There's nothing like a clean home. But what's even better? A safe clean home. It wasn't all that long ago that we relied on the simplest ingredients to keep our homes sparkling and smelling great. But as we know all too well, this last century has become the age of industrialized chemical cleaning products. We're so inundated with bleaches and fragrances that we often don't even feel like our homes are clean unless they smell like these toxic chemicals. Pretty strange, eh?
Breaking the "chemical clean" habit can be as daunting as giving up sugar. It's a lot harder than it sounds, especially if you're trying to quit cold turkey. But the payoff is worth it: decreased health risks from chemical exposure and you actually end up saving quite a bit of money when you quit the junk food cleaning products (as I like to call them).
Quite a few excellent natural household cleaning products can be purchased at health-minded stores. Brands like Ecover, Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers all make a number of eco-friendly and effective items. This can be a great place to start in stepping down your dependency on the other stuff. And when the time is right for you, take it a step further with making your own cleaning products from items you have in the house. The results will surprise you.
This cleaning recipe is excellent for surfaces and countertops. It can be used on cutting boards as well to disinfect.
The addition of citrus peels gives it an antimicrobial boost and great fragrance.
Citrus Surface Cleaner
From the Organic Authority Files
1 cup citrus peel: orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lime or lemon
3 cups white vinegar
½ cup vodka or rubbing alcohol
optional: essential oils
Place citrus peels in a mason jar or jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour vinegar over making sure all the peels are covered (Add more vinegar if needed). Cover and let sit about two weeks in a cool area.
Strain the liquid into a spray bottle along with alcohol so that it takes up about 1/3 of the bottle. Compost the peels. Fill the rest of the bottle with water. Add 20 drops of essential oils for more fragrance and antimicrobial power if you like. Other citrus scents work well like lemon or bergamot. You can also try pine or cedar or even a floral scent like lavender or geranium.
Shake well and spray generously on counter tops to remove dirt and germs. For stuck on crud, cover with a coarse salt and the cleanser mix and let sit several minutes before scrubbing.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger