When you next clean the house, consider what it would be like to get the same results without using harsh chemicals.
Simple ideas to detox your home.
IF YOU’RE LIKE MOST AUSTRALIANS, you probably have kitchen and bathroom cupboards overflowing with sprays, scrubs, wipes and disinfectants. While you may use some or all of them to get your house clean and fresh, there’s a real chance they’re not doing you or your family much good in the long term.
According to The Endocrine Society of Australia, there are more than 80,000 known chemicals in our everyday environment, some of which are thought to cause reproductive, neurological or immune disorders in humans. Luckily, there are some simple and quick steps you can take right away to begin detoxing your home.
1 CHANGE HOW YOU WIPE KITCHEN SURFACES
It may take some getting used to but Laura Trotta, founder of Home Detox Boot Camp (homedetoxbootcamp.com), recommends simply using a
There are more than 80,000 known chemicals in our everyday environment.
microfibre cloth with water to wipe down kitchen benches. “For stubborn stains, use a combination of water, lemon oil and Castile liquid soap [see recipe, right]. It’s really effective in cutting through grime,” she says. A good-quality microfibre cloth can last up to two years if cleaned regularly to get rid of the bacteria build-up, preferably by putting it through the dishwasher and drying it in the sun.
2 AVOID HARSH OVEN CLEANERS
The gloves required for most oven cleaners is an indication of their toxicity, but they’re not the only option. Laura recommends Young Living’s natural Thieves Household Cleaner (youngliving.com) for big jobs. “I use it neat and put a capful inside a ramekin in the oven at 180°C for 40 minutes until it starts to evaporate. It creates a fine mist on the oven walls and lifts off grime easily, without leaving streaks.”
3 CONSIDER NEW FOOD STORAGE TECHNIQUES
When you buy flour, freeze it for 24 hours as doing this will kill any germs that may already be in the flour, says Laura. “And scatter dry bay leaves throughout your pantry or in rice, flour or pasta containers as this will kill off any weevil eggs as well. If you live in a humid climate, consider keeping your flour in the fridge all the time.”
4 USE BICARB OF SODA AND CITRIC ACID TO CLEAN
To get rid of soap scum in the bathroom, use bicarb of soda sprinkled on a wet microfibre cloth and wipe over the affected area. If your loo needs a really deep clean because the bowl is discoloured, Laura suggests adding three-quarters of a cup of citric acid to the toilet and leaving overnight (turn off the cistern). This will also help get rid of bacteria such as E. coli. “Give it a scrub the next morning – that brings it up better than anything,” she says.
5 GET RID OF MOULD WITH WHITE VINEGAR
Naturopath Nicole Bijlsma from
Building Biology (buildingbiology.com.au) says mould is a health issue for more than a million Australians. It can cause a multitude of conditions, such as insomnia, recurring colds and flu and sinusitis. Getting rid of mould in your home depends on finding and treating the sources of moisture. To clean nonporous surfaces, Nicole suggests using a solution of 80 per cent white vinegar to 20 per cent water. For porous surfaces, such as untreated timber, use a 70 per cent alcohol solution.
6 VENTILATE YOUR HOUSE AND BEDROOM REGULARLY
Pull your sheets back every day and air pillows in the sun as often as possible. Dr Mark Donohoe, from Sydney’s Mosman Integrative Medicine (mimpractice.com), believes you need the right equipment if you have carpet in your bedroom. “Ordinary vacuum cleaners just send the dust into the air, which is the worst for people with asthma,” he says. “Use one with a HEPA filter and vibrating power head.”
7 SAY GOODBYE TO TECH IN YOUR BEDROOM
Nicole says sensitivity to electromagnetic fields is something few of us think about yet we often have power points close to our beds with all manner of devices plugged into them. “These technologies were introduced with little regard for their impact on human health,” she says. If this is too hard to avoid, try turning off all your appliances at the wall and leave your phone in another room overnight.
Keep it simple Adopting a natural approach to cleaning is surprisingly easy.
CLEAN, GREEN AND SAFE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
J. R. Watkins all purpose cleaner, $9.86, from Vitamin Grocer. Pure Castile peppermint liquid soap, 946ml, $28.95, from Dr Bronner. Counter intelligence all surface spray, $13.60, from Murchison-Hume. The Aromatherapy Company “Therapy Laundry” linen mist spray, $22, from In Homewares.