Natural Home Cleaning

Words: Dr Ryan N HARRISON 

Okay, so you’ve waded through the dark and dismal waters of toxic truth in newspapers, magazines, books and also on the ‘Net. Let’s now talk about some good news; some things that are going to make for a healthy future. 

Long before the big chemical boom that has landed us in such a toxic world, people relied on naturally-occurring materials and substances to help them with their housework. Not only did homemade cleaners work well, they had the additional advantages of being inexpensive to make and completely non-toxic to use.

Naturally Clean reports that the biggest surprise people have when they decide to make their own cleaners is how many they can make from so few ingredients. An almost endless variety of safe homemade substitutes for toxic chemical cleaning supplies of all kinds can be easily prepared from just a handful of common materials.

An excellent source for ‘recipes’ of this sort is Better Basics for the Home, by Annie Berthold-Bond, which lists certain core ingredients that every household should have for creating non-toxic cleansers:

  • Baking Soda, deodoriser, non-abrasive scouring powder
  • Beeswax, floor and furniture wax
  • Borax, deodoriser, non-abrasive scouring powder, all-purpose cleaner, mould inhibitor, rust stain remover
  • Carnauba wax, wood floor and furniture wax
  • Citrus fruits like orange, lemon and lime: grease cutters, deodorisers, flea repellent
  • Eucalyptus oil, insect repellent
  • Essential oils, air freshening
  • Hydrogen peroxide, bleaching agent and antibacterial
  • Jojoba oil, wood polisher
  • Lavender oil, disinfectant, deodoriser
  • Natural vegetable-based liquid soap, general detergent product substitute
  • Neem oil, insect repellent
  • Olive oil, wood polisher
  • Washing soda [sodium carbonate], grease and grime cutter, wax remover, deodoriser
  • White distilled vinegar, dissolves hard water mineral scale and greasy build-up; removes tarnish, cleans wood and glass
  • Tea tree oil, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, deodoriser
  • Toothpaste, metal polish.

Natural Alternatives 

Typical oven cleaners are often the most toxic cleaning products found in the typical home. They leave chemical residues on surfaces and often expose people to hazardous fumes.

Here’s a recipe for a natural oven cleaner that really works:

Safe oven cleaner. Baking soda and water. Just sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the oven until it completely covers all offending matter. Spray it with water until damp, re-wet occasionally, and then let it sit overnight. In the morning, grease and grime can be easily wiped away.

Safe All-Purpose Counter Cleaner 

  • 2 tsp washing soda
  • 2 tsp borax
  • ½ teaspoon natural liquid soap
  • 1 cup hot water.

Mix ingredients together in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray again. Surfaces much be wiped thoroughly, or a safe but unsightly whitish residue will be left behind by the washing soda. This formula will keep indefinitely.

Soap scum can be removed with vinegar. Simply soak the affected areas and wash clean. For tough scum problems combine one teaspoon of borax with half a teaspoon of liquid soap and two cups of hot water. Spray and sponge clean.

Toilets can be cleaned with either vinegar, or baking soda, depending on what the problem is. Vinegar will work well on mineral build-up. Baking soda will handle common soils. Apply them separately for maximum effect. For deodorising, perform a final scrub with peppermint, or another essential oil, after the cleaners have been flushed away. For sanitation, spray with hydrogen peroxide, or use a combination of two tsp of tea tree oil in two cups of water. Add some of this to the bowl, scrub, let it sit for a few minutes, and flush.

Rust stains will disappear when subjected to a solution consisting of one tbsp of cream of tartar and adequate hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Cover the stain with this mixture and let it sit for several hours.

Mould and mildew can be wiped out with a simple solution of two tbsp of tea tree oil in two cups of water. Spray this on the affected area, let it sit for half-an-hour and then wipe clean. This formula also kills bacteria. Another idea is to spray the affected area with vinegar immediately with a spray of hydrogen peroxide.

Window and glass cleaners are toxic to people and the environment. They contain solvents capable of triggering neurological, respiratory and organ damage; highly corrosive chemicals like phosphoric acid, or ammonia; and, synthetic dyes, or perfumes, primarily derived from petroleum and toxic coal tars are not good. What’s worse is these products are sprayed whenever used and spraying disperses the toxins over a wider area beyond the window itself.

Here are some useful suggestions for cleaning windows and other glass surfaces —

  • Invest in a good spray bottle and squeegee. Fill the bottle with a mixture of two cups of
  • water and one quarter cup of distilled vinegar
  • The first time, or two, you clean your windows, add a half teaspoon of natural liquid soap

to the homemade window cleaners. This will help cut the wax that is found in common

window cleaners that gets left behind when they’re used

  • Apply the spray, scrub the window with the squeegee scrubber and then squeegee the

liquid over and down to a single corner

  • Use a lint-free chamois cloth to polish streaks away.

Note: Do not use an old newspaper to clean windows, because it spreads ink everywhere and makes the newspaper non-recyclable.

Floor cleaners are just another mixture of different chemicals from synthetic detergents and fragrances to dispersal and suspension agents and solvents. Products meant to shine and polish floors are deliberately designed to leave residues behind. They typically contain a strong acid, or solvent, to dissolve the previous washing’s wax and allow dirt to be lifted. Here’s a secret: you can clean most of the floors you’ll find in a home with just two things: old-fashioned soap and hot water. The drying time will be increased, as water dries slower than most cleaning products, but the non-toxic benefits are perfect.

Carpet cleaning. Rent a steam cleaner and fill it with a formula of 1/8 cup liquid soap and two gallons of hot water. Add ½ teaspoon of borax, or washing soda, per quart of water for extremely dirty carpets.

Dr RYAN N HARRISON, PsyD, MA, BCIH, EFT-ADV, HHP, NC, MH, QTP, LWM, HSM, is a holistic health educator and consultant in private practice. He also holds a post-graduate degree in transpersonal psychology and certifications as a nutritional consultant, holistic health practitioner, spiritual counsellor, and quantum-touch. Aside from being an advanced practitioner of EFT [Emotional Freedom Techniques], Harrison teaches and lectures in conventional and online forums. He lives in California, US. 

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