As parents we continually worry about the health and well being of our children. It seems it is our “birth” right.
For me, this looks like trying (though definitely not always succeeding) to keep my home as healthy as possible for myself as well for my family. I try as best I can to feed my family nourishing food, to use minimal products on our bodies (including not washing our hair…), and to use natural cleaning products around our home.
As our culture continues to become more aware of how important it is to know where our food comes from and what it is made of, it is only a matter of time before we realize that what we put in our bodies is just as important as what we put on our bodies and around our bodies– through the products we use on our skin and hair, and the products we use to clean our homes.
As parents we strive to help our children to eat healthy, to get outside and enjoy fresh air, and to minimize their exposure to things like herbicides and pesticides. Yet, despite our efforts, our homes remain toxic places for our children and ourselves.
How is this possible?
Just take a look under your bathroom sink. What is under there? Cleaning products? Or maybe you store them somewhere else…. Either way, wherever you store them, you would not allow your toddler to play with your bleach bottle or your baby to chew on your window cleaner. Yet, we are fine with spraying, dusting, blowing, and sprinkling these chemicals all over our houses and ultimately allowing our children and ourselves to breathe these chemicals into our bodies.
Take a look at these shocking statistics Karen Siegel Maier records in her book, The Naturally Clean Home:
- According to a five-year EPA study, the air in an average American home has chemical contamination levels 70 times greater than outdoor air. The EPA maintains that half of all illnesses occurring in the United States can be attributed to chemical contamination of indoor air. In fact, a 1985 EPA report states that household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air pollution.
- A study by the Toronto Indoor Air Commission concluded that, due to increased exposure to household carcinogens, women who work at home have a 55 percent greater chance of developing cancer than women who spend the majority of their time outside the home.
- The National Academy of Sciences estimates that 15 percent of all Americans are multi-chemically sensitive due to chronic exposure to household and cosmetic products.
Still feel good about what is under your sink? I didn’t after reading those statistics.
As an individual who strives for what is healthy and good for the inside and outside of my body, it only made sense to look for alternatives. I began to look at “healthy” cleaning products on the market: Mrs. Meyer’s, Green Works, Seventh Generation, etc. While those products are “greener” that their mass-produced alternatives, they are not cheap, and their ingredients list still didn’t seem like something I would be okay with my children getting ahold of accidentally…
So I began to look for cheaper, easier, and healthier options. Now I do most of my cleaning with two simple ingredients: baking soda and vinegar.
I clean my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. I use baking soda and vinegar to clean my kitchen sink. I use them to scrub my toilet. (I even sometimes use them on my hair.) Pretty much every surface of my house that I used to use harsh chemicals to clean, I now use baking soda and vinegar instead.
In the past, when I was using these ingredients to clean my bathroom or kitchen I would sprinkle on a few drops of orange essential oil on the baking soda before I added the vinegar.
Now, I don’t even need to do that. This recipe I am sharing with you is the reason why:
Homemade Orange-Scented Vinegar
- Orange peels
- White vinegar
- Quart-size mason jar and lid
- After enjoying a nice juicy orange, save the peels from it.
- Break those peels up into small pieces and place them in your jar and cover with white distilled vinegar.
- Allow your jar to sit on the counter for a few days. When your vinegar has turned from clear to a slightly orange color (after about 2-3 days), simply discard the orange peels and your vinegar is ready to use. It creates a lovely slight orange-y aroma to any cleaning project you use it for.
This recipe is really just a nifty trick I learned from my mother-in-law (one of the most creatively thrifty persons I have ever met). It is very simple.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
Now, rather than spending money on orange essential oil for my cleaning projects, all I have to do is save the orange peels that in the past I would have simply thrown into the compost!
If you are interested in learning more about natural cleaning for your home be sure and check out these other posts I have written: How to Clean Your Bathroom without Toxic Chemicals, How to Wash Cloth Diapers, How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (without Borax), and How to Make Washing Soda.
Here’s to happy, healthy, frugal living! <3
About our guest…
Thanks so much for reading. My name is Jacquelyn (aka ‘crunchy momma’) and this is my baby girl, Athena (who we call ‘little owl‘). I am a wife, a mother, a dancer, a lover of good books, a self-educated student of nutrition, a thinker, and a cook. I share bits of my life at at www.littleowlcrunchymomma.blogspot.com along with healthy recipes, kitchen tips and much more.
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