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As I sipped my morning tea and listened to the radio last week, I heard a story about how children who are exposed to conventional cleaning products and the chemicals and fragrances therein have a higher risk of asthma by the age of three. Surprised? Not really.

On a whim, only because I hope it’s helpful to you, I’d like to share my household cleaner recipes that we’ve used since our kids were tiny. Read on to get the scoop.

“Lead author Jaclyn Parks, a health sciences graduate student at Simon Fraser University in B.C., said the first few months of life are critical to the development of a baby’s immune and respiratory systems.

The study elaborates, “The risks of recurrent wheeze and asthma were notably higher in homes with frequent use of certain products, such as liquid or solid air fresheners, plug-in deodorizers, dusting sprays, antimicrobial hand sanitizers and oven cleaners,” Parks said in a release.”

[Read the full article:]

While super convenient to stock up on bottles and bottles of super duper cleaners filled with fragrance, it’s quite simple to make your own cleaning products at home. Once you’re in the habit, it’s easy!

What’s more? You’ll cut down on the amount of plastic bottles you’re buying (that cannot necessarily be recycled) AND save money!

This is my list of recipes given to me years ago when our children were tiny. If you like, pick up Karen Logan’s book “Clean House, Clean Planet” where she divulges how to “clean your house for pennies a day, the safe, non-toxic way”.

Scrub Paste

In a tight fitting jar, mix together in the following order:

1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree essential oil.

(If there is a little residue from the baking soda, just spray with a wee bit of vinegar and wipe)

Uses: tubs, sinks, garbage cans, any greasy, grimy job, counter tops, super dirty floors, toilet bowls

All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner

In a 16 oz. spray bottle:

Put 3 tablespoons liquid soap or 1 tablespoon of liquid hand-dishwashing detergent and 30 drops tea tree essential oil in bottle and fill with purified water.

Uses:  Kitchen and bathroom floors, toys, doorknobs, phones, toilet seat and rim, garbage cans, dirty windows, baseboards, floors, walls

Chrome/Glass Cleaner

fill any spray bottle with club soda.

Other uses for club soda: clean plants, stains like wine, juice, tomato sauce.

Scented Baking Soda

In a glass sugar container with a perforated top, fill with:

Baking Soda and your favorite essential oil

Uses: any stainless steel surface, like the kitchen sink, removes odours (carpet, cat box, garbage can), scuff marks and smudges

Scented Vinegar

In any size spray bottle, fill with:

White distilled vinegar and your favorite essential oil.

Uses: to prevent soap build-up in the bathroom spray shower a couple times a week, removes baking soda residue, removes odours, any stainless steel surface, also can be used as a fabric softener.

Oven Cleaner

Spray water on bottom of the oven, sprinkle 1/4 cup salt mixed with 3/4 cup baking soda, spray again with water and let sit overnight.  Next day scrape with a putty knife/steel wool/ pumice stone.  Rinse with scented vinegar.  Prevention: Use oven liners which are pure aluminum, so you can recycle them when you are done.

Cutting Board Cleaner

Spray cutting board with water, then work salt into the surface.  Let sit, then rinse with water and dry.

Furniture Cleaner

In a 16 oz. spray bottle:

2 teaspoons olive oil, 20 drops pure lemon essential oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar and fill with purified water.  Shake well before using.

The vinegar and lemon oil dissolves dirt and smudges, while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. 

Uses: cabinets, picture frames, wood paneling, varnished wood floors, dusting furniture and dust mopping floors.

P.S.  If you are concerned about using petroleum-based products, remember, if the soap is made from synthetic ingredients it is a petroleum based soap.  There are many good brands out there that use vegetable oils so be sure to read labels! 

Castille soap is an amazing option.  Also, most distilled vinegars are made from petroleum. This was news to me! I hear that Heinz is a grain-based vinegar, so look for that.

P.P.S. If you do not like the scent of tee tree essential oil, try pure lavender essential oil or pure lemon essential oil.  These oils are also disinfecting oils and work wonders. 

Happy Cleaning!

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