One of the first cleaning tasks I was trusted with as a kid was dusting the dining room. The chairs were a bit of a nuisance with all the spokes I had to get around, but I absolutely loved dusting the piano. I know it sounds crazy, but there I was, rag and Endust in hand, taking care of that beautiful instrument. I think it was probably the immediate gratification of how shiny the wood got as soon as I ran the rag over it…
Annnnywayys, enough reminiscing. After I started getting into nutrition, and really being concerned with the quality of food I was putting in my body, not to mention avoiding putting toxins in my body, it was a natural progression to start critically looking at the products I used to clean my house. One quick search on Google directed me to what is now one of my favourite websites: Environmental Working Group. One of the many things they do is use peer-reviewed, scientific studies to assess products and tell you exactly what they think – and boy are they harsh!
I immediately threw out everything I had. I usually recommend slowly transitioning products over, but when it comes to cleaning products, just get rid of ’em. They’re not that expensive and holy bejeezus they’re full of toxins. I started buying “environmentally-friendly” products – you know, the ones labelled “green”, “natural” or “chemical-free” (none of these labels have any legislated protection by the way). The only problem was they still had a bazillion ingredients (some of which looked a bit sketchy to me) and they were expensive. I started to look for other solutions…little did I know, everything I needed was already in my house!
I began making my own cleaning products to decrease my toxin exposure about 3 years ago, and haven’t looked back. Why? Well not only are they incredibly effective, but they’re so inexpensive!! I try to buy my individual ingredients in bulk, but even in small sizes you absolutely beat the price any commercial product, green-washed or not! My top 2 ingredients for homemade cleaning products are:
2. Baking Soda
Followed very closely by:
4. Castille or Glycerin Soap
5. Essential Oils (top 2: Tea Tree and anything Citrus)
You can pretty much clean any room in the house with these ingredients, but it was a replacement for dusting that got me a-googling again. I know I can use a special cloth, but I honestly like to use plain old rags, and my kitchen/bathroom cleaner wasn’t cutting it, so a dusting spray was key. It stumbled across the idea of using olive oil in your dusting spray, over at One Good Thing By Jillee. Well that was just genius! I pretty much added a few tsp of olive oil to my standard cleaner and voila, a perfect dusting spray.
Homemade Dusting Spray (Natural & Toxin-Free)
1 part vinegar
4 parts water (purified or filtered to prevent build up of minerals)
citrus essential oil (optional, but makes everything smell nice. If including, use enough to mostly cover the scent of the vinegar)
a few tsp of of olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, shake well and dust away!
My spray bottle is about 1L in size, and I usually eye-ball the measurements. It typically goes something like this:
30 drops of sweet orange essential oil
2 dollops olive oil (approx. 2 tbsp)
fill the rest with filtered water
1. Since no emulsifiers are used, the oil will sit on the top of the water, simply shake it every time you use it.
2. Essential oils are absolutely not necessary, but they are totally worth the investment! A small bottle of Sweet Orange essential oil is less than $10.00 and will last you a long time.