Homemade cleaning solutions...
... do they work or is it just talk?
It feels natural to use homemade cleaning solutions
once we start to walk on the healthy road, which includes non GMO whole foods, homemade cosmetics and herbal medicines.
There are many health stores that sell natural cleaners. You may be surprised to find that the main ingredients (the ones with the cleaning effect) are the same as in the chemical laden ones, and their price is even higher than the that of the conventional ones, just because of their eco-green image.
Don't be fooled by the beautiful green, leafy, lemonish pictures. Read the ingredient list. If you see sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), tetrasodium EDTA, parabens, diazolidinyl urea, propelyne glycol or "flagrance" stay away from it.
The natural stuff is buried very deep in the recipe, and the beautiful "natural" label is just for show.
One doesn't have to be a chemist to realize that all the chemicals we use to clean your house are bad for our health. It starts with the burning effect they have on the skin and continues with allergies they cause and the instant need to breath fresh air.
The health issues are serious matters. Based on that we wouldn't have a choice but to switch to the homemade natural cleaners.
There remains one question tough: These cleaning recipes are safe, but are they effective?
Progress or time for the old soap?
One cartoon I saw said that modern man turns to his predecessors (Homo habilis, Homo erectus) and says: Let's go back, we broke everything!
Progress means that things should take the least amount of effort, time and money (they are the same thing), or ... natural cleaners and even more so, homemade cleaning solutions, often involve more time:
- time to search and buy the ingredients,
- time to prepare those natural cleaning recipes, and
- more money (time) if you buy quality ingredients and choose organic instead of conventional grown stuff (with chemicals fertilizers, pesticides, GMO).
These are the most common questions concerning homemade natural solutions, but let's analyze some of them.
* House cleaning
I used them for cleaning the carpets and washing floors and the result is good.
The stove looks normal after a cleanup with a soap nuts solution mixed with vinegar.
Soap nuts are also good for washing dishes, if they are not too greasy. Luckily we don't eat that much fat :)
But when it comes to the real test, the laundry ... it doesn't matter how the label claims they are exactly the same as commercially available cleaners. They are not. At least not if you are using soap nuts alone. For a similar result in the whites, you should add enough eco bleach (sodium percarbonate), which raises costs.
Another important thing to take into consideration is that you have to use higher temperatures 50-90 degrees to activate the saponins and the bleach. There is a solution to these problems - put the laundry to soak overnight in warm water with a soap nuts solution.
Another way is to use a concentrated soap nut solution instead of the homemade macerate stuff. It's more money tough.
Of course, the results depend greatly due to the water hardness. That would make even the conventional detergents (SLS, SLES) fail if they didn't have one secret ingredient - tetrasodium EDTA, which binds the metal ions and softens the water and would make any cleaner look great. Hellas, this comes with a price. EDTA is like chemical warfare to our skin :(.
Also, I wanted to keep my daughter as far away from chemicals as I could. This was a big factor me, otherwise you will need a strong will to embrace the idea. In the end, if you add up the health costs by using chemical laden detergents, you will surely come to a greater cost than that of the natural cleaners.
It takes a little preparation to make a soap solution or to pre soak the troublesome laundry, but with all these disadvantages, soap nuts are a healthier alternative to conventional washing products.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
I have finally given away to the baking soda powers when I used it to bleach my fruit juicer. No other conventional cleaner managed to make it white like it used to be. Since then I made sure I was well supplied with large amounts of bicarbonate, because we use it everywhere in the house.
I have one reluctance though, and it is still related to money :) When it comes to cleaning large areas (kitchen sink, bathtub) the baking soda costs more that conventional cleaners and seems unprofitable. That is if you don't take into consideration the extra water you use to clean up the chemicals thoroughly and the water pollution. In addition, you have to take into consideration your health costs.
You see, I managed to convince myself that the extra money is well worth it :)
One important thing to look after for when you buy baking soda is to get the aluminium free baking soda. The aluminum penetrates the skin and can cause cancer. Yuck!
Cleaning with apple cider vinegar
Many people don't even consider vinegar as a cleaning product because of the smell. Perhaps it is because our mind associates rotten fruits fermentation with vinegar, so it must be something ugly and smelling the middle.
I, for one, recommend vinegar as the best stainless steel batteries cleaner.
The drawback is still financial. Although I would like to use it in all sorts of cleaning stuff, it seems unprofitable to use apple cider vinegar to clean windows. For this household job, I use about 1 liter of vinegar solution, so I prefer to keep apple cider vinegar as a delicacy. In other words, I don't throw apple cider vinegar ... out the window :)
We often choose to buy a cleaning product, judging its effectiveness and eco-friendliness by the color (green, purple or yellow) or by how much we love the nice smell (lemon, apple, chamomile or lavender). I had a professor once that said she liked the smell of chlorine in the classrooms' parquet floor because she knew the floors were clean.
Homemade cleaning solutions don't have innate exotic or nice flavors, but it really is no problem, because it's easy to give the solution the flavor we like with lemon juice or by using essential oils.
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