Healthy Natural Cleaning Solutions That Don't Destroy Your Health and the Environment
Our skin absorbs all day long. Health involves looking closely at what we expose our skin to, including the fabrics our clothes are made of, the soaps we wash our clothes in, how we dry our clothes, the cleaners we use and what we wash our hands with when we are out in public. Everything we touch matters. In order to clear up skin conditions and totally detoxify our body, we must be willing to take a serious look at everything our skin touches.
CLEANERS, SOAPS, DETERGENTS: WHAT ARE WE EXPOSING OUR SKIN AND ENVIRONMENT TO?
Years ago we got rid of the chemical cleaners, and the unhealthy dish and laundry soaps that we were using. Their labels said “All Natural,” or “Environmentally Friendly,” but their ingredient lists included several harmful chemicals. We’ve found that these “buzz words” don’t mean anything coming from the big chemical corporations. The best thing to do is read every label and look up the ingredients. If a product includes a synthetic chemical, we avoid it knowing that whatever we flush down our drain eventually becomes the water we drink in the future.
We have a septic system and a leach field that sends our waste water into the soil around our home. Fruit trees, gardens, animals, bees, friendly bugs, birds and my family are all sustained from this soil. It makes no sense to poison ourselves. Even though urban areas have waste treatment facilities that treat sewage and waste water, they are not able to totally clean it up before dumping it back into the environment. Drugs and chemicals pass through many treatment facilities and end up back in the ground water. Plants absorb them and humans eat the plants. What happens when all these different drugs and chemicals mix and become the drinking water for future generations?
Anti-bacterial products are being pushed onto Americans by big corporate marketing companies. Most public schools, day care facilities, and stores are stocked with anti-bacterial soaps in their dispensers. These anti-life products contain certain chemicals that are so toxic that they are outlawed throughout Europe. Triclosan and triclocarban are found in soaps, cleaners, shampoos, mouth washes, toothpastes, body washes, deodorants, exercise clothing marked to fight odor, kitchen cutting boards and gadgets marked germ-fighting, school supplies, many plastic toys, some carpets and even some baby pacifiers.
Manufacturers are NOT required to disclose these chemicals on the label. If the label says “antibacterial,” “anti-odor,” “odor-fighting technology,” “antimicrobial,” “Microban,” or any germ killing claims, the product probably contains triclosan and/or triclocarban. For decades it has been proven that these toxic chemicals lead to the rise of mutant superbugs. Once washed down the drain, wastewater treatment plants struggle to remove triclosan from water, so it makes its way into rivers and streams where it’s toxic to the immune systems of fish and other wildlife.
Triclosan and Triclocarban are the most abundant drugs in wastewater treatment plant sludge, accounting for 60 percent of the mass of all drugs detectable in sewage sludge. About 435,000 pounds of these antimicrobial chemical are dumped onto U.S. farmland every year destroying beneficial soil microbes and creating breeding grounds for drug-resistant pathogens and food contaminated with soap chemicals that ends up in our grocery stores. The antimicrobial chemicals sometimes contain carcinogenic dioxin, which has persisted in some soils for 50 years.
These chemicals are known to cause thyroid problems, abnormal hormone health, decreases in levels of testosterone and sperm production, early puberty, disrupted growth in human fetuses, damaged heart and skeletal muscle function, interruption of cellular communication necessary for all muscle contraction. Many public school children in America are being exposed to these chemicals daily over 12+ years.
NATURAL CLEANERS SAVE HEALTH, MONEY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Since switching to all natural cleaners we have saved considerable money and we are much healthier. We make most of our cleaners at home for pennies compared to what we used to spend. All of the cleaners and soaps we have included in this section are easy to make. Some of them are probiotic and some are not. We have found that adding live probiotic cultures to cleaning products greatly improves their efficiency. Instead of wiping out the microorganisms (good & bad) the way anti-bacterial products do, beneficial microorganisms combat unhealthy microbes turning poisons into food without leaving toxic chemical residue on our dishes, counters, and appliances, bathrooms or in our laundry. Essential and Beneficial Microorganisms help to break down toxins, odors, and pathogens.
Just this last year we started adding SCD Essential Probiotics to our liquid dish soap, our laundry soap, and our spray cleaners. We found that it leaves our hands so soft and healthy.
Beneficial Microorganisms added directly to wash water.
I wasn’t sure how well the probiotics added to our laundry soap were working until one day I discovered my son had left his wet flannel sheets in the washer for two days with the lid closed after washing them in our homemade laundry soap. I started to wash them all over again, but had a feeling to pull them out and smell them. Much to my surprise there was no mildew smell at all. They were fresh and clean. The beneficial microbes had prevented pathogenic bacteria and molds from growing.
Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe
We have been using this recipe for years. It is not a detergent so it doesn’t suds up in the washer. But it isn’t the big suds you see that really cleans things. Detergents are extremely harsh on washing machines, pipes, gaskets and the environment, let alone your body. Soaps without detergents still clean things and they do kill harmful germs if they have live probiotics in them.
Heat ½ gallon non-chlorinated water on the stove until hot. Add 1 soap bar grated. We use soap shavings from all the different soaps we make. Small bar pieces left in the shower can be accumulated and used as well. Add the soap gratings to the hot water, stir and melt into the water. To this mix add 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda. We buy these at our local grocery store. Mix well. We use a stick blender. Pour into a five gallon plastic bucket and add three more gallons of water. Blend well again. Put a lid on it to keep it clean and let sit overnight. You can add essential oils to give it an aroma if desired. Essential oils are also natural germ killers. Blend to mix again as needed.
You can store it in the bucket or pour it into recycled plastic or glass jars. Use ½ to ¾ cup per load depending on the size and the degree of dirt or grime. You can use this laundry soap to pre-treat stains. I add SCD Essential Probiotics to each wash. Just a few drops contains thousands of beneficial microbes. For mildew-smelling towels or clothes I may add 1/8 tsp for a very full load. Our soaps also contain several probiotic cultures, so not only is my laundry getting naturally disinfected, my clothes are more healthy for my body and all these amazing microbes are going down into my septic system and blessing the earth.
Probiotic Liquid Dish Soap Recipe
Heat ½ gallon non-chlorinated water on stove. Add 1 bar soap grated or shaved and melt. Add 1/8 cup liquid glycerin and essential oils as desired. Let this mix cool and add 1 tsp liquid essential microorganisms. We use SCD Essential Probiotics. Stir with whisk or stick blender and store in recycled containers. Use as needed according to the amount of grease on dishes and pans.
Vinegar as a Cleaner: A straight 5% solution of vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of common mold, and 80% of germs and viruses. We mix vinegar and water together in a spray bottle to clean and disinfect surfaces. To further increase the cleaning power against pathogenic bacteria, try adding essential oils like tea tree, peppermint, thyme, eucalyptus, and lemon. For greasy areas: mix ¼ cup white vinegar with 2 cups hot water and a couple of squirts of biodegradable liquid soap. Disinfect and deodorize sponges and dish rags by soaking in 1 quart hot water and ¼ c. vinegar overnight.
You can make your own Kombucha Vinegar by letting it culture for over a month. Once it has turned to vinegar, strain it and add essential oils. Use it in place of other types of vinegar.
Pots and Pans: combine 50% baking soda and 50% white vinegar to make a paste for scrubbing pans. To remove greasy, burned-on stains from cookware, add 2 tsp. washing soda, hot water and a squirt of natural dishwashing liquid. Bring to boil on stove, simmer 15 minutes. Do not use on aluminum cookware.
Pipes and drains: keep fresh smelling by putting 1/3 cup baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar down the drain. Let sit an hour before flushing. Washer tub and hoses: remove soap accumulations by running machine for a full cycle with a pint of vinegar.
Bathroom Cleaner: Shower curtains: Put 1-2 cups white vinegar in the rinse cycle, soak before finishing the cycle. To prevent mold, spray curtain with 50/50 water and vinegar solution. Sink, tub and shower: spray with a vinegar and water solution of 80% and 40%, leave 10 minutes and then scrub. Toilet: put ½ cup full strength vinegar in bowl and let sit overnight, or for at least an hour.
Natural Cleanser: Use in toilets and on surfaces that don’t scratch. Mix 1 cup baking soda, ½ cup salt and ½ cup borax powder. Pour ingredients into container and mix well. Shake powder mix on surfaces and scrub. For heavy stains, lightly wet surfaces with water or undiluted white vinegar. Sprinkle powder on and let sit 5 minutes. Scrub. Rinse with vinegar or wipe down with hydrogen peroxide. We make a super cleanser that contains the following: Diatomaceous Earth, Zeolite, Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda and Salt. We have our younger children help with this project. They don’t always measure the ingredients very accurately, but the cleaner always works. It must be in part to all the love they put into it.
Floors: add 1 cup of white vinegar to a bucket of warm water and mop floor.
Glass: spray 50/50 water and vinegar mix on glass and then wipe clean with a squeegee or dish towels. If you coat a mix of 50/50 water and white vinegar on your car windows, it will help keep them free from frost.
Furniture: Remove water stains and scratches from wood furniture with a mixture of 50/50 white vinegar and olive oil. For vinyl surfaces mix 2 Tb. liquid soap with ½ cup white vinegar, wipe and dry.
All Purpose Cleaner: Mix ½ cup washing soda in one gallon water. Wash surface, then rinse. For sensitive skin, use gloves. For tough jobs on glass or stone, make a paste of washing soda and water, leave on overnight, then rinse.
Laundry: Remove stains and grease on cottons and lines by soaking in a strong solution of washing soda, then wash normally. Washing soda can remove grease, blood, ink, tea, and coffee stains. For blood stains, soak in cold water and spray hydrogen peroxide on the blood, then soak and wash in cold water. Sweat stains: combine 2 Tb. cream of tarter, a few drops of lemon essential oil and water to make a paste. Mix and spread the paste over the stain. Rub it in and allow to dry before washing.
Note: Keep in mind that sometimes it’s best to allow stained garments to air dry after washing them. That way, if a stain remains you can continue to work on it and it won’t be set in by the heat of the dryer.
Remove toxic manufacturing chemicals by adding 1-2 cups of white vinegar in the wash cycle with a natural biodegradable soap, or add a Tb. of powdered zeolite to the laundry to remove chemicals. Remove perspiration odors and stains by soaking clothes overnight in ¼ cup of white vinegar, then wash. Remove static by adding ½ cup white vinegar to rinse cycle. To soften clothes, disinfect and deodorize clothes, add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle.
Kitchen: Ovens, range tops, broiler pans, use a solution of ½ cup washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water. Apply and soak for at least 30 minutes. Rinse and dry. For touch cleaning spots, sprinkle washing soda dry on a damp scrubber pad and scrub. Use a spray of vinegar and water to disinfect surfaces.
Insects: spray 50/50 vinegar and water on areas where ants and other insects invade. Vinegar is a non-toxic pesticide. Also try using chili powder, diatomaceous earth powder, or salt.