Is Soap & Water Strong Enough?
At first I was worried about soap & water's disinfecting power. Companies use advertising to make us think our home isn't clean or our kids are going to get sick if we don't use their anti-bacterial cleaners. But the truth is, the toxic chemicals in their cleaners do more harm than good. They have many potential health risks, especially for children. After reading many articles like this one about how it's not necessary or even a good thing to kill every last bacteria in our home, my mind was at peace. Many bacteria are beneficial and exposure to bacteria helps kids' immune systems to develop. The rubbing action with soap and water is sufficient to get rid of most bacteria. If you are still worried, you can add essential oils for extra anti-microbial power.
Essential Oils: Nature's Disinfectant
Essential oils are natural compounds extracted from parts of plants, flowers, and trees. They have been used throughout history for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. They are extremely concentrated, so you only need about 4-8 drops per cup of water. Most pure essential oils have disinfecting powers, but these are some of the best for cleaning: lemon, lavender, cinnamon, rosemary, clove, thyme, and tea tree. You can find essential oils at your local health food store, Amazon, or Mountain Rose Herbs.
Disinfecting All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe
2 cups distilled, filtered, or boiled water
3 Tbsp Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Liquid Soap
Mix together in a spray bottle.
What is Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap?
I decided to use Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Liquid Castile Soap because it's made with natural ingredients and it contains tea tree essential oil for disinfecting power. You can find it at most health food stores or Amazon. It's made with water, organic coconut oil, potassium hydroxide (this is lye which is needed to make soap, but none remains after the soap process is done), organic olive oil, tea tree extract, organic hemp oil, organic jojoba oil, citric acid (safe enough to eat), tocopherol (vitamin E). This 32 ounce container cost me $14 at Whole Foods, but you can get it on Amazon for about the same price. Some people don't like the smell of tea tree oil. Dr. Bronner's soap also comes in peppermint (Trader Joe's sells it for $10), citrus, and lavender, all great options for an all-purpose cleaner. You can even use unscented castile soap and add your own combination of essential oils.
Since you can't use vinegar to clean granite or marble, this cleaner is a great alternative for those surfaces. I also use it on mirrors and glass when I don't feel like getting out my homemade glass cleaner. A word of caution, I don't recommend using this cleaner on hard floors. I tried it on linoleum and almost fell down it was so slippery! For floors, use mostly water and just a drop or two of Dr. Bronner's soap instead. Or you can use my homemade floor cleaner. I'm really excited when I get to use my homemade cleaners! It feels really good to use safe and natural cleaners that I made myself. Granted I didn't do much, but it feels good just the same.
What It Costs
$0.12 Distilled Water ($0.99/gallon)
$0.66 Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Liquid Castile Soap ($14/32 oz.)
$0.78 Grand Total
In your face, Clorox!
How do you clean your house without toxic chemicals?
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