Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Green Cleaning

If you read my Current Affairs blog post, which outlined a bit of what I am doing lately you would have read that I am more into using  natural products for green cleaning.  So it started as part of cleaning up my eating a bit more, and in line came "cleaning up" the way I clean my home.  It's better for your family too, especially babies as they tend to absorb much more chemicals and toxins than adults. I thought I would share a little about some of the things I am doing.

Not only have I been using items from my pantry in cleaning agents I make, but also I have implemented them into my own beauty routine.  I currently use raw local honey to wash my face and also as a facial mask.  I have been using baking soda as a facial mask and gentle exfoliant for all over my body.  I mix together grape seed oil, baking soda and then a few dashes of tea tree oil.  Then blend well in a little jar (I use an old clean baby food jar with a lid) and keep it in the shower.  It is a good antibacterial body wash, and also can be used for your face if you are having a break out.  I prefer to put a little bit of tea tree oil (skin oil) directly onto any breakouts as well.  

Then I mixed a new DIY facial together which is amazing!  Now, I would prefer all organic, but I am not sure it's necessary as this mix worked wonders.  So, using olive oil for natural skin tightening,  I mixed extra-virgin olive oil with lemon juice (no particular amounts, but less lemon than oil) and spread it over my face and neck. I didn't have fresh or organic lemons on hand but I did have lemon juice from a bottle which did sting a bit.  I know, it's probably NOT even lemons but rather a slurry but let's hope not so I did use only a little.  I think it would obviously be better to use real lemons and extract the juice.  So anyways, it's that easy and put it into a clean spare old container (I used an old vitamin bottle with top) and leave it on your face for 15-20 minutes or less, if you have very sensitive skin.  There is a lot of tingling action going on.  Then rinse with lukewarm water and voila!  Literally you don't have dry skin and my pores looked a lot better for a couple of days.

Brushing your teeth and cleaning your pearly whites needs some toothpaste.  I have skipped using fluoridated toothpaste around here.  I have a tube in case of company ever needs some, and I wouldn't want them to think I was a totally natural right?  Or they may think I am striving to be a lemon sniffer! They may think of me as a conspiracy theorist if I didn't have fluoride chemical in a tub around here.  But on the down low, I mixed together coconut oil, baking soda and instead of expensive mint essential oils, I used peppermint extract from the grocery store to give it a fresh taste. I required it for a couple recipes I was working on anyways, so it made sense to use it for making a minty fresh DIY natural toothpaste.  Now, I was running low on coconut oil and tired of buying smaller amounts for what still adds up to be a lot of money, so I tagged along with a friend to Costco!  Yes, we stocked up on a 2.3 L of virgin coconut oil and I price compare everywhere here in Calgary, and it was the best price next to ordering from online. So I needed to stock up and  in the meantime I was using a salt and baking soda mix together which is a formidable whitening toothpaste.  It seems to work a lot better than whitening toothpastes with fluoride in them!  One thing that is happening though, is I have quite a few more canker sores than usual, as well as a bit more sensitive teeth.  I am not sure it's from the toothpaste though or eating more medjool dates that I so love. Ya, and bye-bye fluoride.

Something else I use baking soda for, is putting it into my favorite shampoo and it turns it into a clarifying shampoo.  I mean I add it into the palm of my hand and my shampoo to it, that way I still can use either or both when I need.  I also use tea tree oil on my scalp to eliminate dandruff, but I have only tried it once when I had time.  I also use some coconut oil on my scalp when it's dry to avoid a dry unhealthy scalp, plus you can spread a bit on the ends of your tresses and a light amount to fight fly a-ways.

Back to home cleaning though, vinegar and water is my mainstay to keeping things looking shiny and clean around here.  With a toddler getting around and smearing food on the computer keyboard or on tables, chairs and walls, I feel I need a utility belt loaded with paper towel and spray bottles of vinegar and water. I made my own DIY antibacterial surface cleaner in an older plastic container with lid (one I don't use anymore since it's not BPA free) and add regular salt, lemon juice and vinegar.   Mix equal parts of salt and vinegar and a good dash of lemon juice, and you can use a natural cleaning cloth made for all purpose cleaning.  If you need something on the go, add a half roll of paper towel although it's not as green of a cloth than microfibre or reusable cloths.. I Make sure there is enough lemon juice and vinegar, in fact more than the amount of salt or you will have wipes that leave a salt residue around.  Trust me I know from experience and ended up using my first batch on my outside deck chairs only, due to this issue.  But that aside, if you don't like the smell of vinegar, then lemon juice is your best bet, but keep in mind vinegar's smell does disappear in no time.  Lemon juice and vinegar, both are good for softening hard water deposits and dissolves dirt that is built up.

Vinegar goes a long way everywhere in the home, especially when cleaning your dishwasher.  It should be done once a month to avoid mold and mildew buildup.  Put a cup of vinegar into an empty dishwasher and turn it on for a cycle.  It should smell a lot fresher as well and helps your dishes to come out cleaner.

To wash tubs and also for fresher laundry, I am using a lot of baking soda.  I cannot say all the things I use it for, because I am always grabbing more for something such as in the oven sinks, bathtubs, counters, and even deodorizing fabrics and carpets.  It can be used to clean grout by mixing 3 cups of baking soda to 1 cup of water and mix into a paste.  Use an old toothbrush you kept around and scrub the paste into the grout and then clean off with a wet cloth.  I also use it to help keep my stainless steel Cuisinart pots and pans, clean and maintained.  After all, even though I got it on sale I still want to keep them looking great.  One can also use coarse salt for scouring them clean.

I put tea tree oil in my floor pail with hot water, and sweep my floors and wash the floors with that.  It left a clean smell and no harmful chemical residue and with a little one crawling and dragging her toys on the floor, I felt safer to think it was naturally clean.  I use my vinegar and water mix to do quick cleaning on the counter tops and tables, and also if there is something sticky on the floor and need it wiped up.  And of course vinegar and water is great for cleaning your mirrors and glass, but I had not previously known to add cornstarch specifically for streak free glass cleaning. Combine 1/4 cup of full strength vinegar, then 1 tbsp of cornstarch with one quart of warm water.  Pour into a spray bottle and then if you don't have coffee filters to use, you can use crumbled up newspaper.  I have tried making my own natural furniture polish too.  Mix 1 cup of lemon juice with 1 tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Apply very lightly to your wood furniture and use a soft cloth to buff.  This is a nice way to complete and protect cleaning your expensive wood furniture.  

Some essential oils that are disinfectants and anti fungals are clove, lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus, thyme and tea tree oil.  I absolutely LOVE eucalyptus essential oil around my home as it cleans well, smells absolutely fresh and lovely, so it is very aroma-therapeutic, as well as it helps to keep the air non-toxic and clean.  It also cures headaches, so there are just many uses for this stuff!  I mix 5 ml of eucalyptus essential oil with a carrier oil and put it in a recycled roller ball perfume bottle, and I had kept that used bottle for a purpose such as that.  Tea tree oil, is also essential around the home.  If you want to make a natural fungicide, mix 2 teaspoons of essential oils with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, and keep mold and mildew away.  Similarly, using some hydrogen peroxide also works well. It prevents and inhibits mildew.  If spray it on the affected area, such as mildewed grout in your shower, and leave it on for 10 minutes, scrub and wipe down apparently the results will sparkle.  You can use it on your feet as a foot fungicide, but let's just hope you don't get any fungus on your feet!

I am just starting to try to learn how to make all kinds of natural cleaning concoctions around my home, but it doesn't end there!  Pick up some more ideas for natural cleaning on Wellness Mama .
Have a great week!

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