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Essential Oils and Natural Ingredients for House Care

Allergy, Asthma, General | October 10, 2016 | Author: Naturopath

general

Essential Oils and Natural Ingredients for House Care

Commercial household cleaning products are very big business. Supermarkets dedicate entire aisles to products that promise to clean every inch of our house, our clothes, our bodies and our children. The reality is these products are expensive and chemical based and needlessly expose ourselves and our environment to dangerous and toxic ingredients. Natural cleaning products are safe on the environment and our skin, are inexpensive and incredibly easy to make.

The health risks

Numerous studies have shown the dangers in common household cleaning agents and have implemented them in increasing the risk of allergies and respiratory conditions. One study found that frequent use of bleach in home-cleaning increased a women’s risk of non-allergic adult-onset asthma, elevated neutrophil counts and lower-airway symptoms. Antimicrobial household products have also been associated with wheeze and allergic rhinitis.

Recently the FDA banned triclosan in antibacterial hand soaps as it was shown the substance was toxic, causing endocrine disruption and muscle weakness.

Hazardous cleaning products also pose a significant risk of poisoning, especially to young children.

Tools of the trade

To avoid relying on synthetic chemicals to remove grime and dirt, try using the suggestions below along with microfiber cloths, an old toothbrush, a scrub brush and a microfiber mop. Using a steam cleaner either handheld or for carpet/hard surfaces is also a great alternative to using chemicals.

Good old vinegar

Do yourself a favour and next time you’re at the supermarket pick up an inexpensive bottle of vinegar. This versatile ingredient can be used anywhere in the home and acts as a natural antibacterial agent. It can also be used as a natural fabric softener, removes mineral deposits and mildew. Try the following recipe as an alternative to a store-bought chemical cleaning spray.

Basic everyday vinegar spray

Add the following ingredients into a spray bottle and use on windows, floors, grout, kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

  • One cup white vinegar
  • One cup water
  • 5 drops of liquid soap
  • 20 drops of essential oil (optional)

Bicarbonate of soda

This ingredient can also be used to clean basically anywhere in the house. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in water to make a simple spray to use on any surface.

  • ¼ cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1L of water
  • 20 drops of essential oil (optional)

Sprinkle baking soda straight from the pack if a more abrasive action is needed. Use as a natural deodorizer by sprinkling on carpets before vacuuming and in smelly shoes. To deodorise microwaves and banish food odours use the above recipe in a microwave safe cup and heat for one minute.

Commercial drain cleaners are among the most toxic household products, not to mention the negative impact they have on the environment. To unblock drains put ½ cup of baking soda in the drain followed by ½ cup of vinegar and allow to bubble. Pour down 2 litres of hot water to complete the process.

Boost cleaning formulas with essential oils

Make your home-made cleaning products smell great and add extra properties to enhance their effectiveness. The following is a list of the most popular essential oils to use and how they can be implemented into your cleaning regime.

Not just about the smell. Some essential oils  are antimicrobial. 

Citrus essential oils such as lemon and orange give a clean and fresh scent. Citrus oils are antibacterial and are excellent for cutting through grease.

Eucalyptus oil possesses a unique medicinal smell that packs quite a punch. Use in cleaning to kill bacteria, viruses and even parasites. Add to laundry with washing powder to kill dust mites.

Tea Tree oil has a multitude of different uses for around the home. Add to cleaning sprays as a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic. Add to laundry as a booster for heavily soiled clothing and to kill lice. Use to deodorise and clean bins and to remove mould and mildew.

Lavender. Feel calm and happy while you clean the house by using lavender essential oil in your sprays. Lavender helps to remove bacteria and viruses and can even save you from having to iron again. Spray your clothes with a lavender and oil solution (1 tsp oil to 1 litre water) after they come out of the washing machine to naturally remove creases.

Clove. For removing mould and mildew from wood, bathrooms, carpet, fabric, walls and ceilings try clove oil diluted in a spray. Alternatively, add a blend of clove, lavender and eucalyptus essential oils to the basic vinegar spray. For removing mould from leather add ¼ tsp of clove oil to a small bottle of baby oil and rub onto the affected area.

Laundry basics

Laundry detergents contain a long list of chemicals that damage the environment and can also be implicated in health conditions such as contact dermatitis. Try a natural alternative that is vegetable-based and biodegradable and free from synthetic fragrances and bleach. Eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils can be added directly to clothing for stain removal or included as part of the wash cycle for more intensive cleaning. Add ½ cup of bicarbonate of soda to reduce the amount of washing powder used and to brighten whites and colours. Avoid the use of fabric softeners and try using vinegar instead or lavender essential oil for a fresh scent.

Cleaning floors

The easiest way to clean tile floors is to use a microfiber mop.

Simply dampen the cloth pad, add a few drops of any of the above oils and away you go.

For more soiled areas use some of the above cleaning sprays on the affected areas. For wooden floors use a dry or damp mop and avoid vinegar and essential oils.
 

As you can see there are lots of safe and effective products to use in the home as an alternative to chemical based products. Not only will they save you money and reduce your impact on the environment but will reduce your family’s exposure to potentially harmful ingredients.

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References

Matulonga B, et al. Women using bleach for home cleaning are at increased risk of non-allergic asthma. Respir Med 2016 Aug;117:264-71
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27492540

Hong S, et al. Association between exposure to antimicrobial household products and allergic symptoms. Environ Health Toxicol 2014 Nov 21;29:e2014017
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25420879

http://www.australianallergycentre.com.au/health-alert-antibacterial-hand-wash-ban/

Wilkinson JM, Cavanagh HM. Antibacterial activity of essential oils from Australian native plants. Phytother Res. 2005 Jul;19(7):643-6
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16161028

http://www.back-to-basics-cleaning.com/

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