We know that exposure to toxic chemicals can lead to health concerns. Unfortunately, some toxic chemicals are found where they're least expected — in common, cleaning products. Ammonia can burn and bleach can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Why use this stuff? Though most retailers do offer organic cleaning products, you can take it a step further and make your own — and save a few dollars.
Homemade, organic cleaning products are a safe, natural alternative to toxic cleaning products. The poison control number is on the label for a reason. In fact, The National Poisons Information Service in Britain recommends parents keep the cleaning products just as securely locked up as alcohol. 
The Need to Adopt Non-Toxic Cleaning Protocols
Reducing exposure to toxins is a process that happens in bits and pieces and you always need to be working at it. The consequences can be dire. Evidence already suggests exposure to certain chemicals may aggravate respiratory reactions.[2, 3] Removing toxic chemicals that shouldn't even be sold as "safe for household use" is of greater importance when pregnant women or young children are involved. Some studies have been launched into examining the effect of cleaning products in hospitals on staff, who are constantly exposed; a possible relation to asthma has been discussed.
Reducing and even eliminating toxic products is an important component of doing any organ system cleanse, such as a liver cleanse. When you are eliminating toxins from your digestive system by eating clean, healthy food, why would you want to expose yourself to additional toxins in your home? You can also try a Chemical and Heavy Metal Cleanse to more fully cleanse your body of toxins.
Avoid Products with Toxic Ingredients
Adopting green living methods in your home is more important now than ever before. Chemicals such as Triclosan are common in at-home cleaning and hygiene products, yet has been identified for many concerns, including an increased incidence of asthma. It's not unusual for products to be introduced as safe and later recalled as unsafe.
Making your own natural cleaning solutions provides your home with eco-friendly cleaning that is gentle and powerful, without the chemicals or toxic fumes. Check the contents under your sink or pantry and you'll likely find the economical, nontoxic ingredients that work alone or in combination to effectively make your home shine!
The Basic Arsenal
Below are some of the basic tools for making DIY cleaning products.
White vinegar is effective at dissolving grease and makes a great surface cleaner in the kitchen and bathroom. Vinegar works well because of its acidic nature and antibacterial effect. Japanese research found that the bactericidal activity of vinegar increased as the temperature of its solution increased, underscoring the need for the double benefit of using warm cleaning solutions. Mix one cup of vinegar with water in a bucket or spray bottle and use it to clean windows, mirrors, toilets, and floors.
Baking soda deodorizes and has an abrasive quality that outshines toxic, powdered cleansers. Use on surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen to remove stains or even clean the inside of a messy oven. Adding salt can provide a boost in scrubbing power.
The inclusion of lemon in many commercially available cleaning products is one rare area where they got it right! Lemon juice kills mold, cuts through grease, and leaves a streak-free shine. The applied food science laboratory in Lincoln, Nebraska examined the ability of lemon oil combined with vinegar to inhibit mold growth. This prevented spore germination and mold growth. Combine lemon juice with vinegar or olive oil to make compound cleaning products that work harder and provide a naturally refreshing scent.
Hydrogen peroxide has a bubbling action that is amazing with hard-to-clean situations. Fill a spray bottle with a hydrogen peroxide-water mixture. Keep it near the laundry area as it can be a great spot cleaner on clothing. First test it to ensure it won't fade color on the clothing: dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and touch on a hidden area of the fabric. If color transfers to the swab, don't use it.
Polishing wood with olive oil and lemon juice moisturizes it and provides amazing shine with a fresh scent. Blend one cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of lemon juice in a spray bottle. Mist onto a soft cloth and polish wood furniture the natural way.
Easy Recipes for Powerful Cleaners
Cousin Jason's Great Glass Cleaner
- Add 1/2 cup distilled vinegar to a new spray bottle.
- Fill with distilled water, gently shake.
- Spray on mirrors and windows, polish with a crumpled newspaper (you'll be surprised how well the newspaper works).
"Beatnick" Ted's Doubly Amazing All-Purpose Cleaner
- Add 2 tablespoons of distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon liquid castile soap (vegetable based and natural) to a new spray bottle.
- Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. When it stops foaming, add 2 cups warm water, shake gently.
- Use on counters and kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Use an organic cleaning cloth.
Captain Rusty's Potent and Powerful Surface Scrub
- Mix 1 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup liquid castile soap.
- Add 5 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin and 5 drops tea tree oil, depending on preference. Glycerin is a natural preservative and tea tree oil has antibacterial properties.
- Scrub with a microfiber cleaning cloth to use on sinks and other bathroom surfaces.
- Rinse with hot water and polish with a dry microfiber cloth.
Soap Nut All-Purpose Cleaner
- Add 15 soap nuts and a quart of distilled water into a saucepan.
- Bring the water to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
- Allow the soap nut concentrate to completely cool and remove the soap nuts.
- In a BPA-free spray bottle, mix 1 cup of soap nut concentrate, 2 tablespoons of organic white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of distilled water.
Extra Tips for Seamless Integration
- Clearly label your homemade cleaning supplies.
- Mix enough for one month at a time.
- Do not reuse containers from commercial cleaning supplies as they may contain chemical residues.
- Add cleansing essential oils such as lavender, tea tree oil, or rosemary for essence, scent, and benefit.
Got any tips or experiences? Please share!
- Williams H, Moyns E, Bateman DN, Thomas SH, Thompson JP, Vale JA. Hazard of household cleaning products: a study undertaken by the UK National Poisons Information Service. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2012 Sep;50(8):770-5. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2012.709936.
- Kimber I, Pieters R. Household chemicals, immune function, and allergy: A commentary. J Immunotoxicol. 2013 Apr-Jun;10(2):169-72. doi: 10.3109/1547691X.2012.707696. Epub 2012 Sep 7.
- Casas L, Zock JP, Carsin AE, Fernandez-Somoano A, Esplugues A, Santa-Marina L, Tardón A, Ballester F, Basterrechea M, Sunyer J. The use of household cleaning products during pregnancy and lower respiratory tract infections and wheezing during early life. Int J Public Health. 2012 Oct 11.
- Dumas O, Donnay C, Heederik DJ, Héry M, Choudat D, Kauffmann F, Le Moual N. Occupational exposure to cleaning products and asthma in hospital workers. Occup Environ Med. 2012 Dec;69(12):883-9. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2012-100826. Epub 2012 Oct 2.
- Anderson SE, Franko J, Kashon ML, Anderson KL, Hubbs AF, Lukomska E, Meade BJ. Exposure to triclosan augments the allergic response to ovalbumin in a mouse model of asthma. Toxicol Sci. 2013 Mar;132(1):96-106. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfs328. Epub 2012 Nov 28.
- Hollins DM, Kerger BD, Unice KM, Knutsen JS, Madl AK, Sahmel JE, Paustenbach DJ. Airborne benzene exposures from cleaning metal surfaces with small volumes of petroleum solvents. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2013 Jun;216(3):324-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2012.08.008. Epub 2012 Oct 22.
- Entani E, Asai M, Tsujihata S, Tsukamoto Y, Ohta M. Antibacterial action of vinegar against food-borne pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli O157:H7. J Food Prot. 1998 Aug;61(8):953-9.
- Li L, Valenzuela-Martinez C, Redondo M, Juneja VK, Burson DE, Thippareddi H. Inhibition of Clostridium perfringens spore germination and outgrowth by lemon juice and vinegar product in reduced NaCl roast beef. J Food Sci. 2012 Nov;77(11):M598-603. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02922.x.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.