A couple of years ago, I wrote about some simple recipes for natural homemade cleansers.These are some very simple concoctions that you can make with ingredients like baking soda, white vinegar, and essential oils that will clean and disinfect your home for a fraction of the cost of commercial preparations.
I started using these recipes several years ago primarily to save money. I started to resent the fact that a tub of cleaning wipes was $3.00 and a bottle of tub cleaner was $4.00. Add to that the fact that many of these cleansers didn’t work all that well and I decided to create my own alternatives. Over the years that I’ve been using these preparations I’ve discovered a handful of other benefits in addition to saving money. Here are the extra benefits I’ve discovered.
Environmental benefits: Natural cleaners are far less toxic to the environment. You’re not pouring toxic chemicals down the drain to be returned to the water supply. You’re not using as many disposable bottles and wipes that clog landfills and require lots of resources to produce. Natural cleansers are biodegradable and, since you’re refilling your bottles and containers each time you make a new batch, your generating less waste.
Safety: Natural cleaners are much safer to have around the home. You have a lot less to worry about if your kids get into the cleanser cabinet because the products are non-toxic. You don’t have a lot of chemicals being applied to your counters, tables, and floors, either. I always felt a little strange about eating any food that had touched my counters after I cleaned because of the chemical residue that was left behind. If you have kids that will put anything into their mouths, you don’t want them picking up stuff off the floor if that floor has been cleaned with harsh chemicals.
Reduced allergies: The strong scents and chemicals in commercial cleaners always made my allergies act up. And if I failed to wear gloves, I’d wind up with rashes on my hands from the chemicals. With natural cleaners, I don’t have these problems. The rest of my family has also seen a reduction in their allergies since the air is no longer perfumed and filled with harsh vapors.
Less frequent/expensive septic tank care: We had the septic tank pumped for the first time in fourteen years earlier this summer. We weren’t having problems but figured it was time. We got a pleasant surprise when the pumper uncovered the tank and discovered that it wasn’t that bad. Our use of natural cleaners had actually kept our good bacteria “fed and happy” so that they could do their jobs. The tank guy told us that people who use a lot of harsh cleansers end up killing their bacteria and then the tank fails. When using organic cleaners, you can get better mileage out of your tank.
Less chemical load on the body: I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about “chemical load,” which is the amount of chemicals that build up in our bodies over time from our cleansers, food, pollutants, medications, soaps, cosmetics, and lotions. Over time all of these chemicals can play a role in everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s and other diseases. I’ve started taking steps to reduce my chemical load and using natural cleansers has been a big part of that.
A little more exercise: You do get a little more exercise when you clean with natural cleansers. More scrubbing is required when using baking soda to clean a tub than when using an automatic shower cleaner or a spray-and-leave-it type of product, for example. Scrubbing a toilet is more exercise than just squirting a chemical under the rim or putting something in the tank and walking away. But this is a good thing. Most of us could stand to move more and this gets you moving and productive.
Reduced health care expenses: Since our allergies have been reduced, we don’t buy as many medications or visit the doctor as often. Since we’re not smelling chemicals all the time, we have fewer headaches so we buy fewer painkillers. I’m hopeful that the reduced chemical load on our bodies will pay off with long term good health. The extra exercise isn’t hurting us, either. Not only are we saving money on the cleansers themselves, we’re saving on our healthcare, too.
Less wear and tear: I’ve noticed that my things just look better when using the natural cleansers. My products don’t leave any film behind. They are non-abrasive so there’s no scratching on surfaces. The lack of harsh chemicals means that my clothes fare better in the wash. Colors don’t fade, either on my clothes or on other surfaces.
If you’ve ever considered making homemade cleaners to save money, let me tell you that it is well worth the effort. Not only will you save that money, you’ll realize several other benefits to your health and home maintenance, as well.