Wellness Wednesday: Green Cleaning

Green cleaning is an easy, affordable, and simple way to eliminate toxins from the home.

I like to think of myself as a conscious consumer, and I very rarely make purchases or decisions without much thought. Similarly, when I start new projects, I give them the same consideration.

With his job, my husband receives a lot of education about chemical hazards in the home, toxic materials we’re exposed to on a daily basis, and other unhealthy hidden dangers in our environment. Ironically, these hidden dangers are packaged in bright and colourful bottles with catchy slogans.

We spray the contents of those bottles on our countertops, in our sinks and bathtubs, around our toilets, and all over our floors. We dump those chemicals into the washing machine, drape sheets laced with them into the dryer, and then wear them on our skin. Every. Single. Day.

Green Cleaning


Photo: Susy Morris on Flickr

A few years ago I got the idea to make my own tub scrub. I was constantly nauseated by the caustic fumes of powdered bleach as I scrubbed the bathroom each week, an open window providing very little reprieve. Luckily my DIY experiment was a success and I have used nothing else since.

This quickly snowballed into realizing that I can make a lot of the household products I use on a regular basis, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. Like most things I do, I’ve put in a lot of time researching the best and most natural ways to create household cleaning products, so I wanted to share some of the recipes with you here.

Not only do I find they work beautifully, but they’re also healthy, incredibly inexpensive, and so easy to make! Adding essential oils to your household cleaning products is basically like inviting a powerhouse into your home to do the hard work. They’ve been shown to have incredible cleansing, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Here are a few of my favourite cleaning recipes:

Tub Scrub

In a bowl, combine the following:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup castille soap
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 5 – 10 drops essential oil of lemon or tea tree
  • 1 tbsp water (enough to make a paste)

Mix ingredients until it forms a smooth paste. Slather on bathtub and shower walls and let sit for five minutes. Scrub off with a gentle brush and rinse. This works best if you spray the bathtub and/or shower first.

Window and Glass Cleaner

In a spray bottle, combine the following:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 12 drops essential oil of lemon

Gentle shake and rotate to mix thoroughly and use liberally on glass and mirrors.

Mold and Mildew Spray

This is great for damp windows to help prevent the build-up of mold and mildew! In a small spray bottle, combine the following:

  • 2 oz water
  • 1 oz white vinegar
  • 4 drops essential oil of eucalyptus
  • 4 drops essential oil of tea tree

The beauty of using essential oils in cleaning is that they can be used anywhere in your home for just about anything. And because I only use a few drops at a time, it’s literally costing me just pennies. Here are some effective ways essential oils can support the health of your home:

  • Lemon can help remove stickers (and sticky gunk) of glass and plastics.
  • Peppermint can be sprayed in doorways and windows to help deter ants and – my least favourite – spiders!
  • Rosemary can help with the removal of grease and mildew when used in the laundry.
  • Instead of dryer sheets, I use ULAT Dryer Balls and put a drop of lavender oil on each. Another bonus? Quicker drying time!
  • Eucalyptus oil is great for flushing toilet ickiness down the drain.
  • Orange oil is beneficial for de-greasing and adding shine!
  • Tea tree oil is a widely-researched super oil, hailed for its antibacterial properties. This makes it perfect for general bathroom cleaning.

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Some studies claim that up to 80% of all essential oils have something added to them even if it says “100% pure” on the bottle. Crazy, right?

Sometimes manufacturers do this to save money, but sometimes it is done by accident without any dishonest intent. After confirming that the oil you’re using is pure, you also have to consider a few more factors: the soil conditions, geographic location, time of harvest, and the quality of the extraction process all play a part into having an oil that has the benefits you want. Did you know there is an actual chemical difference between lavender grown in France and lavender grown elsewhere?

You can also take this a step further and consider the farmers who grew the plants that are being harvested to create the essential oil you’re using. Are they receiving a fair price for their crop? Are they being treated fairly by the manufacturer?

With all the oils out there, how can you personally tell if you have a good oil?

  • Look for a well-established company.
  • Ask what their testing protocols are. Are they testing the purity on every batch?
  • A good company should be testing at multiple stages in the process, including right after extracting the oil and right before it goes into the bottle.

If you want to know more about the brand I trust and personally use, contact me to learn more, order them, or find out where to buy them.

Disclaimer: The statements above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Use of essential oils is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

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