Last week Grace came home from school needing help with a school project. As part of their math unit they were going to the local grocery store. Part of the project was to estimate the cost of items their own family used. She came home with a list of grocery items and wanted to know what we bought on a usual basis. "What do we use for cleaning products?" Gracie asked.
"I use baking soda, salt, vinegar...." I was interrupted "No MOM, what do you use for cleaning supplies?" I took a deep breath, "I use baking soda, salt, vinegar..." again I was interrupted with "I'm just going to write down that you use Lysol, it's easier."
There was a time not all that long ago that I did indeed only use chemical cleaners. To me the chemicals seemed like they would give me a deeper, better clean. When I used the chemical cleaners I had to wash my food prep surfaces with soap and water after I had already cleaned them. If the chemicals I used were not healthy to put into our mouths, why was I using them around my small children? Then I began to experiment with homemade cleansers. They really cleaned well. I only had to clean surfaces once. My children could literally eat the cleansers that I was using (they didn't taste great, but technically you could eat them).
In the past I always used Comet to clean my bathtub. No matter what I did I could never get all of the Comet out of the tub. I would think that I had, and then have a bath and bottom of the tub felt like sandpaper. My first homemade cleaner was a comet replacement. I mixed a box of baking soda, with two cups of table salt and 10 drops of lavender essential oil, then shook it all together. The salt is an abrasive and the lavender essential oil is a disinfectant and smells good too. The nice thing about this cleaner is that if it does not all get rinsed out of the bathtub, it actually softens the water.
The baking soda, salt, lavender oil cleaner is also great for getting rid of stink in the laundry. In the past I would Lysol in with my laundry to get rid of urine smells or other offensive odors. The new all natural cleaner does an even better job. The baking soda absorbs odors and the lavender essential oil disinfects and helps to kill odor. The benefit is that it not only makes the smell disappear, it really softens the laundry, most especially the towels.
So Gracie went to school and said that I used Lysol, but the truth is that I have pretty much eliminated all harmful chemicals in my cleaning. I feel better about using the all natural cleaners, and isn't that really what it's all about at the end of the day?