs.)
- It’s an easy way to reduce toxins found in the home. Although you probably wouldn’t ingest any cleaner, the natural ingredients mean they’re chemical free! Chucking old commercial cleaners make kid-safe homes and is a huge part of healthy living. (Here are some disturbing facts about the toxicity of synthetic cleaners.)
- It’s fun! Come on, everyone has a little scientist in them just waiting to see a volcano explode! (Note for those who don’t know: baking soda and vinegar are the are the active agents in the erupting volcano experiment.)
- They’re just as good as modern cleaners. Most of today’s synthetic cleaners are tricked out versions based on formulas passed down through generations… because they worked! For instance, sodium bi-carbonate (baking soda) neutralizes acids, deodorizes, can be used as an anti-fungal for dandruff and an alternative shampoo, and is the most effective natural cleaner to remove pesticides from vegetables (source: wikipedia). Vinegar is another natural deodorizer. It’s acidic and removes mineral deposits, grease from glass and makes a good herbicide (source: wikipedia). Natural oils are also used for their anti-fungal qualities (like tea tree oil) or for natural scent (like lavender).
- Save the good germs, kill the bad! If we needed to disinfect 100% of all germs in our lives, our ancestors would not have survived and we wouldn’t be here on Live Lighter right now learning about the power of Nature. There’s speculation that it’s been the ‘no germ’ mentality that has caused a great many illnesses today, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. As we used to say as kids, “A little dirt never hurt.”
- Help Save the Earth. Since they’re safe enough for us to ingest, homemade cleaners are also biodegradable. Mother Earth will also be thanking us for reusing plastic spray bottles, reducing the amount of energy needed to recycle and avoiding all together synthetic products with non-recyclable packaging.
- They’re cheap! Ounce for ounce, homemade cleaners cost easily one-tenth the price for commercial products (source: mrscleannw.com).
Hopefully these 6 points are enough to at least peak your curiosity. If you’d like to try it, there are a ton of recipes online. Besides the links above, here are a couple more good sites to investigate:
- How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
- Homemade Cleaning Products from ConsumerReports.org
- Clean & Green
- Natural Cleaning Recipes
Can you think of any more drawbacks or benefits of natural, homemade cleaners? Or any unusual, old family cleaning recipes to share?