Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Simple Suggestion #119 ... Make your own cleaners

In my basement, I have a shelf of which I'm not proud. On it are all sorts of cleaning products that are full of chemicals that are not good for me... or my environment. I mean, look at Mr. Clean, on the left near Pledge and Pinesol. Just the neon yellow colour of that stuff looks nuclear-toxic!

Actually, some of the stuff there was inherited from the previous owners of this house (do they even make Pledge any more?) and a lot of it, I've never touched. Time to take it to the Ecostation for disposal. Especially since the David Suzuki Foundation (see sidebar links) is having a "Spring Breakup" campaign designed to make consumers aware of the toxins in our cleaning products. The "Queen of Green," Lindsay Coulter, is offering recipes for making more natural alternative cleaners that don't contain yucky-sounding things like alkylphenol ethoxylates, the ethanolomine family (mono, di and tri), quaternary ammonium compounds, sodium laureth/lauryl sulfates, and triclosan, the great hormone disrupter.

What's really great is that the ingredients in these homemade cleaning recipes can be as simple as olive oil, white vinegar, lemon juice, water, and baking soda. The most complicated items are liquid castile soap, soap granules, sodium borate (borax) and essential oils (only if you like your cleaning products to carry a fragrance).

If you want to check out Lindsay's recipes for yourself, here's a link:

I led a Simplicity Workshop last week, and one of the comments that came up was that living simply can be a lot of extra work if you're going to do it well. But those who choose to live simply know that by making our own cleaning products out of natural things, we're sparing our planet and our homes and bodies a lot of complex chemical consumption conniptions (sorry, I couldn't resist all that alliteration). Mixing up a batch of any of these products and storing them on my shelf instead of what's there right now will feel better for my planet, my family, and me. How about you?

Happy healthier cleaning!

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.


  1. Ha ha. So funny that we both talked about cleaning today...must be early spring in the north country. I know what you mean about people thinking that it is extra work to live simply and naturally, but with some quick fixes and a little no how, It isn't any harder, and certainly a lot more satisfying. Thanks for the links!

  2. In my house its the war of the sexes:) I'm a vinegar and water girl and the husband is Mr. Chemical. Hopefully he'll come over to my side!

  3. Thanks for sharing our campaign and one of my passions as the Queen of Green. Lindsay Coulter (fellow Edmontonian)

    1. Ah, Lindsay, you're one of my heroes!


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