In spring, as we enjoy the warmer weather, longer days and watching the Earth renew itself, we tend to want to replenish our own lives, as well. The season inspires all different types of renewal, perhaps most notably the streamlining of our living spaces: spring cleaning!
Keeping a clean and tidy home is extremely important for our health. Clutter is disastrous for mental health specifically and removing the dirt and impurities from living spaces is both practically and socially beneficial. But, while most of us relate to the need for a neat house, we often go about cleaning in a detrimental way.
How we choose to sanitize can have a serious impact on the health of our families and of the environment. It should come as no surprise that using conventional household cleaners has a negative effect on health. We’ve all felt the burning sensation in our eyes and lightheadedness after cleaning a bathroom or kitchen. But the side effects are worse than we might think.
First of all, our skin absorbs everything with which it comes into contact. So common sense tells us that we shouldn’t touch or inhale anything that would be harmful to consume. Labels that read, “Keep out of reach of children,” and, “Harmful if swallowed,” are glaring indications that the product should be avoided. The toxic chemicals used to make these cleaners do, in fact, kill bacteria, but they are also negatively affecting us.
And the exposure doesn’t end with cleaning: After using conventional cleaners, surfaces are covered with toxic chemicals. And when we walk barefoot across our kitchen floors or eat pieces of fruit that fell onto our counters, we are exposing ourselves to passive poisons.
But enough about us—what about the environment? When we wash these chemicals down the sink’s drain, they pollute our water supply and infect our planet with toxicities.
There is a bright side, though. There are a growing number of safe, natural and eco-friendly household cleaners on the market. Brands like Seventh Generation are now even available at conventional stores and are just as effective as their dangerous chemical alternatives.
And it is just as easy and—in my opinion—better to mix household cleaners from organic food products found in our kitchen cabinets. Staples like vinegar, lemons, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are extremely effective cleaning agents that are both natural and safe. A simple 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water is an ideal all purpose cleaner that kills germs, bacteria and mold.
Here is a recipe for my “Super Cleaner” that works for both the kitchen and bathroom. The results are surprisingly good and we can sleep easy knowing that we are limiting exposure to harsh chemicals:
3 ½ cups water
¼ cup baking soda
Juice from 2 lemons
1/8 cup vinegar
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large container.
2. Transfer to a spray bottle and use immediately.