It’s not a secret anymore that conventional cleaning products contain many harsh and toxic chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and our planet. Many people have developed various health and skin problems from years of house cleaning or just from exposure to the harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients found in the commercial cleaning products.
Numerous studies have shown the average house contains over 400 chemicals and most store-bought cleaning products have negative effects on our health. (1) That means these self-proclaimed chemicals "cleaners" are actually making your house worse- dirtier, and not cleaner in the real sense, since the air inside your home becomes less healthier for you, according to a Cleveland Clinic health reports. (2)
Health problems caused by store-bought "cleaners"
According to studies conducted by the American Lung Association, commercial products are known to cause serious health problems such as:
- hormonal imbalances and even cancer
- skin irritation and problems
- cognitive problems, heart problems
- irritants for eyes and throat
- headaches, diziness, nausea, vomiting
- chronic respiratory problems, allergies
- asthma, etc. (3), (4)
Benefits of natural, green cleaning
- betters your health- essential oils not only smell amazing, they have many health benefits
- saves you money
- saves the planet
Most of the commercial products sold contain very small amounts of actuall ingredients which are mixed with a lot of water. We don't believe in bottling and selling dilluted products packaged in bottles with cleaners (or cosmetic products for that matter) and shipping them around the globe.
Water is cheap and readily available and packaging in large bottles of detergents, cleaners, cosmetic products and even juices is a huge waste on our planet's resurces and our pockets. The expensive cost of the store products sold in large bottles filled with liquids (water mixed content) plus the waste and the negative impact on the environment of all those empty bottles bought over and over by so many households makes me cry. When you switch to making your own cleaning recipes you'll ditch the single-use plastic waste in a big way.
The key word to remember is that REFILLING is the NEW RECYCLING.
Using essential oil and other natural, readily available ingredients such as vinegar, natural soaps, baking soda, borax and washing soda will save you money on the long run and keep you healthy at the same time.
The natural way is a SUSTAINABLE solution that is affordable, clean, yet very effective at killing germs and bacteria plus it’s great for your health, your pocket, and the planet. This is also the perfect way to start cutting out single use plastic from your home.
Essential oils harness the power of plants, and most of them contain antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties which makes them great for keeping unwanted bacteria and germs at bay without the nasty side effects of store-bought cleaners filled with chemical ingredients, fragrances, and artificial perfumes.
Besides while you’re cleaning with essential oils and smell their amazing aromas you’re also getting numerous other health benefits such as more energy and focus while being in a state of calm and relaxation, relief from nausea, colds and flu, allergies, sinus and other respiratory issues, a stronger immune system, and so much more!
How to become a savvy consumer
If you wand to switch all your chemical cleaners for more natural products, we hope the followings guidelines will help you.
Read and Understand Product Labels- Reading the ingredients list of cleaning products can be overwhelming with words that you have often never heard of, let alone even pronounce. You can google these terms to familiarize yourself with the names of dangerous chemicals and how they can potentially harm your body. All commercial products contain artificial fragrances and perfumes which have negative consequences for your health.
Don’t Be Misled by ‘Green’ and ‘100% Natural’ Marketing Scams.
Many people use ‘green’ alternatives in their homes believing they are a safer option but even these can contain harmful ingredients. Manufacturers are not obligated by U.S. law to list all ingredients in consumer products. Products that are labeled "green" do not necessarily mean they are safer. (3)
Unfortunately, the terms ‘green’ and ‘100% natural’ are often nothing more than marketing terms used by manufacturers and companies to increase sales and cannot automatically be deemed safe. So make sure you google product ingredients to identify potentially dangerous chemicals.
Please always read the product labels and check them against the EWG database for potentially dangerous chemicals. EWG- the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org/skindeep) is a great organization that help consumers identify potentially dangerous chemicals in cosmetic, toiletries and household products. Just enter the ingredients from any labels into their website search bar to find out if they're toxic for your health. (5)
Consider Essential Oils for cleaning
Not only essential oils are antibacterial and effective for cleaning your home, you’re also getting other health benefits while cleaning your home with them such as more energy and focus, more relaxation, relief from nausea, colds and flu, allergies, sinus, and other respiratory issues, and so much more!
To make your home smell nice- diffuse essential oils and eliminate store-bought room sprays, deodorizers and candles (except beeswax candles)- all of which are filled with dangerous chemicals.
DIY your own 100% natural cleaners
If you want to know for sure you're using 100% natural ingredients, the only way to know for sure is to make your own. Before you think or say it's too hard or inconvenient, take a glance at the recipes below and give them a try. Each takes less than 5 minutes to create and they'll actually save you time by not having to run to the store when you run out, as most of these products you already have in your home.
As a general reminder, please always read the product labels and check them against the EWG database for potentially dangerous chemicals. Also buy only USDA organic oils as much as possible, otherwise, you risk spraying on your skin or inhaling the chemicals found in non-organic essential oils which come from conventional farms where plants are sprayed with toxic pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
Your health is priceless and you're the only one responsible for it- stay informed and be proactive.
Here are 6 of our favorite recipes we’ve tried and used for years that are easy to make and an absolute joy to use on a daily basis as these natural cleaners’ amazing scents will also make you feel relaxed while you’re cleaning your home!
Antibacterial Room Spray & Multi-Surface Cleaner
- 1 TBS Jojoba or other carrier oil
- 1 cup 70% Isopropyl alcohol
- 20 drops Lemon or Orange essential oil
- 25 drops Clove essential oil
- 15 drops Tea Tree essential oil
- Combine all these ingredients and be sure to use a colored PET 16 oz or larger spray bottle, and shake well before each use. Avoid any spray bottles with a super fine mist, as the oils may clog the sprayer.
- The reason why 70% isopropyl alcohol is generally preferred for cleaning solutions is due to its sufficient water content which slows its evaporation rate compared to higher percentage cleaners, thus giving it more time to work on bacteria.
- Use on kitchen & bath countertops and other surfaces, as a mattress deodorizer, as a room & fabric freshener throughout your home against germs, viruses, and bacteria, as needed. If necessary, you could also use this on your hands as well, but it may dry them out because of the alcohol content. For your hands check out this 2-minute DIY Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer recipe which is great to use when you're on the go or travel, and it's easy, cost-effective and hydrating on your skin!
- As a room spray- mix ONLY the essential oils together in a bottle, shake well and diffuse this oils blend in your nebulizer - undiluted for a burst of delightful aromas and a germ-free home environment. If you use a diffuser instead, just divide all quantities by 10 (for example, if the recipe calls for 10 drops use just 1 drop, and if 20 drops just use 2 drops, and so on).
- For maximum effect and for a long-lasting aroma, we highly recommend diffusing essential oils in a nebulizer for its capacity to distribute a stronger scent, which is long-lasting and in a fraction of the time, plus for its maximum therapeutic benefits which you won't get with a typical diffuser- read here to find out why. Get the
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 3 tbs of baking soda or borax
- 1/3 cup castille soap
- 2 cups water
- 25 drop essential oils. Choose from the following: Tea Tree, Clove, Tea, Lemon, Orange, Lemongrass.
You can combine the oils as you like, but we recommend tea tree oil drops to be double the rest of the other oils for its powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. Also it doesn't hurt the fact that tea tree oil has a very herbaceous, very fresh scent, which is the equivalent of clean!
Combine the water and the borax/baking soda above until the powder disolves, then add the castile soap and essential oils to the mix, and then funnel the mixture into a spray bottle. Close the bottle, shake well, and label it. Remember to shake the bottle well each time before applying it to the toilet.
Dishwashing & Windows Liquid Cleaner
- 3 oz of liquid castile soap
- 5 drops organic Lemon essential oil
- 3 drops organic Lemongrass essential oil
- 2 drops organic Geranium or Tea Tree essential oil
- 1 drop organic Sweet Orange essential oil
- Mix together in a spray glass or a colored PET plastic bottle and shake well before each use.
- You can use this blended mix with a bit of water to clean windows and trash cans both inside and out.
Typically essential oils or anything formulated with them should be held in glass containers, but the reason why we recommend a PET plastic bottle for this is because it’s easier carrying around without having to worry about breaking a glass bottle when you’re in a hurry to clean up, plus PET plastic is not reactive with the oils as most types of plastics are. A colored PET bottle is also preferable as it protects essential oils from too much light exposure. If you don't have a colored PET bottle, we suggest making a smaller cleaning batch.
Bacteria Busters Carpet Deodorizer
- 1 cup baking soda
- 10 drops organic Eucalyptus or Tea Tree essential oil
- 10 drops organic Lemon or Orange (or Grapefruit) essential oil
- 10 drops organic Clove or Fir essential oil
- Mix together in a bowl and transfer to powder containers.
- Sprinkle blend onto the carpet.
- Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, then vacuum normally.
- Extra TIP: for a spring/ summer scent that is more fresh, mix Eucalyptus, Lemon and Clove oils. For a fall/winter scent with a spicy and warmer vibe mix Tea tree with Orange (or Grapefruit) and Cinnamon oils.
DIY Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner
- 2 gallons hot water
- 1.5 cups white vinegar
- 20 drops organic Siberian Fir or Tea Tree oil
- 20 drops organic Sweet Orange (or Lemon) oil
- Mix all ingredients in a bucket to mop away dirt and grease from tile, linoleum, or laminate floors. For wood floors, we recommend doing your own research before using essential oils.
Disclaimer: Herba Terra Organic is not liable for damage caused to any surface, flooring, or furniture that is cleaned with essential oils or these recipes. Essential oils are extremely potent and concentrated and should be used with caution. Start by testing the recipe on a small surface area before using it on the entire surface.
The collection below includes the BEST essential oils for cleaning known for their antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-viral properties.