Spring is in the air. It’s that time of year when we pull out our summer clothes, open our windows, spend time outside in the fresh air and give our homes a good spring cleaning. It’s also a great time to clean and freshen your home but did you know that the chemicals found in most cleaning products are very toxic and have been linked to asthma, other respiratory issues, cancer and more?
According to the EPA, indoor air pollution may actually be greater than outdoor pollution.
“In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.
In addition, people who may be exposed to indoor air pollutants for the longest periods of time are often those most susceptible to the effects of indoor air pollution. Such groups include the young, the elderly and the chronically ill, especially those suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular disease.
While pollutants commonly found in indoor air can cause many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants.
Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings and products like air fresheners, can release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities like smoking, cleaning, redecorating or doing hobbies release pollutants intermittently.”
Toxic compounds found in products around our homes are off gassing toxins even when they aren’t being used. No one wants that!
Making Spring Cleaning Safe
We cannot avoid every single source of indoor pollution but there are things you can do to avoid many indoor toxins. Make spring cleaning safe by replacing your old store bought chemical cleaners and replacing them with DIY (Do It Yourself) cleaners using essential oils and ingredients from around your home.
Glass bottles are ideal for making your own cleaning products. 16oz Glass spray bottles like these can also be found online at Amazon or other retailers. You can reuse old spray bottles or get some at your local dollar store. Avoid using citrus essential oils like lemon in your cleaners if you choose to use plastic spray bottles.
Spring Cleaning Products You Can Make
All Purpose Cleaner With Vinegar: In general I think we live in an over sanitized world but occasionally, like when I am working with meat, I use this spray from Kayla at The Radiant Life Blog to clean my counters. It may not break down grease as well as soap but it kills more bacteria.
All Purpose Cleaner With Soap: I prefer to use soap for most of my day to day cleaning and luckily this recipe from Heather at Mommypotamus does not leave a soapy residue. Heather even repurposed an old apple cider vinegar bottle as her new spray bottle. This is the unscented castile soap that I use.
Carpet Deodorizer: Combine 2 cups of baking soda with 20-30 drops of Lavender essential oil. Use a fork to get rid of any clumps. Store it in a pint mason jar with a shaker lid like this. Sprinkle on carpet and let sit 1-2 hours or overnight. Vacuum as normal. Keep pets from stepping on it.
Glass Cleaner: Spring cleaning would not be complete without cleaning all your glass. I know it’s not fun, but this recipe is. Glass cleaner can be as simple as vinegar and water in a pinch but this recipe from Fabulessly Frugal seems to do a better job and you probably have all the ingredients.
Mattress Powder: Make a mattress powder to freshen your mattress. I use this recipe from One Good Thing By Jillee. I use lavender essential oil but you can use tea tree (melaleuca) if you are worried about dust mites. Do not allow pets to lay on it while the power is still on the mattress.
Mold Spray: I use this simple recipe from Emily at Recipes To Nourish. I spray it in my shower to prevent mildew. You can also use it on current mildew. Some people also add clove essential oil to the spray.
Scouring Power: I grew up using Comet to clean sinks and bathtubs and I guess old habits die hard. I use this scouring powder recipe from Betsy at DIY Natural and I love it. Plus you might know this, but I love anything that allows me to use a mason jar. I make up my powder in a pint mason jar and use this shaker lid.
Stainless Steel Cleaner: All you need is a white vinegar, olive oil and a soft cloth. Put 1 tbs of olive oil on a soft cloth and rub the surface to get rid of any smudges. Apply 1 tbs vinegar to another side of the cloth and wipe clean. You can use apple cider vinegar if you don’t have white vinegar. It’s that easy and it works! It’s not just for spring cleaning, it’s for everyday.
Soft Scrub: Soft scrub has always been one of my favorite store bought cleaning products. I use this recipe by Tracey at Don’t Mess With Mama. This small sized recipe allows you to make it as needed. You can of course make it in larger quantities but I would suggest storing it in glass or using tea tree (melaleuca) essential oil instead because lemon can be corrosive to plastic bottles.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Check out my blog post for making toilet bowl cleaner. I have actually used it to wash my hair and brush my teeth in a pinch. It’s seriously non-toxic and it works! Plus, once again I get to use a mason jar and a shaker lid.
Wood Floor Cleaner: Non-toxic hardwood floor cleaner is super easy. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water. It’s optional but I also add 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil. It smells great plus ants and spiders don’t care for peppermint.
Wood Polish: This is one of my favorite DIY cleaning products and believe me, it isn’t because I like to dust. This recipe from the doTERRA Blog uses Lemon, Orange or Arborvitae essential oil. I use Arborvitae because it literally smells like the forest. I love how my house smells afterward.
Should I Wait To Replace My Cleaners?
Sadly, I often hear people say that they were going to use up their old lotions, deodorants, soaps and cleaners before switching over to natural products. I too was temped to do this before I came to my senses and realized how silly that line of thinking is. I was basically saying, I believe that the chemicals in my products are bad for me but the $3 I spent on a cleaner means more to me than improving my health.
What was I thinking? Ultimately I got rid of everything…lotions, shampoos, shower gels, deodorants, perfumes, candles, air fresheners and all of my cleaning supplies. I put a far higher value on my body than I do the money I spent on these products.
Think about it, spring cleaning is actually the perfect time to clean out all the toxins in your life. It is counter productive to give your home a thorough cleaning with toxic products. Start fresh today!
What To Do With Toxic Products
So now what do you do with all of your old cleaners? This was a hard question for me. I didn’t want to give them away because that would mean it’s okay to poison someone else with those toxic products. However, I also labored over throwing them away because they are poison to the earth too. If I put them down the sink, I was polluting the water supply. If I threw them in the trash, I was polluting the ground. When I googled it, I found mostly instructions for what products were okay to wash down the sink and what products were okay to throw in the trash. I did however find this helpful article that might help you decide what to do with your toxic trash.
Let Spring Cleaning Be The Next Step
I actually feel excited for those of you who are right now making the choice to reduce your toxic load by removing harsh chemicals from your everyday life. It is so empowering when you stop blindly trusting that everything sold in stores are safe and you begin to take control of your life. It’s the next step in your wellness journey. Have fun and be blessed!
I’d love to hear how your are taking control of your wellness. Tell me about it in the comments below.