It’s easy to get hooked on the latest domestic products that promise a life of ease and cleanliness,but do you really need them?
Whether you squirt,spray,mousse or wipe,commercial cleaners mean you’re adding to the chemical imprint on your home and the environment.
I used to know an elderly lady who kept her coffee cups pristine white with high-strength household bleach.She did in fact live to a ripe old age,but i never felt happy about her cleaning methods and what effect they might be having on her health!
These days there is probably a specialist coffee cup whitener on the market – there is an insatible demand for ‘special’ cleaning products.But as fast as these come onto the supermarket shelves,more potentially harmful chemicals appear with them.
It’s estimated that fewer than a quarter of the chemicals used in cleaning products have been subjected to a full safety investigation,while others,officially classed as hazardous,are still found as key ingredients.
The overuse of chemical cleaners has also given rise to the so-called ‘hygiene hypothesis’ : sanitation means less exposure to microbes,equals more asthma,allergic disease and multiple sclerosis.Think of the immune system as a noisy,rowdy party,with plenty of bouncers to chuck out unwanted guests.Imagine that if there were no guests the bouncers might turn on each other,which is what happens in these kinds of auto immune diseases.
We dont need to lead a sanitised,germ-free life; we need to be an integrated part of the ecosystem,not eradicate it from our homes!
Try some of these alternative – and kinder – cleaning materials.
- Sodda crystals (sodium carbonate),also known as washing soda,used to be the most common household cleaning product.You can use soda crystals for kitchen floors,work surfaces,to clean the draining board,wall tiles and left overnight in the sink they will clear tea saints.
- Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is also a good cleaner,and if you mix it with water you’ll get an alkaline solution that dissolves dirt and grease.Use it dry to lift stains from carpets and marks from surfaces.
- Borax is a naturally occuring mineral,soluble in water.It can deodorise,see off mildew and mould,boost the cleaning power of soap or detergent and remove stains.
- Comflour can be used to clean windows,polish furniture,shampoo carpets and rugs,and starch clothes.
- Microfibre cloths are made with extra-long fibres that can attract dust and remove dirt,cutting down on the need for chemical cleaners.
- Olive oil can be used sparingly as furniture polish.
- Soap flakes are good for clothes washing and as a general cleaner.Look out for flakes made from natural ingredients that will biodegrade.
- Sunlight is a useful free bleach for household linen and all whites.
- Tea-tree oil is a strong antiseptic and disinfectant that works on mould and mildew.
- White wine vinegar has many uses.Its a surface cleaner,stain remover,limescale descaler,it cuts through grease,deodorises and facts as mild disinfectant.Use half vinegar,half water solution to clean windows,tiles and mirrors.
- Lemon juice is good for cleaning chopping boards and wooden surfaces,and can also act as a descaler.Lemon oil makes a good furniture polish.