Natural Cleaners: kitchen!

To me, the kitchen is the HEART of a HOME. There we not only cook, but gather with family and friends, do homework, have long conversations, pay the bills (as of a lack of a home office - it works!!). Unfortunetely, it's also the room where the garbage is kept, where the floors endurer the patter of muddy feet - 12 feet to be exact!! Needless to say is the hardest place to keep clean and germ free.

The kitchen is probably the most frequented room in the house and is most in need of daily cleaning!

Here are some tried and true recipes for cost-effective, healthy alternatives to kitchen cleaners:


Fruity Dishwashing Blend
liquid castile soap (for locals: I buy this at Sunflower Market)
15 drops lemon or lemongrass essential oil
6 drops lavender EO
5 drops bergamot EO
Fill aclean 22-ounce squirt bottle with castile soap. Add the essential oil. Shake the bottle before each use. Add 1 - 2 tbs of the liquid to dishwater and wash as usual.

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

Super Easy Dishwasher Powder
2cups washing soda
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
Combine all ingredients and store in a glass jar. To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartiment.

Rinse for hard water
Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to the rinse compartiment.

Kitchen Sink

Basic Cleaner
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar
3 drops lavender, rosemary, lemon, lime or orange EO
Combine all ingredients. Rinse sink with hot water. Pour the cleanser in the sink and wipe with a sponge or cloth. Rinse again with hot water.

Rust Remover
1/4 cup baking soda
5 drops essential oil of choice (see oils properties here)
juice of half lemon

Oven Cleaners
As I mentioned before, commercial oven cleaners are one of the MOST toxic products you could use. I haven't used any od these, since I am lucky enough to own a self-cleaning range! But it should work very well. But remember: no oven cleaner is a miracle worker - bummer - sometimes it may require a bit of elbow grease if there's too much build up.

Formula for "After Disaster" clean up
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup washing soda
1 box (16oz) baking soda
scant 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
10 drops thyme EO
10 drops lemon or lemongrass EO

1. Combine salt, washing soda, and baking soda in a glass bowl. Add just enough water to make a paste.
2. Remove oven racks and preheat the oven to 250F for 15 min., then turn off and leave the door open.
3.Carefully spread the paste on oven walls with a sponge or cloth and allow to set for 20 - 30 min.
4. Combine vinegar and EO in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray oven walls and wipe clean. Rinse well.

Oven Maintenance Formula
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
10 drops sweet orange, lemon or lime EO
1/2 cup hot water

1. Preheat the oven to 250F for 15 min., then turn off and leave the door open.

2. Combine the baking soda, castile soap and EOs in a spray bottle. Add water and shake well.
3. Spray oven walls and wait 20 min. Wipe clean and rinse well.

Kitchen Surfaces

Herbal Degreaser
2 cups water
1/4 cup oil-based soap (I use Murphy's)
10 drops rosemary or lavender EO
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray on surface (works well on appliances) and wipe.

Lemon Blast Cleaner
Citrus peels
White vinegar
10 drops of essential oil of choice

1. Fill a quart- to half-gallon-size glass jar with citrus peels.
2. Pour vinegar over the peels to cover.
3. Let mixture sit fot at least two and half weeks. The vinegar will take on an orange/golden hue.
4. Fill half a spray bottle with citurs-vinegar, straining as you pour. Fill the rest with water. Add the EO.
5. Shake well before each use. Spray and wipe with a cloth.

Kitchen Floor

Pine Fresh Floor Cleaner
1 gallon hot water
2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
10 drops pine EO
5 drops cypress EO
Mix all ingredients in a large bucket. Dip the mop into the mixture and squeeze out the excess liquid. Rinsing is not necessary.

Note: if you don't like the smell of pine, leave out the pine and cypress oils and add 15 drops sweet orange and 8 drops lemon or 1/4 cup lemon juice for a citrusy smell!

Blog to you soon...


Hidden Dangers of Cleaning Products

Poisons Under Your Sink: Hidden Danger of Cleaning Products
by: Glenn Beach

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has recorded many exposures to household cleaning substances that were serious enough to require treatment in a health care facility. Incredibly, according to the AAPCC the largest number of occurrences of poisoning in 1993 were due to cleaning products - drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, bleach, soaps and detergents.

One million poisonings in Canada each year are due to household cleaner ingestion. Some are fatal. Thousands of children and adults are permanently disfigured or injured through contact with chemicals in the home each year.

Here is an alphabetical list of some of the most hazardous cleansers found around the house:

AIR FRESHENERS: interfere with your ability to smell by releasing nerve-deadening agents or coating nasal passages with an oil film, usually methoxychlor, a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells. Known toxic chemicals found in an air freshener are formaldehyde, a highly toxic, known carcinogen, and phenol. When phenol touches your skin it can cause it to swell, burn, peel, and break out in hives.

AMMONIA: is a very volatile chemical and is very damaging to your eyes, respiratory tract and skin.

ANTIBACTERIAL CLEANERS: may contain triclosan, which is absorbed through the skin and can be tied to liver damage.

BLEACH: is a strong corrosive. It will irritate or burn the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. It may cause pulmonary edema or vomiting and coma if ingested. Never mix bleach with acid toilet bowl cleaners or ammonia. These mixtures may produce fumes which can be DEADLY.

CARPET AND UPHOLSTERY SHAMPOO: Most formulas are designed to over power the stain itself; they accomplish the task but not without using highly toxic substances. Some include perchlorethylene, a known carcinogen that damages liver, kidney and nervous system damage; and ammonium hydroxide, a corrosive, extremely irritable to eyes, skin and respiratory passages.

CHLORINE: The first agent of chemical warfare was chlorine. WWII ended with an abundance of this cheap chemical. In the name of huge profits, it was added to our water supply and many other products. Chlorine is the number one cause of breast cancer and can be lethal. Scientists won't handle chlorine without protective gloves, facemasks, and ventilation, yet it is in most store-brand cleaners, including dishwasher detergents. The harmful effects are intensified when the fumes are heated, as in the shower. It ís in our drinking water, swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and more.

DISHWASHER DETERGENTS: Most products contain chlorine in a dry form that is highly concentrated. The #1 cause of household poisoning is dish detergent. Dishwashing liquids are labeled"harmful if swallowed." Each time you wash your dishes, some residue is left on them, which accumulates with each washing. Your food picks up part of the residue -- especially if your meal is hot when you eat it.

FURNITURE POLISH: contain petroleum distillates, which are highly flammable and can cause skin and lung cancer. They contain nitrobenzene, which is easily absorbed through the skin and extremely toxic.

LAUNDRY ROOM PRODUCTS: Laundry detergents contain phosphorus, enzymes, ammonia, naphthalene, phenol, sodium nitilotriacetate and countless other chemicals. These substances can cause rashes, itches, allergies, sinus problems and more. The residue left on your clothes, bed sheets, etc. is absorbed through your skin, as is everything else you touch.

OVEN CLEANER: one of the most toxic products people use. They contain lye and ammonia, which eat the skin, and the fumes linger and affect the respiratory system. Then there ís the residue that ís intensified the next time you turn your oven on. 

TOILET BOWL CLEANERS: usually contain hydrochloric acid, a highly corrosive irritant to both skin and eyes that damages kidneys and liver; and hypochlorite bleach, a corrosive irritant that can burn eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Toilet bowl cleaners also may cause pulmonary edema, vomiting or coma if ingested. Contact with other chemicals may cause chlorine fumes which may be fatal.

Are you one of the millions of consumers who tend to think anything sold must be safe? Think again. Since WWII more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals have been invented. Most have been created from petroleum and coal tar for the purposes of chemical warfare. The sad thing is that hardly any of these substances have been tested for safety, but have been added to our food, water and cleaning products without our consent and most often without informing us of any dangers. There is a lot of intentional suppression in this industry that adds approximately 1000 new chemicals each year.

According to the National Research Council, "no toxic information is available for more than 80% of the chemicals in everyday-use products. Less than 20% have been tested for acute effects and less than 10% have been tested for chronic, reproductive or mutagenic effects." Most have not been tested for combined or accumulated effects, nor for their effects on unborn children.

What can you do to protect your loved ones from chemical injury and poisoning?

First of all, educate yourself, and find safer alternatives as much as possible.

Second, minimize use of harsh chemicals. Clean spills and stains immediately, remove food waste promptly, keep home moisture/humidity down to 30-50%, and use entry way mats at all entrances.

Third, store all cleaning agents in their original containers out of the reach of children. Follow the directions on the label and use only the amount of product recommended. Read labels, follow safety precautions and contact the manufacturer if you have questions.

By definition, we clean our homes to reduce damage or harm to human and pet health, and to protect our valued possessions.
Let's not make the solution worse than the problem!

This week I'll post safe, natural substitutes for the most hazardous cleansers that most of us use everyday around the house:

** Air freshener **
** Ammonia **
** Antibacterial cleaners **
** Bleach **
** Carpet & upholstery shampoo **
** Chlorine **
** Dishwasher detergent **
** Furniture polish **
** Laundry products (more) **
** Oven cleaner **
** Toilet bowl cleaner **

Stay tuned!! If you have any "recipes" of cleaners that has worked for you, share it here!!

Blog to you soon...


Helpful Hints for a Clean Kitchen

Wipe out food spills in the oven as soon as possible.
Sprinkle fresh grease spills in the oven with salt.

Sanitize wooden cutting boards by rubbing with half of a freshly cut lemon, lime or grapefruit.

Clean the gunk of an electric can opener with a soft toothbrush dampened with 2 or 3 drops of any EO

Keep garbage disposal smelling fresh by tossing in the remains of a lemon, grapefruit or lime when available.

Instead of using paper towels to wipe up spills or to clean off countertops, store multiple squares of soft cotton or microfiber in a glass jar filled with 1 cup water, 1 oz liquid castile soap and 6-8 drops of your favorite essential oil.

Use cloth napkins and placemats whenever possible to reduce the consumption of paper napkins.

Blog to you soon...

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