Posts Tagged ‘chemical cleaning’

No-to-Low Chemical Cleaning

Written by admin on January 20th, 2011. Posted in Healthy Home

The shelves and shelves of chemical cleaners in our supermarkets are there to make our job faster with less elbow grease. Normally this sounds fantastic. Perfect! Just what I need! Hit the chemical cleaners and be done in 5 minutes. I bet if you went through your kitchen cupboard you’d find at least four or five different chemical cleaners. One for tabletops, one for mirrors and windows, one for the fridge, one for the floor and so on. And maybe more than one for each of those surfaces. Money, money, money. Toxic, Toxic, Toxic. Somewhere along the way householders got sucked into a vortex of commercial “germ killing” that’s on par with hospital grade sanitisation.

It’s really simple. You need an active antimicrobial ingredient. That’s it! No spectacularly packaged, orange scented, intense foaming action, clings to surfaces with 99.9% germ killing POWER!!!! Marketing spin. Fabulous stuff. And effective! It’s about here I have to put my hand up. I am a chronic compulsive hand washer. I’d put a guess that I wash my hands around 70-80 times a day. Sometimes 3 times within 10 minutes. I have the antibacterial hand wash in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Sadly this leaves my hands very dry but mentally I’m content so, so be it. This compulsive need only affects me which is why I am happy to continue it. (Luckily my partner has the same compulsion!)

However, chemical cleaners sprayed all over your home not only affect your lungs and are absorbed through your skin but they affect every single member of your family living in your home. They accumulate in soft furnishings and carpets and are not removed by normal vacuuming. Now consider how much time your kids spend sprawled out playing on the carpet…This is where I started thinking twice about living in a ‘sanitary’ chemically cleaned environment. I searched the web and found to ‘kill germs’ you just need an antimicrobial ingredient. My favourite is Eucalyptus Oil. It smells nicer than all the store bought ‘germ killers’ and it’s safer for my family. Here’s how you make it into an all purpose surface cleaner.

In a brand new empty spray bottle you can purchase from Kmart, Target or the like, mix the following: 50% Water, 50% White Vinegar, 5 drops Eucalyptus Oil and 15 drops of dishwashing liquid. Shake and spray (or soak a cloth), wiping down pretty much any surface mentioned in the first paragraph above. It smells fresh and is so much better for your family than the harsh web of supermarket chemicals. The Eucalyptus Oil kills microorganisms so there’s no need to worry about your kitchen benchtops, bin lids, fridge, floor or other surfaces harbouring any germs.

This homemade All Purpose Surface Cleaner is great for benchtops, glass table tops and cook tops, streak-free mirrors, fridges, floors and bathroom sinks. Try it out and see if you like it. Wander around the WWW and look for other home made cleaning recipes. There are other essential oils with antimicrobial properties too. Our older generation utilised these wonderful low cost solutions and they didn’t die from germs!

If you like the sound of this but still aren’t 100% confident you can spray down your surfaces just once a month with a diluted bleach and water spray for a monthly heavy duty clean. A 1-to-20 solution in water is effective simply by being wiped on and left to dry. The user should wear rubber gloves and, in tight airless spaces, goggles. I always make sure our kids are in a different part of the house to where I’m cleaning when the bleach comes out.

When I was pregnant I talked with my partner and he agreed I should not be using any commercial cleaners while pregnant and I feel we did the right thing. He scrubbed the bathroom for me when time came and we used the Eucalyptus Oil/Vinegar homemade solution for everything else.

NOTE: If pregnant always wear gloves when handling essential oils (or any other cleaners for that matter). It should not come into direct undiluted or ‘neat’ contact with your skin. Some essential oils should also be avoided during pregnancy so research carefully what these are and follow recommendations.

Excerpts from Wikipedia
Vinegar – Cleaning uses
White vinegar is often used as a household cleaning agent. Because it is acidic, it can dissolve mineral deposits from glass, coffee makers, and other smooth surfaces. For most uses dilution with water is recommended for safety and to avoid damaging the surfaces being cleaned.

Vinegar is an excellent solvent for cleaning epoxy resin and hardener, even after the epoxy has begun to harden. Malt vinegar sprinkled onto crumpled newspaper is a traditional, and still-popular, method of cleaning grease-smeared windows and mirrors in the UK. Vinegar can be used for polishing brass or bronze. Recently, vinegar has been marketed as a green solution for many household cleaning problems. For example, vinegar has been cited recently as an eco-friendly urine cleaner for pets and as a weed killer.

Essential oils
The antimicrobial properties of 21 plant essential oils and two essences were investigated against five food-borne pathogens, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteriditis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. The oils of bay, cinnamon, clove and thyme were the most inhibitory, each having a bacteriostatic concentration of 0.075% or less against all five pathogens. ( A. Smith-Palmer, J. Stewart and L. Fyfe. Antimicrobial properties of plant essential oils and essences against five important food-borne pathogens. Letters in Applied Microbiology 1998. 26. 118-122)

Many essential oils are included in pharmacopoeias as having antimicrobial activity, including:

  • Sideritis or Greek Mountain Tea
  • Oregano oil
  • Tea tree oil – in cosmetics, medicine
  • Mint oil – in medicine, cosmetics (tooth paste etc.)
  • Sandalwood oil – in cosmetics
  • Clove oil – stomatology etc.
  • Nigella sativa (Black cumin) oil
  • Onion oil (Allium cepe) – phytoncides, in phytotherapy
  • Leleshwa oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Lemon myrtle oil
  • Neem oil
  • Garlic
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Thyme oil