DIY Cleaning Products
What do cleaning products have to do with getting organized?
When we’re organized we have time to care about ourselves, others, our communities, and the environment. The type of cleaning products we use directly affect our health and the environment -- “all-purpose” cleaning products are commonly used without considering their impacts. There are many chemicals to avoid in cleaning products -- here are two to definitely stay away from:
1. Phthalates (Air Fresheners)
Phthalates are found in many air freshening products. They have been proven to have side effects such as migraines, asthma, and hormonal abnormalities. Due to proprietary laws, companies do not have to disclose their full ingredient lists, but if the ingredient list includes fragrance, it most likely contains phthalates.
Use essential oils, open a window, or -- best of all -- get more plants! All natural solutions that have positive health benefits.
2. Triclosan (Antibacterial Products)
“Experts including the FDA, the Canadian Pediatric Society, and the Canadian Medical Association agree there is no evidence that antibacterial soaps containing triclosan are more effective than regular soap and water” (source).
Over the last decade, antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers have become increasingly popular. Triclosan is a popular ingredient in all types of antibacterial products and cosmetics. In 2009, the Canadian Medical Association asked the federal government to ban all antibacterial household products, and triclosan is alreadybanned in the U.S. It has been shown to interfere with normal thyroid hormone functioning, decreases the effectiveness of antibiotics, and is toxic to aquatic plants and animals.
Use natural soaps like Dr. Bronners and find soaps with a short, natural ingredient list. This is a great rule of thumb for any product, even food.
In my home I keep my cleaning products super simple, I buy phosphate-free dish and laundry detergent, and refill both at Karma Co-op. For all purpose cleaner I mix vinegar, water and essentials oils. And baking soda comes in handy for scrubbing sinks when needed. I’ve also been inspired through this research to make my own laundry detergent and dish soap!
I’m not big on buying already made products because they generally involve numerous ingredients, are more expensive, and are not necessarily environmentally friendly (even if the label says so!). If you'd like to learn more, check out these articles: How Toxic Are your Household Cleaning Supplies, 8 Hidden Toxins, Dangerous Household Products.
Best Items to Have on hand to Make your own Cleaning Products:
- Basic white vinegar
- Castile Soap - good for everything!
- Baking Soda or arrowroot
- Essential oils (tea tree and rosemary are great for killing germs and disinfecting naturally)
Recipes For Cleaner + Simpler Options:
Feeling inspired? Here are some great links to recipes to try and resources that outline many other detrimental chemicals found in cleaning products.
- David Suzuki Recipes - this includes a print out with recipe cards and a table that explains what each ingredient does
- DIY All Natural Cleaning Products | Minimalist Living - If you need a visual, this video shows you how to make basic home cleaning products
- DIY Recipes - an extensive list of environmental cleaning instructions for specific issues!
Do you have any cleaning tips or questions?
Let us know!