Written by: Pamela James, MBA, MPH, MPM, MT(ASCP), NBC-HWC, PMP
What do you use to clean your house, your dishes, your body? Unfortunately, your common everyday products are putting the health of you and your loved ones in danger. Every time you spray something, you inhale some of it. Every time something gets on your skin (accidentally or on purpose), it can get into your bloodstream.
Maybe some of you are thinking, “Yep, that’s why I buy ___ which is natural. It says so right on the label.” But did you know that even many “natural” products are full of chemicals, phthalates, parabens, and hormone disruptors? And that doesn’t apply only to cleaning products but also to all those lotions and potions that we knowingly put on our skin every single day.
Here’s the great news. Making your home healthier does not have to be expensive or complicated. There are many natural and safe options to choose from including essential oils, vinegar, castile soap, and baking soda.
Essential oils? Wait, aren’t those just a nice smelling alternative to candles? Actually no, essential oils can be used in a number of ways and have been for thousands of years around the world. I won’t bore you with all the science, but here’s the basics.
Essential oils are naturally occurring compounds found in the various parts of trees, flowers, and other plants. Plants make essential oils for their own health – to repel insects, protect them from the environment, resist microbes, and more. When we use a 100% pure essential oil, those same properties work for us too!
Have you ever used a scented candle, cleaning product, or lotion? Ever had a cup of tea, put a lemon in your water, or added herbs and spices (fresh or dried) to your food? Then you’ve used essential oils!
As we’ve already discussed, we want to decrease (or eliminate completely) the use of dangerous household chemicals. And the best way to do that is to start with simple swaps. Make your own products and know exactly what’s in them! Don’t let the idea of essential oils or DIY (do it yourself) overwhelm you. Here are a couple easy DIY recipes to try.
|DIY All-Purpose Spray:|
¼ cup white vinegar
1 ¾ cup water
30 drops Essential Oil*
Add all ingredients to a 16 oz spray bottle. Shake thoroughly and spritz on surfaces and wipe clean! Perfect for use all throughout the house!
|DIY Dish Soap|
2 cups unscented castile soap
20 drops Lime essential oil
8 drops Lemon essential oil
6 drops Orange essential oil
Fill a large, clean bottle with castile soap and essential oils. To use, shake and add 1-2 tbsp to dishwater or a small amount to a natural sponge
|*Choose your own essential oils such as 30 drops of lemon, 15 drops tea tree + 15 drops lemon, 15 drops Lime + 10 drops lemon + 5 drops orange. Feel free to add in other essential oils such as peppermint or lavender.|
Look at how easy it is to swap out expensive and dangerous cleaning chemicals! Simple recipes with simple ingredients for a healthier home in just minutes.
A couple final notes. Firstly, always use caution with essential oils as they are extremely concentrated and powerful. A couple drops goes a long way. Secondly, watch out for impure and synthetic essential oils as you lose all the great benefits when they are made in a lab instead of by nature. Even those essential oils labeled as 100% pure are usually diluted or adulterated. Do your research.
Interested in learning more about using essential oils in your life? There are a number of classes coming up that will help you get started. Visit https://www.morainepark.edu/academics/continuing-education/ find an essential oils class for you.