Natural Cleaning the 'Naked' Guide...

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

 

In June of 2000, the World Health Organization warned that antibacterial products directly contribute to the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bacteria and viruses, are naturally, everywhere we go. We can’t escape them and we shouldn’t want to…

Our bodies produce antibodies in response to exposure to bacteria. Those antibodies protect us in the future from the same germs. If there were no exposure to bacteria and viruses, how would we make antibodies?

Babies who are exposed to bacteria and viruses at an early age produce antibodies quicker than babies who are kept in virtually sterile environments. You only have to look at the increase in ‘sick’ babies over the years. Allergies, food intolerances; every ‘yummy mummies’ little precious has something wrong with them these days. What happened to all of the snotty nosed, knee scraped, mucky faced scallywags running around in the mud?

While staying germ-free can prevent the spread of disease and infections, leading a cleanlier lifestyle may be responsible for an increase in allergies among children.

“It’s called the hygiene hypothesis,” says Marc McMorris, M.D, a pediatric allergist at the University of Michigan Health System.

“We’ve developed a cleanlier lifestyle, and our bodies no longer need to fight germs as much as they did in the past. As a result, the immune system has shifted away from fighting infection to developing more allergic tendencies.” 

 'Science Daily'


So what is the answer?

Well the usual one that keeps coming up … lets go back to basics and take advice from the elders. Clean naturally. 

My ‘funda’ is: 

If it looks clean and it smells clean, then it probably is clean and if it isn’t it probably doesn’t matter anyway. So if you are on a mission to save the world from toxins, chemicals, pollution and plastic, then here is my basic guide to:

'Naked Cleaning'…

Most of the research I have done has brought results in the form of a million recipes for a million different things to clean. Now I get a bit impatient when it comes to recipes and my mind starts to wander. By the time the idea of logic has briefly entered my head I overload and end up sitting down for a cup of tea instead…

So simple and natural cleaning is all about understanding the ingredients and how they perform. If you know the basic chemistry of the product, then your common sense will lead you in the right direction without the need for a measuring jug...

So in no particular order, they are...



Lemon...
  
The number one in natural fruity freshness…
The citric acid in lemon juice makes it perfect for natural bleaching, disinfecting, deodourising and cutting through grease. Take a cut and squeezed leftover lemon, sprinkle it with bicarbonate of soda and use it to clean just about anything. Rinse the surface after a few minutes with a clean wet cloth.



Vinegar...

White distilled vinegar is mildly acidic and leaves no odour behind.
Use to shine windows, wiping away with scrunched up newspaper. As a fabric softener, one cup in the rinse cycle. To clean mineral and lime deposits from taps and ceramics, mix a paste of vinegar and bicarb, leave for a few minutes to work then rinse off thoroughly. Vinegar and water in a spray bottle makes a fantastic deodoriser spray. Vinegar on a damp cloth is great for dusting. Be careful not to use vinegar on marble surfaces.



Bicarbonate of Soda...

(aka baking soda/powder = bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar/sodium bicarbonate)
Bicarbonate of soda is an alkaline, abrasive and a great deodoriser – it doesn’t just absorb odours but it also neutralises them as well, making it a great cleaner for the refrigerator. Shake and Vac carpets to remove nasty smells. For tea and coffee tannin stains, scrub with a little bicarb paste.



Olive oil...

Just the simple cheap stuff. Of course oil has great moisturising properties, so it makes a wonderful furniture polish. Mix with a little lemon juice or vinegar and buff on with a soft clean cloth. Use olive oil to keep your wicker baskets supple and your hands soft after all that washing up (no fairies round here!)



Salt...

Multi purpose cleaner, naturally anti bacterial, stain remover and abrasive. It’s also incredibly cheap.



Borax...

Borax, or sodium borate, is a naturally occurring alkaline mineral. It isn't toxic and it's safe for the environment. It cleans, deodorizes, disinfects and softens water. Used mainly for laundry it beats 'Daz' on whiteness. Be careful as it can irritate skin and of course don't eat it.



Castile Soap...

Made exclusively from vegetable oils, it should be 100% olive oil to be classed as ‘Castile’. It lathers up for use in washing up, washing and cleaning, in fact use it for just about anything that needs a good clean or heavy duty degreasing. Grating it makes it easier to use.



Water...

Don’t for get the main ingredient for cleaning. Cold water is best for anything stained, warm water helps to lather up soap, boiling water will kill all the nasties and make you a nice cup of tea too.



Weather...

Sunshine naturally kills off dust mites and mould and air-drying in good weather is quick and gives your laundry that wonderful sunny smell.



Plants...

Produce oxygen and purify the air from toxins. Top purifiers are Philodendrons, Spider plants, Palms, Ferns and Dracaenas.



Essential oils...

It is simple to choose your oils by how you feel when you smell each one. Fresh fruity citrus fragrances are good for cleaning, try lemon, lemongrass, orange or grapefruit. Medicinal fragrances are good for naturally disinfecting: rosemary, lavender, tea tree. Add to vinegar and water and spray on shower curtains and other mildew prone areas for a natural fungicide. Never underestimate the power of pure essential oils and always check the properties before use. Do not use undiluted and avoid contact with skin or plastics when neat.



Flowers...

The perfect finish to a good days spring-cleaning. Fresh flowers will make it all seem worthwhile. If you can pick them from you own garden or get someone else to buy them, then consider yourself extremely lucky!



Time...

A very often forgotten ingredient for cleaning. The 'power' of natural cleaning products, needs a little more time to work compared to commercial products. This gives you a well deserved few minutes to sit down, guilt free and savour your tea…

***

Thank you for the beautiful images...
(
lemon)(cleaning kit)(vinegar)(bicarb)(borax)(washing line)(oil)(water)(salt)(soap)(essential oil)(plants)(tea)

9 comments:

Kel said...

nice post emma. It reminded me of a friend of mine years ago who is a surgeon being very concerned at my impending home birth ' what about the sterile zone" she exclaimed! Huh? im having a baby not an operation! I have friends who'd mop the floors every day when their kids were crawling...crazy. My kids have been to the doctors three times in ththeir 13 and 10 years, complain that they never get sick and therfore get time off school etc. i swear its due to my 'excellent' housekeeping! grin

chaiselongue said...

You're right. All these chemical cleaning products are very dangerous, I think. We should protect children from these rather than from a few germs which they will develop antibodies to. When my children were young, and certainly when I was a child, very few people had food allergies, it seemed! They must have come from somewhere - probably an overprotective environment. Unnatural environment (and over-use of antibiotics) leads to inability to cope with nature.

Jade of the Jungle said...

Ooooh, what a fab, helpful post! So agree re being too sanitised! Kids are meant to get mucky!

Jade xx

apieceofwood said...

Great, informative post.. thank you!

Sorrel said...

! Thank you for your post! I am very excited to find your page. I noticed you from a comment you posted on cagefreefamily's page. They are very good friends of mine. ... I am really the only one of my friends (that I live around), that is so intent on living this natural "Naked" life that has been given to us. ... I just want to treat it with respect.
Thank you
~Peace

Sharon J said...

Excellent post.

I've always said that we've become too germ fussy - if my kitchen floor isn't sparkling I don't worry, we're not eating off it after all. And what difference does a little dust make unless you're allergic? I do use anti-bacterial hand-wash before and during food preparation but never in the bathroom.

I stopped using almost any chemical based cleaning products a long time ago now. Vinegar, lemon & bicarb are my friends :)

emmani said...

Kel... you 'have' to read this: It's a bit off subject, but ties in with your comment about birth and operations... a very strong post...

http://www.cagefreefamily.com/2008/09/how-we-get-here.html

Chaiselongue, Jade, APOW and Sharon, Angel's the muckiest baby in the world! I've been battling my Mum for years, she's the super clean queen! I would just go out and eat dirt just to annoy her!

Sorrel...wow, I'm touched, CFF are sooo inspirational, you are lucky to have such beautiful friends. I look forward to reading your story...thanks for coming!

Frugal Trenches said...

This is the most beautiful post! I use all natural products for cleaning and now am desperate to do the same for shampoo!

You've inspired me!

emmani said...

Did you see this post Frugal?

http://indian-earth.blogspot.com/2008/08/shikakai-shine.html

Magic miracle shampoo, 100% natural and cheap too!