Spring Cleaning with Nature's Ingredients: Earth-Friendly and People-Healthy
Homemade or retail, eco-safe products are good for humans, too.
For me, being mindful of ways to protect our planet started when I realized my “world” was our then-toddler son, Kenny.
Early on, we noticed chemicals in laundry detergents and household cleaners triggered his allergies, so we searched for alternatives. To no surprise, harsh contents that are harmful to people aren’t good for the environment either, and the natural options are often more affordable and more effective.
This week I talked with Jack Lawlor, the office manager for Merry Maids in Algonquin. He said the topic of earth-friendly household cleaning products comes up quite often.
“Probably about 20 percent of people who call have asked, or have wanted to know what type of products we use,” he said. “Everything we use is nothing that would harm the house, or the children or the environment.”
Lawlor said sometimes people want the maids to use cleaning products selected or even made by the family.
“Sometimes they’ll have a kid with some health condition and they are concerned,” he said. “Everything we use is hypo-allergenic and earth-friendly, but when people call and let us know they want their house cleaned, if they want us to use their products, we do.”
And sometimes it’s as simple as vinegar and water. That’s a combination I use to clean my laptop: equal parts vinegar and distilled water leaves the surface gleaming and smelling great—it also works on kitchen areas, too. Tossing orange and lemon peels into the garbage disposal and grinding them up is the best freshener I’ve ever found.
I have some favorite natural products I buy at Trader Joe’s on Randall Road, too. The “Commander,” Justin Oster, is always happy to help answer questions, and their cleaning supplies section is small – because a few products go a long way.
The Trader Joe’s Cedarwood and Sage Multi-Purpose Cleaner is made of water, cedarwood and sage oils, grain alcohol and water. It smells absolutely refreshing and it’s gentle on everything. It’s less than $3 for a 34-ounce bottle.
I also like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Peppermint Castille soap, which comes in a 5-ounce bar for $2.99 or a 32-ounce bottle for $8.99. It smells like mouthwash, and it’s made of water, organic coconut oil, potassium hydronate, organic olive oil, organic hemp oil, jojoba oil, peppermint oil, citric acid—and of course it comes in 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. Add a little water and it’s a pure liquid cleansing power that revitalizes the entire house with its fragrant minty freshness.
The best part is, it doesn’t burn your hands so you don’t even need the rubber gloves.