Before we even jump into this series I feel it is very important to inform you of the reasons why natural cleaning is better than the readily available commercial cleaners. Without knowing the reasons behind it you may lack the desire to try it or you may lack the motivation to continue. The bottom line is that when you are out grocery shopping and it seems much easier to buy the pine scented floor cleaner than to make your own, then you will have these reasons to recall and will hopefully make the decision not to buy the commercial stuff...even if it is on sale and you have a $1.50 off coupon.
Common Household Cleaners Are Toxic and Deadly
- Commercial cleaners contain toxic substances like phenol, formaldehyde, phosphates, ammonia, chlorine bleach, arsenic, naphthalene, hydrochloric acid, paradichlorbenzene, lye, phosphoric acid, and sulfuric acid, just to name a few. When breathed in, these substances can irritate the entire respiratory system. The chemicals are then leached into your blood stream leaving traces in other organs including your heart. Petroleum based cleaners are directly absorbed into the skin. The long term effects of these chemicals are not good. Some are carcinogens (cancer causing).
- Some of these cleaners release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making the air inside of your home toxic. In fact, studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) found the levels of about 12 common organic pollutants to be two to five times higher inside your home than outside. Even worse, these contaminants may persist indoors long after using a product. The Cancer Prevention Coalition lists hundreds of toxic and deadly chemicals that are in household cleaners. Here is another informative test by an independent company: Cleaning Chemicals and Their Impact on Indoor Environments and Health.
- We can’t assume that products are safe just because they are widely available and for sale. Cigarettes are sold and yet we know the effects they have on the body. They are proven cancer causers. The New York Times has reported several times about the fact that the US allows the sale of toxic and dangerous products that other countries prohibit. Here is just one such article where formaldehyde laden wood was sold in the US: US Rules Allows the Sale of Products Other Countries Ban.
- Just because something is labeled as natural does not mean that it is safe. Let me remind you that arsenic is a naturally occurring substance and yet, it kills. There is no law or set of guidelines to instruct companies as to how they can or can’t label products with use of the word “natural”. Don’t let that word persuade you at all. It means nothing on a commercial product.
Mixing Chlorine Bleach is Dangerous
A major downfall of commercial cleaners, especially chlorine bleach, is that when mixed with common organic matter such as urine, it produces hazardous gasses that can cause lung disease and even slow death. Most people I know use bleach to clean toilets. Isn’t that where urine resides? If bleach is accidentally mixed with dish soap will produce mustard gas. When it mixes with other organic substances in laundry, food, blood, or other bodily fluids it produces chloroform which is a known carcinogen. I have removed every bit of bleach from our home and will forbid it from ever returning. I was shocked to find all of this information while doing research. What angers me more is that hydrogen peroxide and essential oils naturally kill bacteria and viruses so bleach is not needed and yet it is still readily used. The makers of Clorox bleach have proven it for us. They now sell hydrogen peroxide and have listed all test results here: Clorox Professional Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner. AND *upddated* to say Reuters.com reported that the new line of cleaners were voted BEST all around in October 2012. Here is an excerpt:
“Clorox® Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Cleaners are a revolutionary new line of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered products that harness the unique power of hydrogen peroxide to eliminate bacteria and viruses that are of highest concern to commercial facilities in as fast as 30 seconds,” said Lynda Lurie, marketing manager, Clorox Professional Products Company. “It’s an honor to be recognized by ISSA and the cleaning industry, as this award reinforces our commitment to drive step-change product innovation to further meet the needs of the commercial cleaning market.”
Introduced in March 2012, Clorox® Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Cleaners contain plant-based surfactants, no harsh fumes, no volatile organic compounds, no added fragrances or dyes, and harness the unique power of hydrogen peroxide to kill more problematic germs than the leading competitive products. SOURCE
Everyday moms and grandmas have known this for years. Next there will be a full line of vinegar and/or castile soap related products by these big companies. Mark my words.
Chemicals From Household Cleaners Get Into Water Supply and Atmosphere
When we use toxic household cleaners they usually end up going down the drain. Either we wash the chemicals out, flush them, or rinse them in the sink or tub. All of these ways result in the deadly chemicals getting into streams, bayous, rivers, and other water sources and it results in contaminating aquatic life. Have you ever wondered why there are higher instances of cancer along water sources? We eat the food that comes from these water sources after we have drenched them in dozens of toxic chemicals that we disposed of. Not to mention the fact that this same water gets seeped into the ground to contaminate vegetation and rises to pollute the air.
Natural Cleaning is Frugal and Affordable
On average, real, natural cleaners (those you make yourself) will always cost less than any commercial cleaner. Sure, you may get it for free this time but next trip to the store it is likely to cost $5 or more. Natural cleaning products can be made for just pennies on the dollar compared to commercial cleaners. Some, are even free!
Easily Sustainable and Brings Simplicity to Life
Natural cleaning is easily sustained because it uses natural resources and a little common sense. My personal favorite reason is that I don’t need 30 different products to keep my house clean. Consumerism would tell you that you need one product for the toilets, one for showers (before and after), one product for the mirror, one for the floor, one for the tile, one for the sinks, one for the air… I could go on and on and that is just in the bathroom! I can carry every cleaning product I use with my two hands. I don’t need 30+ products. I also like that DIY homemade cleaners give me complete control over my home. I know what is in the products I use and that means I control the outcome when using it.
Consider Those You Love
For me, the quest to find natural alternatives to these harsh cleaners began when Andrew had to have surgery for an MRSA staph infection. He had the infection for three days before it became so bad that he had to be operated on. We spent three more days there while they slowly pulled the infection out one inch of gauze at a time. While there I questioned how he got this and how we could have prevented it. The doctors at this hospital are on the cutting edge of science. They were quick to tell me not to use chlorine bleach or antibacterial products in my home. One of the nurses explained it to me in depth and gave me resources to read. I was shocked. In the home environment we’ve killed all bacteria: good and bad. That means when we are exposed to bad bacteria there is no defense against it. Bacteria like MRSA are becoming immune to our scientific defenses like antibiotics and antibacterial cleaners. We have to go back to depending on our natural defenses.
That was not good news for a germ-a-phobe like me. I like killing germs. I hate dirt. I’ve fought this tooth and nail over the years but, guess what? I’ve finally realized there is more power in the dirt in our backyard than there is in bleach. The bacteria our kids find in good ol’ dirt is their defense against bacteria. Every time they encounter it the good bacteria not only fight against it but they get stronger, building an immunity against it. When we kill all bacteria we have offered the bad germs the benefit we used to have. Each fight they are up against they get stronger and build an immunity to it. We are left defenseless.
What the Bible Says About Natural Cleaning
Though the bible does not directly address the issue of cleaning our homes with toxic substances, it does address the issue in generic terms. From a spiritual perspective, I believe God has given us everything we need to not just live but thrive in this world He created. I know that our creator has given us, in nature, all that we need to eat, clean, build, and complete the circle of life. While progression and technology are an amazing addition to our lives, we must be choosy about the ones we allow. Just as God states in the Deuteronomy 30:19, everything is either life or death and He instructs us to choose life. I see the life and death as positive and negative effects on life. Do chemical based cleaning products effect us positively or negatively? If they are negative then they are death. Homemade cleaners using the natural cleaning agents that God provided for us, these bring life. Choose life.
Blog Posts About Natural Cleaning and Cleaners
Over the next three weeks I will post 16 more times about natural cleaning. We will talk about how to detoxify our home, uses and combinations of essential oils, natural resources, recipes for cleaning everything from clothing to floors, and the tools to do it with. I will also provide a variety of printable labels to go along with the recipes. I have spent much time over last three years testing out different recipes and ways for cleaning the home. A lot of them did not work like I hoped they would. Some were downright horrible. I waited to post about this until I had consistently seen the results I wanted. I know how frustrating it was for me to use recipes I’d found only to have them not work like they were supposed to or to be so much work on my part that I quit halfway into it.
The methods and recipes I use are to save time and money and promote overall health and well-being. I’m thrilled to FINALLY be able to share them with you. I hope you’ll be journeying along with me.
Let me know your thoughts or concerns in the comments. I want to be sure I touch on all topics of interest.
If you are not interested in chasing down ingredients or making your own you can now buy our handmade natural cleaning products from our Etsy Shop: Fleur de Posh Natural Cleaners on Etsy or visit our website: Fleur de Posh.
disclaimer: Since posting our base recipes on the blog we have greatly improved upon the process and ingredients we use. What you purchase will be slightly different from what is posted on this blog.