Have you ever noticed that many commercial cleaning products come with a fine print that reads something like, “hazardous to humans and domestic animals”? Though what we want is a product that will kill germs and make our windows, dishes, sinks, toilets, and floors sparkle, what we don’t want is to harm ourselves, our loved ones, or the environment. And it’s scary to think we’re spraying and scrubbing the space we call home with toxins that could be doing more harm than good.
With chemicals currently being used daily in our society and making up an astonishing 96 percent of productsand materials in America, it’s hard to believe that little regard is being given to their effects. But the Toxic Substances Control Act, which was passed in 1976, hasn’t been updated since day one. So as for those cleaning products? They’re basically untested and unregulated.
And to put the result of this into perspective, traces of about 300 pollutants, including chemicals used for household cleaning, have been found present in newborns’ umbilical cords, while the most common chemicals we use in our everyday lives have been found to cause a variety of illnesses, cancers, and developmental disorders.
As for our environment? While many commercial cleaning products are working to sanitize and sparkle our homes, our clothes and our bedding, they’re also harming our water and air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency even has a term for it, “Volatile Organic Compounds,” which phosphorus, nitrogen, and ammonia — some of the biggest names in these products — are filed under.
But before you throw your hands up and let your dishes and laundry go dirty, know that there are several alternatives you can try without harming your home, your health, or the world you live in, and they all include essentials oils, which (bonus!) are known to boost your mind and body wellness.
Clean Your Floors With Lemon Essential Oil
Fill a large container with 1 gallon of hot water. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of Castile soap along with 10 drops of lemon essential oil and stir the mixture for your new floor cleaner.
Clean Your Toilets With Tea Tree Essential Oil
Grab a spray bottle and add 2 teaspoons of tea tree essential oil and 2 cups of water to it. Give it a good shake to concoct the mixture, and then spray inside the toilet’s rim, letting it sit for about 30 minutes before scrubbing.
Clean Your Windows With Lavender Essential Oil
Want to get rid of grime and even ward off flies? Mix together 2 ounces of water and 10 drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle, spritz on your windows and wipe them clean.
Clean Your Dishes With Tangerine and Lemon Essential Oils
This is a great alternative to commercial dishwashing detergents. In a bowl, mix 2 teaspoons tangerine and lemon essential oils with ½ cup kosher salt and ½ cup white vinegar, along with 2 cups Borax (sodium borate) and 2 cups washing soda (sodium carbonate). Use an ice cube tray to portion out the mixture. Let the pods dry for 24 to 48 hours, and then remove from the tray and store in an airtight container. Make sure to use one pod per cycle.
Polish Your Furniture With Lemon, Lemongrass, and Sandalwood Essential Oils
Combine 4 ounces of jojoba oil with 12 drops of lemon essential oil, 8 drops of sandalwood essential oil, and 4 drops of lemongrass essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake up the mixture and apply onto a cloth to wipe wood surfaces.
Make a Multi-Purpose Spray Cleaner With Cedarwood and Clary Sage Essential Oils
In a spray bottle, mix ½ cup of witch hazel with 1 cup of water and 4 tablespoons of Castile soap. Put 15 drops of clary sage essential oil and 10 drops of cedarwood essential oil into the mixture and shake all of the ingredients together.
Clean Your Clothes With Lavender Tea Tree and Lemon Essential Oils
Use a box grater to grate one bar of unscented Castile soap. In a bowl, mix the soap with 2 cups Borax, 2 cups washing soda, 3 teaspoons lavender tea tree essential oil and 1 teaspoon lemon essential oil, until a damp powder is formed. Store in an airtight container and use up to ¼ cup for each regular load of laundry.