Thursday, October 10, 2013

Natural Cleaning Products

Since I have gotten pregnant I have been looking for more natural cleaning products. I have to admit, I'm a bit of a cleaning product whore. I go through cleaning phases where I use only homemade natural products, and then I switched back to the chemical, and bleach based stuff. I just can't decide what is better.

Let me give you a little background. A while ago, I made my own cleaning sprays with vinegar, and sometimes I just mix a little Mrs. Meyer's floor cleaner with water for the counters.

This worked great for me, but over last winter we hired a cleaning lady to come once every two weeks and she liked to use the "normal" stuff, Windex, Clorox Bleach Spray, and Bona for the floors. This was ok, because I was not in the house when she cleaned. But I hated to come home to the smell of all those chemicals (although having someone else clean is a dream, I know that!).

Since I have now taken over the cleaning again I realized that some of the products she used, just hid the dirt and didn't really clean the house. The Bleach Spray was great for my kitchen sink, granted, but the Bona? Bona is a floor spray that you dry mop. My cleaning lady said this was better for the floors than water and any kind of "soap." But when I started to clean the floors myself I saw that this is just not true. When Bona was used the floors LOOKED clean, but instead the stuff just put a layer of "varnish-like-stuff" over my floors, under that shiny varnish was the same dirt. Over the summer I have spent hours scraping up bits of dirt that has collected over the eight months that we used Bona.

There is a lot of debate as the the best product to use on wood floors. Some swear by products like Pine Sol, or Murphy's Oil, and others swear they wear down the wood. I don't know the answers, and honestly, I'm just as confused as the next person. But I do know that when I have my little one, I don't want him or her to crawl around on a floor that is both covered with dirt and covered with a chemical varnish that hides said dirt.

Now that I'm bringing a baby into the world I really feel it is time to commit to some serious natural products. I have decided to go right back to the basics: water, vinegar, soap, and (because that's what my mom used) Tea Tree Oil.

Cleaning with soap, water and natural products just makes more sense to me. In this society we have reverted to so many "time saving" products that we end up coating out house in chemicals instead of really cleaning it. My mother always told me, and I have found the same info on countless medical sites as well, that the best way to disinfect something is with good old soap and water. We don't need crazy antibacterial products, or to spray our house within an inch of it's life with some chemical. Soap, water and your good.

Tea Tree Oil is a great essential oil to add to a natural cleaning product. I especially like it when I use vinegar, because the Tea Tree helps mask the vinegar smell until it can evaporate. Tea Tree Oil is also great because it is a natural disinfectant and repels bugs. Last summer we had a big ant problem. This spring when they started to come back, I washed all the floors in the house with Tea Tree oil in my mop water, and no more ants. They just left.

White vinegar is also a great disinfectant, and people eat it. I figure if people eat the product, it must be good. I have had a lot of luck with white vinegar as a cleaning product.

Another great, natural product is lemon. I often clean my wood cutting boards with lemon to get out the smell of garlic and onions. When my step mother had a problem with ants on  her cutting boards I cleaned them with lemon and again, the ants stopped crawling on her wood cutting boards. I have started to experiment with making my own lemon infused white vinegar, and I will let you know how that works out next time I wash the floors.

So, from now on, I'm sticking to my new recipe. Until I get the next best idea and switch again, because I am a cleaning product whore after all.
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