Thursday, March 21, 2013

Natural Living: Spring into Natural Cleaning



Welcome to the March 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Naturally Spring Cleaning. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our carnival participants have written posts about how they keep their homes clean - naturally.
At Live Love Dew you've mostly seen Skincare and Home Fragrance options, but we have a natural interest in safe home cleaning products that we hope to debut in the future, but for now let's talk about DIY.  

Why should we use Natural Products which are typically everyday products that we already have in our home, for cleaning our tubs to washing our laundry?  Not only is it safer for you and the environment it's also safe for your wallet, there are so many versatile ingredients out there that it's a shame to spend $4 to clean your tub, $4+ to wash dishes in your dishwasher, $4 to clean your windows when you can spend less than $10 and have years of supplies of cleaning products. 
We all inhale and are subjected to enough toxins in our homes, work places and outdoors, why breathe in more when you are opening up your pores (which can happen with spring cleaning when we are scrubbing, organizing, etc. when we sweat) and breathing harder because you are using that amazing elbow grease we all use when Spring Cleaning season arrives.

Most cleaning recipes need just a few ingredients and almost all are available at your local grocery store; White Vinegar, Baking Soda, Borax, Washing Soda, Castile Soap & Essential oils for various cleaning options or smells.

One of our favorite versatile cleaners is White Vinegar.  We use it in our laundry for not only a safer alternative to fabric softener but also a great odor eliminator when it comes to stinky sweaty clothes and is also the only thing we've found to remove urine smell from those potty training accidents.  It's also a great way to descale your shower head or kitchen faucet, you can simply put some in a Ziploc bag and rubber band it to the nozzle overnight and in the morning t's like magic and you'll notice that your shower head is back to spraying like it did when it was brand new.

Another simple ingredient we use in our homes is baking soda.  Baking soda is great for pet accidents (simply clean area the best you can, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on spot, let dry then vacuum up), it's also great for potty accidents, especially on a mattress, apply the baking soda to the wet area generously let dry and then vacuum up with a shop vac or vacuum attachment.  Baking soda is also great to use as a shower scrub to get in grout or those tough spots that need a little more than elbow grease alone can handle.  You can also use to clean toilets; it'll help get any stains out with its gentle exfoliating action, which is also great for the kitchen sink or stovetop.

Now to discuss some great recipes you can make at home for cleaning. 

Scrub to make and keep for sinks or tough areas, especially for the kitchen.
1 cup of baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 drops sweet orange essential oil
Combine in an air tight container, add ingredients and shake well to blend.  Apply to any tough stains in the kitchen and enjoy the spicy aroma of the orange and cinnamon combined, you'll find it smells a lot like our Spice Candle that was popular this year.

Carpet Deodorizer
Why buy it at the store?  You have no idea what all is included in this powder, but by making your own, you can even make it unscented or add the fragrance you prefer. 
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Borax
12-15 drops of your favorite essential oil (use tea tree oil to remove bacteria, eucalyptus to disinfect, lavender for calming scent or your favorite oil) 
Combine in an air tight container.  After sprinkling on carpet wait an hour or overnight if possible before vacuuming.  You can also put a spoonful in your vacuum cleaner bag to help control those odors that fill the air when you turn it on.

Natural Easy as can be Dryer Sheets
Use old scraps of cotton (old t-shirts, towels, etc.) cut into 6 inch strips
Apply 5 drops of essential oil or your choice and throw in dryer with clothes to freshen and add a pleasant smell. (Don’t add more or it could get on your clothes)

After doing some research, we found that our dishtowels used to be boiled (I used to say in the olden days, now my daughter would say back in the 80's?)...whose washing machine gets to a boiling temperatures these days?  It may not be feasible to boil your dishtowels every time, but this is a great way to make sure the germs are gone and keep them white if that is the color you use.  Use this easy recipe: Add tea tree oil to boiling water, remove from stove and put your dishtowels and allow to soak until the water cools before putting them in the washer, do this once every 4 months to kill those tiny microbes that are clinging to your kitchen towels you use for everything.

Some essential oils to add for various cleaning:  Tea Tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial and is perfect when cleaning toilet seats to counter tops or any place bacteria seems to lurk.  Eucalyptus oil is also a great disinfectant and actually improves with age, so if you've had some for a year it's going to disinfect better than what you just purchased from the store, it's great to know some things we may not use daily do get better with age.  Here’s another popular scent we've been making for our own skincare products, to make your own natural Vanilla Fragrance Oil check out our recipe here.

If you ever wondered what’s in your cleaning products, you probably don't know the half of it, most don't list ingredients, they may list an active ingredient and that's it, be careful what your using...not only are you exposed to it, but so is your family and pets.

Which of these look easy enough for you to try?  Do you have ideas you can share?
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Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

16 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! Great tips - I'll definitely be trying the cinnamon in the kitchen cleaner and the tshirt scraps for an alternative to dryer sheets is genius!

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  2. I love the dryer sheet tips! I cannot wait to try it!!!

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  3. I had never thought of using cinnamon - I'll have to try that! I bet it smells great with orange oil!

    I used to use Borax until I recently found it it's not safe - it got an F from EWG :-( Not sure what to do with the box I have. http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/2507-20MuleTeamBoraxNaturalLaundryBoosterMultiPurposeHouseholdCleaner.

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    1. Yikes, thanks Chrystal for sharing, another reason why we can't rely on others telling us things are safe or natural and we have to research it for ourselves.

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    2. I also read this and other databases say differently, it is something you'll have to research for yourself and make the decision on what you feel comfortable with. It seems to still be a better alternative than store bought products.

      http://www.crunchybetty.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-or-not

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  4. Ditto on the dryer sheet tips - love that idea!! Thanks for sharing!!

    - Jess
    Sparkles and Crafts

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  5. I need to keep those tips in mind when my daughter is ready for potty training. And I need to buy some essential oils. :) Thanks for sharing your great tips.

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  6. Thanks for the tips, I'll try them out during my next weekend of cleaning.

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  7. I love the carpet deo tip. I am trying so hard to not use chemicals in our home, I think my Lupus, an auto-immune disease, may very well be triggered by these kinds of toxins! Thanks for the tips!

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  8. Got some new cleaning freshing ideas from reading this information I use alot of vinegar and I need more essential oils, cause my house smells kinda Vinegary after a heavy day, but it does disappear...lol. though the house cleaning does not

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  9. Thanks for sharing these great recipes!

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  10. Thank you for sharing these great natural cleaning supply ideas on Wellness Wednesdays! I'm pinning this one :)

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  11. I love these tips- especially the one for the shower head! Thank you so much. I've always used vinegar and baking soda, but I had never heard about using essential oils as cleaners- fabulous!! :)

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  12. Thanks for these amazing suggestions, really nice post!

    Laundry products

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  13. Nice tips on cleaning, i like it. Thank you sharing this blog, good work.
    upholstery and furniture cleaning geelong

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