I have a dream…that one day my home will be completely free of harsh chemicals! I was raised to use these toxic chemicals. My mother says “If you’re not using Clorox, it’s not clean!”. My mother even uses it in her dish water especially when someone gets sick in the home. I thought this was how it was done! (Sorry Mom!) Now I cringe when I smell bleach. Lysol All Purpose Cleaner gives me a raging headache.
What is my “why” when it comes to green cleaning? I didn’t actually start to make green, non-toxic changes until I became pregnant and started thinking about my daughter’s health. I thought about how she would be crawling on the floors absorbing toxic chemicals through her skin and mouth. They would be present on her clothes and inhaling these chemicals that kill brain cells, cause cancer, and irritate your skin. If you have kids you know that their skin is very sensitive and their guts are very permeable and these chemicals would quickly get in to her blood stream and wreck havoc. Not only did I think about the cleaners but also the baby products like shampoos and lotions. Another reason
why, is that we over do it when it comes to anti-bacterial products. We have been raised to think that killing all bacteria is good for us…WRONG. Most people don’t realize that there are good bacteria and bad bacteria. Antibacterial cleaners kill everything leaving the strongest bacterias to survive and get stronger. This results in the creation of super bacteria that become resistant to the antibacterial agents you use to kill them. You may actually be doing more harm to yourself by using these harsh chemicals to kill them then what the bad bacteria you are trying to kill may do to you.
So all this non-toxic talk brings me to my latest blog post which is really a book review of The Joy of Green Cleaning. I absolutely love this recipe book! It’s a great handy resource book for green cleaning. It was written by Leslie Reichert aka Green Cleaning Coach whose mission is to teach and encourage others in the art of home-keeping and green cleaning. In her book, Leslie explains what is the big deal about greening your cleaning. She says that most regular cleaning can be done without any toxic chemicals. It is true that you can clean with non-toxic items already in your pantry such as baking soda, vinegar, sea salt, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide.
If you’re not in to mixing your own cleaners you can buy cleaners from green companies but you will be paying more than you normally would on cleaners. To me it’s worth it. It really is just a matter of paying for time and convenience. Make it yourself and you will be saving a lot of money and it only takes a little time to create them. With the help of this book, you won’t struggle to find recipes for green cleaners.
I like simplicity. I went with the easiest cleaner recipes for my home. Minimal ingredients and less time to make them is my style. I first tried Leslie’s recipe for an All Purpose Liquid Cleaner. If you are not a fan of vinegar this is the perfect cleaner to try since it is sans vinegar. It includes 4 ingredients club soda, baking soda, dish soap, and any essential oil you like…I used tea tree oil for disinfecting power. This cleaner did really well in the kitchen/bathrooms but if you needed it to be heavy duty you can add borax.
I also tried the Daily Counter Cleanser which does include vinegar, water, and essential oils. If you would like to use vinegar but want to minimize the scent you can fill a container with orange, lemon, or lime peels (I used all 3) and pour in white vinegar and let it sit for at least 2 weeks. It will take on the citrus scent and you can use it to create various cleaners.
One of my favorite recipes in the book was the Baking Soda Scrubbing Paste which can be used for difficult areas during cleaning. I also tried the Green Powder Scrub and I keep it in a shaker container with a lid. I use this scrub for tubs and sinks. This book is loaded with recipes for virtually everything you need to clean in your life. You will find, metal, bathroom, floor, furniture, laundry, and nursery cleaner recipes. There was even a recipe for “Ugg” Boot Deodorizer!
Now, the only downside I have found when it comes to using a green cleaner for your toilets is that you will need to clean them more often in order to avoid the nasty little ring in the toilet that can show up. Mid-week I like to add some vinegar to the toilet bowl and let it sit for a bit then do a quick swipe with the toilet brush. Next I plan to make the Carpet Spot Wipes. My daughter stains the floor with all sorts of foods and it would be nice to have them on hand for spots and spills. Another thing I enjoyed about the book is that Leslie also gives suggestions for green products on the market if you don’t want to make them. For more information on products Leslie recommends as well as videos with tips and free recipes visit her website and like her on facebook. Leslie also has a great online store with wonderful green products.
Here is a great video by Leslie with a recipe for laundry soap:
So now that you have my take on The Joy of Green Cleaning…I would love to hear yours! Leslie has been kind enough to gift a digital copy of her book The Joy of Green Cleaning ($10 value) to one of my lucky readers! For a shot at winning, send a short email to email@example.com and tell me why you want to live greener and how Leslie’s book will help you achieve a non-toxic lifestyle! Please put “The Joy of Green Cleaning” in the subject line of your email. I will be choosing one lucky winner on Friday, December 7th! Good Luck!