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Do you do spring cleaning?! I always get a bug in me around this time of year to get my house all shiny. What causes that? Maybe the change in weather, the flowers blooming and trees turning green again. I feel all happy and I want my home to sparkle!
But what I don’t want is chemicals being spread around as I clean. Did you know that even the fragrances added to cleaners can interfere with respiratory health and cause toxic reactions? A few years ago we began eliminating chemical cleaners and now that I am used to being without them, I can’t even walk down the cleaner aisle in the grocery store. I get immediately really sick. I read that when we are repeatedly exposed to these chemicals we get used to them, but they are still potentially doing damage to our bodies. So when we think, “Oh, that doesn’t bother me,” it’s likely that you are just used to it even though it could still be causing harm.
But the transition to natural wasn’t always easy. The chemical cleaners do a good job and they’re often easier to use than natural alternatives. I don’t WANT to make my own (fill in the blank) when I can just buy it at the grocery store. I love it now but I want to be honest, it took some time. I say that to encourage you to hang on and keep at it if you’re still making the switch. You’ll find your groove! And then one day after you’ve been off chemical cleaners you’ll smell a chemical additive that you used to have in your home all the time and it will gross you out. Then you’ll know and think to yourself, “Lisa was right, this stuff is bad and now I should send her some flowers or something.”
In fact, I taught a class this week about cleaning with natural products and thought I’d share some of my favorite tips with you! I covered so much that I can’t give it all here so this is just my top 6.
- Baking soda! I buy it at the dollar store for 50¢ and put a few scoops into a mason jar. Then I add my essential oil of choice: lemon for the kitchen, lavender for the bedroom, it depends on what you’re doing with it. Then I shake it all up (the measurements are not exact, maybe 1/2 C soda with 15 drops of oil) and punch holes in the top of the jar. Now you have a shaker with many uses! And when I am not using it I put a whole lid on the jar WITH the holed one (so there are 2 lids) and it won’t spill. You can use this to clean your sink or tub, sprinkle over your mattress and leave it for an hour, then vacuum for a fresh mattress. You can sprinkle it over your carpet and vacuum after half an hour. So many ideas! Think of it for anywhere you need to deodorize or as a gentle abrasive.
- White vinegar. I get vinegar in a gallon jug and it usually lasts me about a year. I add it to my laundry, pour it in a stinky potty, run it diluted through the coffee pot or your iron. There are great books written about how to use vinegar for cleaning, so go find your favorites!
- Thieves Cleaner! This stuff is amazing. I keep a spray bottle of it in the kitchen and all bathrooms. I spray it on the kitchen counters every night when I close down the kitchen (then toss all rags and towels in the washing machine to be washed every day), I clean the sinks with it, wipe down areas of high touch traffic (light switches, door knobs, piano keys, computer keyboards, faucets, etc). Clean out the fridge, the trash cans, I even put a capful into the laundry when it’s extra stinky. Clean the baby toys with it. AND did you know it does a great job on glass?! SAY WHAT?! I am just going to admit here that even though Young Living recommends different ratios of water-cleaner for different uses, I use the same ratio for everything. I don’t want 4 different bottles with Thieves cleaner in them. I like to spray, wipe and go.
- The sun….Remember the Raffi song, “Mr, Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!”? Well look it up, it’s so cheerful! Anyway, the sun is a great cleaner. Hang your clothes on the line for a fresh, crisp clean. If you have whites, the sun will brighten them up for you. Rinse out a stinky trash can and leave it in the sun to dry and deodorize. I always hung my cloth diapers in the sun after washing. And if you want a SUPER clean mattress…about once a year do the baking soda trick then drag it outside on a sunny day. Oh my will it be nice and fresh after that!
- Dryer balls. This is for those of us who don’t want stiff towels. I like my sheets dried on the line, I like my towels and underwear not to scratch my skin when I use them. So I dry them and most of our clothing in the machine. BUT, if you add these wool dryer balls it can shorter then drying time up to 40% and the clothes come out softer! Yes, no synthetic softening agents, just good old wool. Then, to make it EVEN BETTER, add 5-6 drops of an essential oil to one of them and it makes your laundry smell divine. Lavender is my fave for this! I’ve found that the oil lasts for about 5 loads. But you need THESE and not the rubber kind. Those are noisy and you can’t add oils to them.
- Use your diffuser! You can use the diffuser for several reasons. It is wonderful for getting oils into the air and to the entire family when you need support for staying or getting healthy. But it’s also a great way to freshen up the air in winter or a kids’ bathroom or after cooking fish. Put some lemon or Purification or Joy in the diffuser and clear the air! I also love to use it when I want to relax….I put some lavender and cedarwood in it and just chill…..
Friends, I am not joking that getting rid of chemical cleaners can make a huge difference in your life. We have kids, pets, people we want to offer the very best to! Please think about changing the way you clean your home. I’m not trying to sell you something here, this is from the heart.
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