The chemical revolution didn’t start in earnest until after world war II. That is only 68 years ago, less than a lifetime, but every body alive today carries the burden of these chemicals. Chemicals are now reaching us before we’re even born, with researchers finding a plethora of contaminants in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. There seems to be no escaping it.
The effects on health and environment of these chemicals has undergone little or no testing and certainly not in the area of collective and accumulative effects of chemical toxicity.
Did you know that literally thousands of chemicals are allowed in your cleaning products? The chlorine routinely used as a disinfectant in municipal water systems, is toxic, even at low concentrations.
Using typical household ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice for cleaning, is a good place to start lessening this chemical load, and save money at the same time.
Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a commonly available mineral made from soda ash, and is slightly alkaline with a pH of about 8.3 – 7 being neutral. It neutralizes acid-based odors and will eliminate perspiration and many other odors. Sprinkled on a damp sponge or cloth, or a simple paste of baking soda and water applied to sponge or cloth, it is used as a gentle non-abrasive cleanser to clean bench-tops, tiles, stove-top, bath, sink, inside fridge and much more and replaces a range of commercial cleaners.
I have written about the many uses of Baking Soda here Baking Soda for a Natural Clean and here Baking Soda for a Natural Clean 2 and here Baking Soda for Personal Care
Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) can be made by heating a 1/2″ layer of baking soda in a glass baking dish in a 200 o C or 400 o F oven for about 30 minutes. It changes the molecular structure from NaHCO3 to Na2CO3. To test for change place a small amount of baking soda in a small bowl and a small amount of washing soda in a separate bowl. Put a few drops of lemon juice on each. The baking soda will fizz, but the washing soda will foam and turn bright yellow. Be careful handling the washing soda, and don’t taste it, it is highly alkaline, therefore caustic, with a pH around 11. It releases no harmful fumes and is far safer than a commercial solvent formula. Washing soda cuts through grease, disinfects, softens water and neutralizes odors. You may, like myself, find it easier to purchase your washing soda at the supermarket. Caution – Don’t use it on fiberglass, aluminum or waxed floors—unless you intend to remove the wax.
Both Baking Soda and Washing Soda are in My Natural Homemade Laundry Powder Recipe.
Soaps and detergents are not the same. Soap is made using fat/oil and lye, while detergents are chemically based synthetic cleaners.
White Vinegar (acetic acid, pH about 2.3) and Lemon Juice (citric acid, pH about 2) are acidic—they neutralize alkaline substances such as scale from hard water. White vinegar kills mildew and removes grease build up. It is also great for cleaning glass and mirrors. Lemon juice is one of the strongest food-acids. Use it to kill virtually any household bacteria in kitchens and bathrooms.
I add lemon skins to my bottle of white vinegar, and let them steep, to increase the cleaning effect of the vinegar – and the fragrance. They work really well together.
Here are some other uses for vinegar: Vinegar for a Natural Clean and More Uses for Vinegar
Mould is being called “the asbestos of a new generation”. Buildings today are much more ‘air tight’ than they were, helping to create ideal conditions for mould to flourish.
Mould is toxic, and dangerous. Growing research into mould has found its impact on health is so much more than just triggering asthma attacks, respiratory irritation, runny noses and allergic reactions.
Bleach merely bleaches mould so you can’t see it, but it doesn’t kill the root system and the mould will grow back.
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82% of mould. The mould feeds off the vinegar to the extent where the cells actually burst. Add to this the strong fungicide action of clove or tea tree oil and you have a safe but powerful eliminator of mould.
Prepare a solution of white vinegar with clove oil or tea tree oil (approx. 1 teaspoon of oil to 1 litre of vinegar). Wear protective clothing, such as rubber gloves and apply the solution to the mouldy area gently with a sponge or mop. Spraying is not advised as it can cause spores to become airborne and spread to other locations. Allow the vinegar solution to stay in contact with the surface for at least 15 minutes or more. Ensure the treated area dries out as moulds will regrow if the surface remains damp.
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