The Real Deal: The Dirty Side of Cleaning – Clean-up Your Cleaning Routine

A busy and full life can produce a dirty house. And let’s be real, no one is excited about cleaning the bathroom, absolutely no one! But most of us are cleaning daily, whether it is wiping down the counters after making a meal or just cleaning up a coffee spill. We might be cleaning more than we think.

Traditional commercial cleaners contain loads of toxic chemicals and fragrances. Some recent studies have shown that the chemicals in common, commercially manufactured cleaning solutions, when used just weekly, can be as harmful to your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes daily. Yikes! Have you ever cleaned a small bathroom, spraying down the surfaces you plan to clean and then finding your lungs sting when you take a breath or your eyes water? I can recall that happening to me and it made my asthma flare up. You might not experience the same ill feeling when you clean in larger, open spaces but the chemicals are still there, swirling in the air, even if you’re using a liquid cleaner vs. a spray cleaner. Harmful chemicals like ammonia, chlorine bleach and quaternary disinfectant compounds (aka quats, potent disinfectant chemicals commonly found in disinfectant wipes, sprays and other household cleaners to kill germs, so the product can claim it is “antibacterial”).



You can create your own cleaners using much safer ingredients at a fraction of the cost! This super simple cleaning solution is as effective as bleach at killing germs and bacteria, is much safer to use and has no fragrance at all. I like to use this to wipe down counters in the kitchen and bathroom, wooden cutting boards and all the touch surfaces like doorknobs, faucet handles, light switches, refrigerator handles (you get the picture!):

  • 1 opaque spray bottle (key component as this formula is light sensitive)
  • 2 cups hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 cup distilled water

If you need a tough scrubbing paste for grout or other hard surfaces:

  • 1 large container with a lid
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup fine salt
  • 15-20 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a large glass bowl, then pour into the container and store with a lid at room temperature.

Want a soapy cleaner for greasy surfaces?

  • 1 spray bottle
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup castile soap
  • 20 drops of lemon or orange essential oil

Mix the hot water and baking soda. Stir until cooled, add the other ingredients and mix into the sprayer. This is great for cleaning up after the breakfast bacon or stir fry oils find their way onto the stove top.

To freshen up your home, instead of reaching for soft surface sprays that you, your kids or your pets will come into skin contact with, mix up some easy to make, simple ingredient swaps! Remember that when reading those labels, anything with *Fragrance is typically going to be chemically fragranced.

To remove carpet odors, pre-mix baking soda and your favorite essential oil (use a fork to break up any clumps and evenly spread the EO) then sprinkle over your carpets, allow it to sit for about 30 minutes then vacuum it up.

For window drapes, throw pillows, bedspreads and more, spritz on a lovely naturally scented spray for home fragrance.

  • 1 spray bottle
  • 1 tbsp organic vodka (optional)
  • ¼ cup distilled water
  • 30 drops of essential oils (use lavender in bedrooms to promote healthy sleep; use lemongrass in common areas for a bright fresh scent)

If you decide to try your own mixes to create your cleaner cleaning routine, be forewarned that any time you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you will get a sudden fizzy mixture that is as fast as a volcano, so be prepared!

Cleaning isn’t usually a favorite pastime activity for most. It’s unavoidable, but the harmful chemicals don’t have to be.

Happy cleaner cleaning!


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