Some sage advice from Rebekah Daw, founder and co-director of Brisbane-based business Eco My Home, which focuses on minimising the amount of harmful chemicals and products used in homes.
When we think of the comforts of our home, the last thing we think of is toxicity. Yet homes can be one of the most toxic places around – home cleaning products, air fresheners and laundry detergents are just a few of the items most consumers use without understanding the effects they can have on both our bodies and the natural environment.
Detoxifying your home can be as simple as swapping a few products that you use everyday. Here are my top 7 products that we think you can easily ditch and alternatives you can use.
Generic surface sprays contain a long list of chemicals and worst thing about them is that after you spray, the particles don’t stop on the bench or table. The waft into the air, into your lungs, onto your skin. So make your own lovely-smelling alternative. In a spray bottle combine a 50/50 of vinegar/water solution with a few drops of essential oil. Add 1 teaspoon natural liquid soap or dishwashing liquid.
Eco laundry powder doesn’t have to cost you a zillion dollars. Try making your make own powder in bulk and you’ll have a supply for months. Keeping it in a airtight container will also lengthen its shelf life.
Use 1 part Borax, 1 part washing soda, 1 part bicarbonate soda, 1 part of your favourite eco soap bar, and some drops of your favourite essential oil. Mix all the dry ingredients and then grate the soap on the smallest grater size. Add the soap and essential oil. Only use a ¼ cup for each load.
I remember when I used to clean super yachts with stuff – effective but toxic. You can get a really great product from Eco My Home that works like a dream – our personal fave is Lemon Myrtle Bicarb cleaning paste. Works just as good, if not better, than Ajax and smells great too. Good for stove tops, baths, ovens. Any deep cleaning you need done, this stuff will get it clean.
Alternatively, make your own paste: a few spoons of bicarb powder, a dash of white vinegar and a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
Think about it: do you want chemical residue on any surface that you eat from? Dishwashing liquids seem harmless on the outside but are pretty chemical-heavy. Our advice: Eco My Home Organic Dishwashing Liquid, or Earth Brand from your local supermarket.
ReSparkle Organic Oven & BBQ Cleaner is one of our favourite products and is made from 100% natural food-grade ingredients. It can be used on all heavily greased and soiled surfaces. Just like the dishwashing liquids, traditional oven cleaners have some nasty ingredients that you don’t want to get on your cooking utensils. Trust us: grab some steel wool, take it out to the yard and clean the trays with ReSparkle’s non-toxic alternative.
One of the cheapest options and an easy change to implement. Switch your regular old floor cleaner for white vinegar and essential oils. It kills germs, doesn’t leave stickiness or marks and also keeps your mop clean. Add a good dash of vinegar for 2 litres of water and a few drops of essential oils for effect. You can also add a tiny bit of olive oil too if you have wooden floors.
Stainless steel cleaner
This is a little trick I figured out a while back when one of my clients ran out of stainless steel spray but found the altrenative to be much better. On any of your stainless appliances, start by giving it a good wipe down to remove any food/dirty build up. Then dribble some olive oil on a paper towel and rub it on. It’s that simple. It will shine up like a dream, repel further finger marks and protect from rust and build up.