13 Solutions for a Healthier Home

Your HomeYou’ve been cooped up all winter long and it’s time to throw open those windows, let in some fresh air and spring clean the house. Before you breathe too deeply, however, don’t forget that the chemicals found in most store-bought cleaning products are environmentally unfriendly and potential health hazards to you, your family and pets.

Perhaps now is the time to consider homemade cleaners. These often work just as well or better than their toxic counterparts and many ingredients are probably already in your home now. You don’t even have to make a special trip to the health-food store or spend extra on organic cleaning supplies. Here are a few easy ideas to get you started:

  • Glass Cleaner: 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 quart of water. Mix in a spray bottle. Pro Tip: Wipe with an old newspaper (yes, newspaper-and get ready to be surprised by how effective it is) or a lint-free cloth instead of paper towels.
  • Countertop and tile scrub: 2 parts vinegar, 1 part baking soda, 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, rub, then rinse or wipe clean.
  • Floor cleaner: 4 cups of white distilled vinegar, 1 gallon of hot water. Pro Tip: Add a few drops of peppermint or lemon oil–the vinegar smell will dissipate leaving only the scent of the oils lingering in the air.
  • Wood cleaner and refresher: 1 to 1 olive oil and lemon juice. Dab a small amount on a cloth and apply to the furniture in even strokes.
  • Toilet bowls: Baking soda on a toilet brush is all you need, but occasionally disinfect with borax. Use straight vinegar to wipe down the outside.
  • General disinfectant: 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 cups hot water, 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Mix in a spray bottle.
  • Mold and mildew remover: Straight vinegar.
  • Air freshener: A few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball hidden in a corner works wonders. Pro tip: Try lavender in the bedroom, and cinnamon, clove, or citrus oils in other rooms. In the car, try peppermint, which will keep you alert. And remember, most essential oils

Your KitchenBut wait, there’s more!

  • Hung out to dry. You’ve switched to a natural laundry detergent, but what about unplugging that old energy-hog of a dryer? Retractable clotheslines can help you with space and looks, while outdoor clotheslines reduce both pollution and your energy bill-not to mention extending the life of clothing.
  • Nature’s air-purifier. Houseplants are the best air purifiers-the most efficient for cleaning your indoor air are spider plants, English ivy, rubber plants and peace lilies.
  • Closet clutter? Box up those sweaters, but don’t throw out gently used clothing if it’s no longer your style–donate! Not so gently used clothing can become part of your green cleaning-rag collection, replacing paper towels. Pro Tip: Replace mothballs with a sock stuffed with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and whole cloves tied at the end.
  • Ditch the paper. Save trees, money and landfill space by starting your own rag collection instead of using paper towels. Just cut up old towels, bedding, and ratty t-shirts into handy squares then launder when used-reuse them again and again and feel the freedom!
  • Swiffer swapper. Single use mop heads are expensive and wasteful compared to their green, reusable counterparts. Casabella mop heads can be washed, hung dry and reused over and over.

By taking just a few of these seemingly small steps you can have a big impact on the environment, your health, and your bank balance. We sincerely hope you enjoy this springtime weather and have a happy time with your new (and healthier) cleaning skills!

This article was taken from my April 2013 issue of YOU Magazine. Click here to view the full newsletter. If you have any questions about your personal situation, please contact me.

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