From Crawling to Chemicals…a mother’s quest for a better way (granted not a new way)…

Note: This post was written 2 weeks ago (and Younger Son is FULLY crawling now). The Change has happened!

Change is coming…

As a first-time parent, I could hardly contain my excitement for the moment when Older Son would sit, crawl, walk and eventually run (about 2 minutes after he mastered walking).

As a second time parent, I can hardly express my fear of M & E crawling…or worse walking…*GASP*or running! Yikes! I am certain they will run in opposite directions. My world is about to change. The selfish side of me is groaning…but there is (thankfully) another part of me that can once again hardly contain my excitement that they are on the cusp of movement and exploration. How exciting for them!

With movement come dangerous situations…there are the sharp corners, the small toys of a big brother, and the many chemicals and cleaners that a typical household has…

This week my goal is to remove the chemically related dangers from my “double trouble”.

STEP 1: Change the location of where I keep my cleaning supplies.

STEP 2: Find alternatives to commercial chemical cleaning supplies (and then make the transition toward a safer, healthier way to clean our home).  Suggestions/tips and tricks are welcome! Share!

I have removed all household cleaners from their usual spots under the kitchen and washroom sinks. They are now resting safely in a hard to reach shelf in the laundry room (cue short person jokes…and yes, I am having a difficult time reaching them as well). Step 1 has been accomplished.

According to David Suzuki’s organization, “Canadians spend more than $275 million on household cleaning products in a year. We buy these products to fight germs, streaks, stains and odours to keep our homes sparkling clean. Cleaning is supposed to be about maintaining a healthy home, yet some common household cleaning products contain chemicals that can harm human health and the environment..they [the chemicals] linger in the air and we breathe them…Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust” (http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/the-dirt-on-toxic-chemicals-in-household-cleaning-products/).

Prior to WWII most household cleaning tasks were accomplished using relatively safe ingredients commonly found in most homes. With the proliferation of petroleum-based chemicals after the war, corporations began to manufacture ready-made cleaning products. Today, most people are accustomed to buying a wide range of products custom-designed for the many surfaces, materials and rooms in their homes.  Most cleaning chores can be easily handled without these toxic products. Everyday ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, vegetable oil, soap, borax, hydrogen peroxide and washing soda can do the job as they did in olden days. Consumer demand and recognition of the hazards of many chemical ingredients are leading more companies to manufacture less toxic cleaning products.

So what can we do?

Simple Tips:

What do we need in our pantry?
Shopping List – The Basics:
  • Vinegar
  • Lemons and/or Lemon Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • Borax
  • Castile Soap
  • Essential Oils (optional)
So how do we clean our homes?

Lindsay Coulter of the David Suzuki Foundation shares her best green recipes for household cleaners. All below recipes were taken from: http://www.chatelaine.com/en/article/36883–how-to-make-natural-household-cleaners-10-recipes-from-the-david-suzuki-foundation.

1. All-purpose scrub
A non-abrasive cleanser

1 2/3 cups baking soda
1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp white vinegar

Pour into squirt bottle and shake before use. Rinse well.

2. All-purpose spray
For counters and floors

1 gallon hot water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
1 tbsp borax
10 drops essential oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients, then pour into a spray bottle.

3. All-purpose powder

1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup white vinegar

Combine dry ingredients. Sprinkle onto surface, scrub, and chase with vinegar.

4. Glass and mirror cleaner

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water

Pour into spray bottle. Tip: Clean the waxy residue traditional brands leave behind with a 5% rubbing-alcohol solution.

5. Liquid laundry soap

1 cup baking soda
1/3 cup coarse salt
7 L hot water
1 cup liquid Castile soap

Dissolve dry ingredients in hot water. Add soap and stir. Use 1/2 cup per load.

6. Stainless steel cleaner

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white vinegar

Drip olive oil onto rag. Rub surface to get rid of smudges. Drip white vinegar on the other side of rag. Wipe and let dry.

7. Furniture polish

2 cups warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white vinegar (or lemon juice)

Pour into spray bottle. Shake well, spray, rub, and polish with rag. Note: Since wood finishes vary, it is important to always do a test patch first.

8. Carpet cleaner – for oil and grease stains

baking soda
stiff brush
vacuum

Cover the stain generously with Baking Soda. Using the stiff brush, rub the baking soda into the carpet fibers. Let sit for one hour and then vacuum as usual.

9. Make-up stain remover – for clothing

vodka
hydrogen peroxide
clean rag

Using the clean rag, blot the stain with vodka. Once completed, use a fresh corner of the rag to blot the stain with the hydrogen peroxide. Wash immediately using homemade green laundry soap.

10. Grass stain remover

white vinegar
baking soda

Mix baking soda and vinegar into a paste. Gently work in paste from the back side of the fabric. Let sit for 15 minutes. Wash from the back with cold water; repeat if necessary then wash as usual.

The Big Question I kept asking myself as I prepared for the inevitable chaos to come in the next couple of weeks – do I really need to have so many chemicals that I am super afraid of my kids touching? On cleaning day (read: every day) they will be exposed as I clean…there are buckets of soapy water while I am in the midst of cleaning…they could easily grab the containers while I am in the middle of a task…are the commercial cleaners really necessary? I do not plan to immediately eliminate all household cleaners.  My plan (akin to a dietary change) is to slowly make changes.

Share your thoughts and tips.

Thanks for visiting.

S

Note: Want recipe cards for the homemade cleaning products above? Find here: 

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/2011/QueenOfGreen-Green-cleaning-recipes.pdf.

Thanks David Suzuki.Org!

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