Ditch the Chemicals and Spring Clean Naturally

Tricia Chadwick

Enjoy a sparkling home and limit your family’s exposure to unnecessary toxins.

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Photo by Crema Joe on Unsplash

A stretch of warm weather in the Northeast has unleashed my inner clean freak. She has been locked-up for this locked-down year out of mental health necessity. It has felt impossible to keep the house clean with all the snow, salt, and sand (and people in here), but I’m ready to get down to the nitty-gritty.

The problem is that chemicals are everywhere and in everything, from our water sources to our carpeting. In just about everything we touch or ingest are traces of hormones, antibiotics, styrene, and phthalates, known as endocrine-disrupters. Scientists link these chemicals with developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other health problems. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about!

There are chemicals added to many of the foods that we eat, including a list of 7 chemicals the American Academy of Pediatrics warns may be particularly harmful to children. According to WHO, around 3.8 millionpeople a year die from exposure to household air pollution.

That’s right, household air pollution. People die from the air in their own homes!

We want to clean our houses, not add to our chemical load.

Are you ready to clean your house but want to ditch the questionable chemicals?

All-natural products are not only effective, but they are super cheap! My great-grandmother always said you don’t have to be rich to be clean, and money is tight right now! Cleaning like grandma has plenty of advantages. Here are my top favorite natural cleaners.

I can see clearly now; the grime is gone.

Glass cleaners

For the clearest glass, there is nothing better than plain old vinegar and water. Well, my mother would say ammonia, but we are sticking with chemical-free, mom.

Recipe:

Mix one part distilled vinegar to 10 parts warm water in a spray bottle.

The one caveat here is the smell. My lovely children often comment that they are not fond of salad, and the smell of vinegar can linger. I solve this by carefully measuring the vinegar to water ratio and adding 5–7 drops of my favorite essential oil.

Many oils, such as tea tree oil, serve a double benefit as an antifungal and antimicrobial, so you really can’t beat it!

Clean up, clean up; everybody do your share.

Sinks, tubs, and toilets

Baking soda and water make a great paste that can scrub the stains out of most sinks, tubs, or toilets.

Recipe:

There’s no measuring needed. Just pour and add water until you have a paste-like consistency.

If you have a particularly stubborn stain, soap scum, or clog, the addition of vinegar helps loosen up the gunk. Not to mention, it’s fun to watch the mixture foam over like a science project.

You can even use it as an excuse to get your kids to clean the bathroom. Look, a chemical reaction! And a clean bathroom!

Yeah, we work on the floor.

Floors

By the end of the week, my floors need a good mopping, mostly because I am in love with Swiffer wet sheets. I know, not at all eco-friendly. They are a terrible habit. Convenient, though. And they also leave behind a residue on my floors. Mopping with baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, and hot water is all that is needed to dissolve the residue and allow my floor to shine.

I’ve included Bob Vila’s exact recipe below.

Recipe

Combine ¼ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon dish detergent, and 2 gallons of hot water. Apply it either with a damp cloth or a wrung-out mop. After, go over it with fresh water, then allow it to dry.

As clean as the mornin’!

Plant insecticide

Plants are an essential part of a healthy household, cleaning our air and making the house environment happier. Bugs pester them inside or out, though, meaning pesticides are necessary.

When turning to all-natural, the combination of Neem oil, Dawn dish soap, and water performs well on various pests.

“An oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree is a powerful natural insecticide, capable of disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages (adult, larvae, and egg), making it a great resource for the organic gardener,” according to Treehugger.com.

“Neem oil is biodegradable and is non-toxic to pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife, and is effective against a variety of common garden insect pests.”

Keep a spray bottle and use it weekly.

Recipe

You can easily make your Neem Oil Insecticide Plant Spray using a few common household ingredients.

To make 1 Quart Neem Oil Insecticide spray, measure the following using spoons or dropper: One teaspoon Neem oil (100% Cold Press Neem Oil), 0.25 teaspoon liquid dish soap (Castile soap is preferred), and One-quart warm water. Mix well in a spray bottle. Spray plants liberally, applying to both tops and undersides of leaves, as well as soil.

Help a liver out.

Cutting down on our chemical load can be difficult in a world where chemicals are invisible but present everywhere. Although it feels overwhelming, small steps can help you achieve this goal and benefit your overall health and wellness.

When used in conjunction with positive diet and exercise habits, reducing your chemical load can decrease inflammation to the liver and minimize damage to your body.

Start small now, and the benefits will be significant and long-lasting.

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Small business owner, teacher, and mom. I write about learning, health, parenting, and animals.

Torrington, CT
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