There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean. However, many of the products we use while spring cleaning our homes are filled with ingredients that have proven negative long-term effects on our health. Ammonia, sodium hydroxide and triclosan are some of the culprits found in products ranging from laundry detergents, to glass and mirror cleaners. These ingredients can linger on just cleaned surfaces and are easily absorbed by human tissues, exposing us and our children to hazardous chemicals with unhealthy side effects.

This year, while spring cleaning your home, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), recommends that you use natural alternatives to the chemical-laden cleaning products that are readily available.

The cleaning abilities of some common ingredients found in most Canadians’ kitchens are truly astounding. Vinegar, baking soda, coarse salt and olive oil have exceptional antiseptic and antibacterial abilities and when combined in the right amounts, make excellent natural cleaners. Castile Soap is also a great addition to your natural cleaning arsenal. This plant- based soap made in a style, similar to that originating in the Castile region of Spain, has been used for centuries as an all-purpose natural soap of choice. You can find Castile soap at your nearest natural health store.

To create alternative household cleaners that will effectively clean any surface the natural way CHFA has prepared these easy-to-follow recipes:

All-purpose cleaner

1 cup warm water

1 cup white distilled vinegar

25 drops of essential oil (optional)

Combine ingredients into a jar or spray bottle. Gently shake to mix. Use on counters and other surfaces. Note: For tough jobs, increase the vinegar-to-water ratio to 2:1.

 

Natural laundry detergent

6 Tbsp baking soda

6 Tbsp liquid castile soap

2 Tbsp coarse salt

Dissolve dry ingredients in hot water. Add soap and stir. (Re-use an old laundry soap container).  Use 1/2 cup per full load.

 

Natural furniture polish

2 cups warm water

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp white vinegar (or lemon juice)

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake before use. Spray on furniture and wipe with a damp sponge or cloth.

 

Natural glass & mirror cleaner

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

Combine ingredients into a jar or spray bottle. Gently shake to mix.

Spray on glass or mirror. Re-use old newspapers to wipe clean and avoid streaks.

 

Natural stainless-steel cleaner

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp white vinegar

Drizzle olive oil on one side of a cloth. Rub all over oven, kettle, fridge or other appliance. On the other side of the cloth, drizzle white vinegar. Wipe over the same area and let dry.

 

Once you try these natural alternatives to spring clean your home, you will be hooked on them. To download printable versions of these recipes and to find other natural health solutions, visit chfa.ca or click on this link: CHFA_SpringCleaning2014_Recipes

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