cleaningOur bodies are bombarded with chemicals, toxins, and pollutants from varying sources on a daily basis.  Over time, these toxins begin to build up in our bodies and the immune system can become compromised, making us more susceptible to disease, digestive and gut disorders, auto-immune dysfunction, etc. Toxins can be found in everything: our food, our environment, the air we breathe, and the products we put on our skin. Toxins are also found in the products we use to “clean” our homes.

Common sources:

  • Polluted air
  • Mold/mildew
  • Dust mites
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Radon
  • Carbon monoxide in the home
  • Heavy metals: lead, mercury, aluminum, etc.
  • Toxic drinking water
  • Carpet/paint fumes
  • Food pesticides and herbicide residues
  • Chemical food additives

You might not realize it, but commercial home cleaning products can make the air quality inside your home less than ideal, especially during the chilly months (which are coming up here in Michigan!) when all of the windows are closed.

Essential oils to the rescue!

Citrus and lavender essential oils in particular make great home care products—both are antiseptic and have fresh, non-overpowering scents.

You may need to dilute your oils before using them, and bear in mind that citrus essential oils cause photosensitivity on the skin, meaning that if you have citrus essential oil on skin that’s exposed to sunlight, you can easily wind up bleached and sunburnt. (Applying lemon juice to your hair and then purposely sunning yourself to lighten your hair is an example of photosensitivity.) And also remember that while all essential oils can degrade plastic, citrus oils in particular can cause plastics to break down, so always store all of your essential-oil-based cleaners in glass or stainless steel containers. Try freshening your home with some of these tricks:

  • Add a few drops of citrus essential oil (lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, etc.) to a spray bottle filled with water and use as a room freshener. Or use lavender instead and lightly spray your pillow with it for an especially restful night of sleep.
  • Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a 2:1 ratio of water and white vinegar, then use as an all-purpose cleaning spray.
  • Mix a few drops of orange essential oil with equal parts baking soda and olive oil to make a sticker remover—rub the paste on adhesive residue to get rid of that pesky sticky spot!
  • To enjoy the scent of homemade potpourri, gently simmer a pot of water with some whole spices, dried flower petals, and a few drops of your favorite essential oils.

If you want 100% plant-based, non-toxic options, then I suggest Thieve Household Cleaning Line (which includes all-purpose cleaners, laundry and dishwasher detergents, dish soap, fruit and veggie wash, and an amazing foaming hand soap that I love).  Get the starter kit here or email me for more information.

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