Recently, we were gathered together getting ready for our weekly family night and one little rascal was noticeably absent. We were waiting for her to come and join us so we could get started but it was really quiet. I called out several times, yelling her name down the hall. Nothing. No little feet toddling back down the hall towards us. I asked our oldest if she could see her down the hall (our apartment is miniscule so there are only a few places she could go) and she said she couldn’t see her. By that time, I knew the quiet could only mean there was some serious mischief-making going on. I got up to check out what was going on. There in the bathroom in the dark was a little 18 month old ‘cleaning’ the toilet with baking soda all over the place. She had the baking soda scooper in one hand and the toilet brush in the other and looked up at me with a face that said, “What, mom? I’m helping!” I laughed, ran and grabbed the camera and thanked my lucky stars that I made the switch to non-toxic cleaners.
There’s nothing like having a child to change how you view the world. It was after the birth of my first daughter that I began to think about how she would be impacted by the world. I wanted to do all I could to provide an environment that was nurturing, nourishing and safe. It was during this time that a book was recommended to me by a dear friend. It was called “Home Enlightenment” by Annie B. Bond. It made a major impact on me and how I looked at what I allowed into my home.
After reading the book, I quickly got rid of all of the cleaners that I had been using at the time. I switched over to using Borax, baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap to take care of nearly all of my cleaning jobs. She also recommended castille soap but I could not find it where I was living at the time. Not only are they are much easier on the environment but you do not have to worry about polluting your home at the same time.
One of the effects that I noticed immediately after making the switch was that I didn’t have headaches or sneezing fits when I was in the midst of cleaning. What I thought were just bouts of allergy fits suddenly disappeared. And, I never had to worry if my daughter got into the cleaning supplies. In fact, she liked to help, too, just like her little sister!
The information about the harm that everyday cleaners (ranging from dish soap to carpet cleaners to laundry detergent) cause has become more mainstream in the last few years. I think this is a very good thing. And, manufacturers are also aware of this shift in consciousness and they are providing more environmentally friendly alternatives to toxic and polluting cleaning agents. I found, however, I didn’t need to go out and purchase expensive ‘green’ cleaning products to clean my home when I could make my own cleaning products myself. I just used an empty plastic container, filled it with borax or baking soda, punched holes in the top and voila! I had my own all-purpose cleaner. It didn’t take a lot of time and it was actually kind of fun. I felt so much better and, well…more in tune with who I wanted to be, if that makes sense.
I’m focusing on cleaning products but there are many things that you have in your home that can emit some type of pollution and you are not even aware of it. I will interview Annie B. Bond , the foremost green guru, this week and I am very excited about this! Her philosophy on home health encompasses so very much more than switching to naturally based cleaners and I hope you will be inspired by her work.
It’s nearly impossible to not pollute at all. But, you can take small steps to make your home a more harmonious place that is healthy and safe. Here are just a couple of recipes if you’re interested in switching over to non-toxic cleaners.
General All-Purpose Cleaner
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water
1 tablespoon of liquid soap
Put everything into an empty squirt bottle and you can use this to clean just about any surface. This is especially a great glass cleaner. The vinegar disinfects and the soap gets rid of smudges. Use it in your bathroom, kitchen or just about anywhere!
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Douse the inside of the bowl with vinegar and then add baking soda on top. (My kids love to watch it fizz!) Then add a little liquid soap, scrub and you’re done.
Becoming aware of our surroundings and their effect on us has the capacity to bring us closer to the world and, hopefully, to each other.
Live well and be happy!