When I was pregnant with my firstborn, cleaning with more natural products became a priority for me. I began noticing the toxicity of common household products. The bathroom cleaner I’d used for years made me lightheaded and dizzy, and the air freshener burners that made the house smell like vanilla now made me sick to my stomach. I began to look into what was in these products and realized that I didn’t want them in my home.
However, I still wanted a clean, fresh-smelling house, so I began to research some eco-friendly and nontoxic alternatives:
Household Cleaning and Laundry: White Vinegar is so cheap and has so many uses. I use it as a fabric softener (no, it doesn’t make your clothes smell like vinegar) and it makes clothes super soft. Also, I combine it with lemon juice for cleaning my cutting boards, and I mop with it on my tile floor areas (I’ve read that it’s not recommended for hardwood floors). You can also clear a drain by mixing it with baking soda and letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Natural Air Freshener: You can diffuse essential oils (any scent or brand) in individual rooms, or add to a spray bottle with water and spritz your furniture for a natural pick-me-up scent.
In the winter, I like to do a stovetop simmer to freshen the air. I cut up orange, lemon, or grapefruit slices, add to a pot with water and spices like cinnamon or cloves, bring to a boil, and simmer. The house smells amazing and fresh with no canned chemical scents.
Wood Polish: Just thinking about a can of Pledge burns my nostrils and gives me a headache. A natural alternative: Combine liquified coconut oil with a few tablespoons of white vinegar and a couple teaspoons of lemon juice for a natural wood polish.
Soap: Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is made with organic oils and is super concentrated, so a little goes a long way. The ingredients are non-irritating, and the bottles are made of 100% recycled plastic, which is amazing. While we use it primarily for bathing, it can be used to do laundry, hand-wash dishes, mopping, and much more.
As a mother who is growing increasingly concerned about the state of our planet and the health of my children, I know I can do more. In the meantime, I do my best to go more natural when I can. After all, it’s better for our health, our wallets, and the environment.
Now if only I could find a natural deodorant that actually works…