The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

journey to a chemical free home – part one

on August 23, 2012

If you haven’t realized it already, I am a complete chemical-phobe.  I have been buying organic as often as I can for as long as I can remember.  There’s just something about chemicals, pesticides and growth hormones that rub me the wrong way.  I made a conscious effort to put minimal chemicals in or on my body throughout my pregnancy.  Now that Schy is a very active girl, I understand that it is impossible to protect her from all contact with all things chemical, but I can limit her exposure (and any harmful future side effects) when she’s at home.

I’ve started this journey to a chemical free home with the most commonly used chemical spray – the all-purpose, antibacterial cleaner.  We spray this stuff on everything… the counters, the table, the kitchen chairs and any other surface that may need cleaning and/or sanitizing.  There are endless natural options that can be made at home.  We are not talking serious, multi-ingredient concocting here.  This is simple stuff that can be done in minutes with 2 or 3 ingredients, which you may already have on hand.

Our go-to cleaner lately has been the white vinegar and water solution.  White distilled vinegar has pretty amazing antibacterial properties.  The level of acidity in vinegar makes it very effective at killing bacteria, mold and germs.  It can be used either diluted or straight and the effects are greater with higher concentration.  There’s just one problem.  It smells like vinegar!  Okay, so the smell doesn’t linger for that long, but it does linger.  Although, tried and true, I’m ready to move on to the next.

I have moved on to reading about the antibacterial properties of essential oils.  These are great because you can customize them to smell like something that you enjoy… at least more than vinegar.  Unless you like the smell of vinegar.  I am not here to judge.

Here are some of the best antibacterial essential oils:

  • Lemon (antibacterial, stimulates natural immune system, mood lifting)
  • Tea Tree (anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal)
  • Oregano (very potent antiseptic, antibacterial)
  • Lavender (antibacterial, calming)
  • Eucalyptus (antiseptic, anti-viral)
  • Peppermint (antiseptic, anti-viral)
  • Rosemary (antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic)
  • Thyme (antimicrobial)

*Please use caution when experimenting with essential oils.  They are pure extracts.  Even though they are natural, they can irritate and burn skin if applied directly.  They may also cause allergic reactions.

Here is a quick recipe for a homemade antibacterial cleaner.  You can experiment using this recipe as a basic template.  You can also make a spray without using dish soap by simply adding 5-10 more drops of oil if you would like.

Antiseptic and Antibacterial Spray Cleaner (from 100% pure essential oils)

  • 8oz. spray bottle (clean and repurpose one that you already have)
  • 1 tsp. dish soap (we use planet brand environmentally friendly dish liquid)
  • 7.5oz. of water
  • 10 drops of your favorite antibacterial essential oil(s)

Combine essential oil(s) with dish soap and blend well.  Add water and mix well.  Spray onto countertops, surfaces, etc. and wipe with a damp cloth.

There are an endless number of scents that you can create.  I love lemon and rosemary.  It has such a pleasant and clean smell.  I also love the earthy smell of tea tree oil.  I use tea tree as a natural bug repellant as well.

So, there you have it.  One chemical household cleaner down… many more to go.  This is easy enough for everyone to try.  And so much safer for your family and the environment.  It’ll probably save you quite a few bucks, too!  Who doesn’t love that?

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2 responses to “journey to a chemical free home – part one

  1. I’m a chemical-phobe as well- and we use plenty of vinegar around the house. I haven’t tried adding different oils yet, but I’m looking forward to a better scent!

    • Alli Ferraro says:

      I tried not to mind the vinegar smell for a while. And we still use it sometimes since it’s so convenient, but different, fresh scents are a nice change and equally effective! Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to checking out your blog, too!

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