By now you should be more cognizant of the damage that everyday commercial products can cause in our bodies. Most household and hygiene products have a plethora of chemicals in their ingredients, which can be unsafe. Chemicals are toxic and harmful for you and your family. When you clean your home, clothes, car, and yourself with these everyday products you are breathing, touching, and coming into contact with toxic chemicals and their byproducts. Imagine the cumulative effect of all of that.
In my opinion going the more natural route is not only better but it is also pretty easy to do. `Natural, organic, and non-toxic products are associated with high cost and in many cases not sustainable in most family budgets. While this is true for many imported goods, we are lucky that in the Philippines local companies provide amazing products, goods, and services that don’t cost an arm and a leg. When you buy products you want to look for ones that are biodegradable, allergen free, and non-toxic. Stay away from products with nasties in it like parabens, phthalates, and the undefined elements of “fragrance”. This goes for household cleaners, laundry detergents, and hygiene and beauty items. Do your research to find out what products are free from harmful ingredients.
For even cheaper solutions, look no further than your own kitchen. I guarantee you that there are items in your fridge and in your pantry that you can use to make all natural cleaners that are safe for your family and so affordable too. The top three ingredients that you can use for home made cleaning agents are baking soda, vinegar, and lemons. These three elements play huge roles in my home. I also use commercial products but they are all green and as chemical free as I can get them. Many times I combine my green cleaners with homemade cleaning recipes to boost functionality and cleanliness.
Baking soda is a powerful natural cleaning agent. It can clean pretty much everything. In our home I use it as an oven cleaner, veggie scrub, toothbrush cleanser, and laundry brightener to name a few. Lemons are antibacterial and smell so fresh. Use it to clean your glasses (mixed with water), deodorize your microwave, sanitize your cutting boards (which is important because bacteria loves to grow on them, most especially the wooden ones). Vinegar is another powerful natural cleaning agent. You can use vinegar and water to clean practically anything. Stains, windows, toilets. I even use vinegar as an ant deterrent in my Singapore home.
Many people believe that home made and green cleaning products don’t work as well as the commercial ones with chemicals. I don’t find this to be particularly true (except in terms of fragrance). But if you want to add more cleaning power to these non-toxic cleaners then do your research on how to combine both homemade and non-toxic cleaners for extra cleaning power. For example you can mix baking soda with your dish soap and it becomes a powerful scrub. Or add a cup of baking soda to your laundry with non-toxic detergent and it will brighten and make your washing load cleaner. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of green living. You can also make your own soap, facial cleansers, colognes, shampoos, and more.
Protect yourself and your family from exposure to these harmful toxic substances. There are no more excuses about the transition to living greener. It is now more simple and affordable than ever.
This article was first published in Amanda’s MANILA BULLETIN column The Mommy Project which is published every Saturday.