Constant sneezing, headaches, burning or itchy eyes, shortness of breath. If you’ve ever felt like you had allergies after a full day of cleaning, it may have been more than the dust. Conventional cleaning products may have been the culprit. Many of these products (all purpose cleaners, bleach, air fresheners, glass cleaners, etc.) are allergens and can be highly toxic to people and the environment.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside the typical home is on average 2-5 times more polluted than the air just outside-and in extreme cases 100 times more contaminated-largely because of household cleaners and pesticides.

The fumes created from combining bleach and ammonia can be deadly.
Clean up your act by using natural cleaning products. There are now some good products on the market. And although they can be a bit pricey, the long-term benefits for your health and the planet may be well worth it.
Here are a few things you may have in your pantry now that you can use to make your own cleaning products:

  1. White distilled vinegar: undiluted vinegar kills mold, bacteria and germs due to high acidity levels.
  2. Baking soda: its mild abrasive action and natural deodorizing properties make it a powerful replacement for harsh commercial scouring powders
  3. Lemon juice: neutralizes hard water deposits, dissolves buildup of dirt on wood and tarnish on silver
  4. Essential oils: Not only do essential oils smell heavenly, but many have antimicrobial properties too. Lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, orange, thyme, oregano and peppermint oils are all a great addition to cleaning products.

Here’s a quick recipe that is easy to make and fun to use.

Natural Cleansing Scrub

  • 1 part Vinegar
  • 1 part Baking Soda
  • 20 drops of lemon or orange essential oil

This is great on everything. Use it to clean the tub and shower, a stained coffee pot, or a greasy, grimy stove top. It cleans completely, leaving nothing behind but a clean, shiny surface. Fill an empty spray bottle with distilled white vinegar and essential oil, spray a generous amount on desired surface, then sprinkle with baking soda. Clean immediately or leave on for several minutes for heavy cleaning jobs.

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