As Arlington Heights Chiropractors, you may be wondering why we would post information about natural cleaning solutions. We are a wellness office that promotes healthy living for our patients. Althought chiropractic adjustments are our main focus, helping patients and the community get healthier is something that we think is very important. This article was written by Cindy Collins, a chemistry teacher and mother who is passionate about keeping her family safe and healthy!
Did you know that the average household contains anywhere from 3 to 10 gallons of toxic materials, most of which are cleaners? According to the CDC, Over the last 12 years, the
While these disturbing increases can’t entirely be attributed to environmental poisons, there are measures we can take to help reduce the risk to our families. Conventional cleaners come with a myriad of issues not limited to health concerns. For one, the consumer is in the dark in regards to what chemicals these cleaners actually contain. Sellers are not required to reveal “trade secret” ingredients and therefore we are left with a generic “DANGER, WARNING, and/or POISON” warning label without a complete list of chemical ingredients. What’s more is that many of these conventional cleaners are specifically targeted for parents of babies and children. Again, according to the CDC, every day, over 300 children in the United States ages 0 to 19 are treated in an emergency department, and two children die, as a result of being poisoned.
What are these mystery chemicals? What are the health effects? Being a chemistry teacher, I went straight to the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for the most common ingredients in a typical household cleaner and/or laundry detergent (some even found in typical “green” cleaners!). I’ll spare you the details, but if you feel adventurous, take a look for yourself at the Household Products Database published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You will typically find phrases such as; avoid eye and skin contact, substance may be absorbed through the skin, has been shown to cause injury to the kidney and liver, suspected carcinogen to name a few. And let’s not even get into superbugs, animal testing, and wasteful packaging!
OK, so the chemicals are bad, but how can you get your home clean and free from germs, bacteria and other icky stuff? Because let’s face it, we all want the germ-free countertop. The answer is by using essential oils as an addition to your natural, homemade cleaning products. For centuries, essential oils have been touted for their antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Take a look for yourself; a recent journal article testing the effectiveness of 14 different essential oils against the most common pathogens: Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact. I was even able to find a study on the effectiveness of essential oils against MRSA (a superbug resistant to antibiotics and other drugs). Guess what? They work! And they work without the scary MSDS sheets or without a list of chemicals that aren’t even allowed in my chemistry classroom!
Here is a list of 10 Essential Oils for Household Cleaning:
Want to give it a try? Try these simple recipes!
What you’ll need:
All-Purpose Cleaner (gallon):
*Borax (sodium borate) is slightly controversial in its safety around small kids and pets. It is considered safe according to MSDS in dilute solutions like this, but if you aren’t sure just leave it out! It’s a great stain remover, but is completely OPTIONAL.
In a deep bowl or pot add washing soda. Slowly add in the vinegar (yay chemical reaction!). Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Powder Laundry Detergent (bonus!):
Mix all together in an air tight container; use 1-2 tablespoons per load. These ingredients do not produce suds, so are safe for front loaders and HE machines.
Mosquito Repellant (another bonus!):
*citronella may not be safe for pregnant mothers or women trying to get pregnant.
. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Apr. 2012. Web. 22 July 2013.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"Developmental Disabilities Increasing in US." . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 June 2011. Web. 22 July 2013.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S.A.: Life Science Pub., 2011. Print.Essential Oils Desk Reference.
"Hazardous Household Products." . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2013.- HE-368-1
"Household Products Database - Health and Safety Information on Household Products." . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2013.Household Products Database - Health and Safety Information on Household Products
Shigeharu Inouyea,*,. "Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy." (n.d.): n. pag. . Web. 23 July 2013.Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils and Their Major Constituents against Respiratory Tract Pathogens by Gaseous ContactAntibacterial Activity of Essential Oils and Their Major Constituents against Respiratory Tract Pathogens by Gaseous Contact