Friday, July 13, 2012

Chemical Free Cleaning

I have recently decided to go chemical free in our home for cleaning.

I originally thought I would just 'try' to see how it went.
The main reason I decided on this was because I had been getting small cuts all over my hands & nothing seemed to help. Not amount of 'cream' seemed to stop the cuts from coming, yes some creams would soothe once I already had the cut but I couldn't get rid of them.
I had always just blamed "cold weather" or winter but the Summer just past I had cuts the whole time too. 
I wish I had of taken a photo to be able to show what my hands were like.
Lets just say, imagine having tiny paper-cuts all over the backs of your hands & by the time one heals there is another to take its place.

Painful, to say the least. 
Somedays I felt like I could hardly move my hands from the pain.
I would try to remember to wear gloves thinking that the less 'air' got onto my hands the better - but of course, if you have ever tried to live in gloves you realise how impractical it is!

When cleaning I tried using gloves so I wasn't 'touching' any of the chemicals and when that didn't help I tried latex free gloves in case my skin couldn't handle the fabric of the gloves.
Still the same result.

Perhaps I wasn't moisturising enough. So I tried plenty of different products and applied numerous times a day.
Still the same result.

Nothing seemed to be working.

So, I randomly decided that I would try not cleaning with commercial products.

My hands completely healed in a week & I HAVE NOT HAD ONE CUT ON MY HANDS SINCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So glad I "tried".
A month later & I am so grateful that I made that decision!
I have my hands back!

I thought I would give a little run down of what I have been using & some helpful places to go for direction if you too are interested in keeping chemicals to a minimum in your home.

Grab yourself a few spray bottles! They are inexpensive & can be easily rinsed out to be re-used.
Another inexpensive must have is a micro-fibre glove. Its dust-collecting benefits are wonderful!

Number one cleaning product:
I cannot believe how effective this stuff is!
It has so many uses.
- stain remover
- deodorizer
- body scrub

What I've been doing with it:
- To clean tiles I put a tablespoon bi-carb in a bucket with a teaspoon Eucalyptus Oil, fill with water = great for scrubbing floors & removing marks!
- I've been sprinkling bi-carb in smelling shoes = no more smells!
- Sprinkle some on pots with stains let set them remove = no need to scrub pots!
- Let cleaning clothes sit in sink with teaspoon bi-carb = very clean clothes that can be reused!
- About once a week I've been doing a quick wash in our dishwasher with a tablespoon of bi-carb = no more smelling dishwasher!
- I have a small container in the fridge with a teaspoon of bi-carb sitting in it = no more smells coming from the fridge!

Check out this link for some more ideas:

Who knew you could do more than just cook with bi-carb!!!!!!

Also handy:

Great for cleaning soap scum. 
Use to clean the bathroom as it has mild bleach properties. 
Fantastic as a kitchen bench spray, as it works like a degreaser! Using a natural cleaner in the kitchen has got to be a positive when food prep is involved!

I have been squeezing half a lemon into a spray container & adding water - keep this for about a week & use as a general purpose spray.
After about a week flush down the drain - great for clearing drain smells too!

Vinegar kills bacteria. Cleaning vinegar or white vinegar work equally as well.It can be mixed with lemon juice or bi-carb to use as a cleaner, or buy itself diluted with water. Mixing with lemon juice helps with the smell!
Vinegar has a great 'shine' quality to it - so this works well for polishing over those kitchen back-splash tiles and over general household furniture. 
Use to rinse out the toilet!  
Add to your washing in place of fabric softener! 
Use to clean coffee/tea stains off your mugs.
Oh and have I mentioned how CHEAP it is to buy!  

EUCALYPTUS OIL (also try tea tree oil)
Works as both a disinfectant and antiseptic. Can be used as a general purpose spray when diluted with water.
Try as an air-freshener, toilet spray or mould killer
Add to washing to kill dust-mites!
Apparently its great as a cockroach and ant deterrent too!

This is another great product to use for cleaning in the kitchen.
Best bit is the lovely fragance it leaves!
Great for cleaning over white goods and bench tops. Try using it for your fridge and microwave.

For some great ideas for chemical free cleaning check out these websites:
Shannon Lush (Amazing lady who is a chemical free guru - also did a TV series on the LIfestyle channel called "Lush House" showing heaps of tips)


  1. This is fantastic, Sandy! When I was nursing, using those harsh hospital-grade hand cleansers and paper towels on my hands, I would end up with those painful cuts on my hands, too, so I know what you're talking about there. Not good.

    So glad you're enjoying going natural. I've been using less of the chemicals, too - for washing dishes by hand, I've been using a combination of bi-carb, vinegar, salt +/- citric acid. Did you know salt, and citric acid (doesn't have to be used together, just those two things) are excellent cleansers, too?

    Also - something else you might not realise - you can wash your hair with a combination of bi-carb (and essential oils if you like the smell - but be careful of getting them in your mouth and eyes!!), and conditioning the length of your hair (not so much your head/roots) with vinegar?? Commercial shampoos and conditioners actually chronically destroy the health of your hair - as does frequent washing. If you can slowly cut back on washing your hair, you will find after awhile it doesn't get as oily as you might think (yep - those shampoos are designed to make you need to wash every day or every other day), and not only that, but the natural products will actually make your hair more healthy (the bi-carb and essential oils and vinegar). Also, if you have hair that tends towards curly or waviness, stopping using retail products will renew the curl or wave in your hair. If you want to know more about that, ask! It's amazing how terrible chemicals are for us and our bodies, and how "brainwashed" and dependent people have become.

    These tips in this post are fantastic - I didn't know some of them - thanks so much for sharing your experience!!! :)

    1. Thanks for your encouragement! I have only recently been reading about more 'personal' products and how to cut them out due to my success with the cleaning.
      I am trying to find something for a natural deodorant.
      And I have read quite a lot about hair things & currently have a massive bottle that I'm going to use up before I attempt alternatives! I can't bear the thought of wasting it hehehe
      What you mentioned about shampoo and it being designed for us to need to use more - I had read the same thing about commercial cleaners and how it 'attracts' the dirt but then gives this artificial clean look - I must say that I need to clean less now too! Its as if the natural cleaners actually deter dirt in the first place!

  2. I just read this yesterday as a natural deodorant you can try: "Use a baking soda and essential oil paste or just dab some ACV onto a cotton ball and wipe that on". :)
    And I don't blame you for wanting to use up your products before swapping over - I do the same thing!! I can't stand to waste things!! :P
    That's really interesting about the cleaners 'attracting' dirt! And I think the same thing with dishwashing liquid - it seemed to keep dishes dirty, whereas the natural stuff seems to really actually clean things first time around! Things stayed greasy with the retail product - the natural products seem to cut it better for me! :)

  3. I was only saying to my husband tonight that I hope Costco sells really big bags of Bi Carb as I go though it so quickly. It is excellent when wanting to clean saucepans/baking dishes that have bits stuck on - soak for a while with boiling water and it comes of so well. Its excellent stuff.

    On a slightly different topic - Have you tried making your own vanilla extract. I made my first batch at the beginning of the year (1 bottle of vodka and 15 beans) and it is so good (but I won't use it for cleaning!!! - even though it would really work). I am about to make a second bottle for my son as it is far better than the bought stuff. I bought my beans via eBay.

    1. Yes I would definitely like to be able to source bigger boxes of bi-carb!
      WOW that is awesome making your own vanilla extract. hmmmm Vodka makes me vomit :-( so I'd have to work out an alternative..... What a great idea to buy beans via ebay - they can be really expensive!

  4. Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog and love it! I always get little cuts on my hands when cleaning with chemically cleaners like Mr. Clean or Lysol. I even went to a dermatologist because I thought I was developing Eczema! I can't wait to try your all-natural solutions! Thanks for this :)

    1. You're welcome! I really hope these alternatives work for you as well as they did for me :-)