A Fresh New Year
Updated: Mar 9
For many January is a great time to start out another year fresh. I like to start in the home. It's a nice time to clean out the cabinets, refrigerator, medicine chest or apothecary, closets, etc. I check the dates on labels and toss it out when in doubt. I especially do heavy cleaning and that means working with a lot of cleaning supplies. It can also mean working with many toxins unless you create your own cleaning supplies.
Did you know that using a disinfectant once a week increases your risk of lung disease by at least twenty-two percent? One such risk is COPD, which is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
An eight-year study was done with nurses in 2009 who had no history of COPD and were still employed in a nursing job and examined in 2017. They were given a questionnaire to evaluate their exposure to disinfectants. During the study, they found that 663 of the nurses who used disinfectants were diagnosed with COPD. Those nurses who used disinfectants at least once a week had a twenty-two percent higher risk of COPD.
Common cleaners such as bleach, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide as well as quaternary ammonium compounds and glutaraldehyde were also examined. All of these cleaners were related to higher incidents of COPD between twenty-four and thirty-two percent.
These results were released to the European Respiratory Society International Congress and were the first to link the exposure to cleaning products and nurses’ with COPD. There have been previous studies connecting asthma and even more serious lung conditions with healthcare workers. There are more studies being conducted to determine which chemicals are the main culprits in causing these health issues.
After reading about this study I couldn’t help but wonder about the rest of us who use disinfectants in our home and place of employment. I grew up in a home where bleach, ammonia, and other chemicals were used daily. I also used those chemicals for years around my children. Of course, we all know they are to be used with caution but how many of us really thought about what we were doing to ourselves.
I was in my forties when I decided to make a drastic life change in my household. By then my children were all grown and on their own so I didn’t get to teach them a safer way of living. Now that it’s been a few years of doing so I have been able to offer them better, healthier alternatives.
You would be surprised to learn how easy it is to make your own natural cleaners with simple ingredients that are effective in decreasing your family’s exposure to germs, mold, and toxins.
Here are a few recipes that are simple and work great while saving your health and your wallet at the same time.
DO NOT use anything acidic such as vinegar or citrus on any stone countertop. For quartz, granite, or marble use this recipe: In a spray bottle add ½ cup vodka (rubbing alcohol works if you prefer) to 1 ½ cups distilled water and add 5-10 d. of lavender or basil e.o. Shake well and it’s ready to spray and wipe with a microfiber cloth.
For an all-purpose cleaner: Add peels of your choice from lemons, lime, oranges, or a mix of two or three, to an empty container. Cover the peels with vinegar and set in a dark, cool spot for two to six weeks. Once the scent is to your liking filter the liquid into a spray bottle. Use as needed.
TIP: Add a sprig or two of rosemary or other herbs to above recipe to create seasonal scents. Just be sure to strain before adding to spray bottle to prevent clogging.
All-purpose cleaner great for stainless steel: Add four tablespoons of baking soda to one-quart warm water in a spray bottle. Great for countertops, sinks, faucets, inside refrigerators, and even stainless steel.
Reusable disinfectant wipes: First, cut 15 -20 squares of cloth (old tee-shirts or dish towels work well). Then use an air-tight container or old baby wipe container. Fold the squares and place inside the container. Add ¼ vinegar to one cup water. Add 8 d. tea tree e.o., 8 d. eucalyptus e.o., 8 d. lemon e.o. and mix together. Pour over the cloth and close the container. Use as needed. Toss in the washing machine to clean and reuse.
All-purpose scour cleanser similar to Comet or Ajax: In a shaker type container (I use an empty squeezable mayo container) add borax (from the laundry aisle). For extra cleaning power add lemon juice or lemon e.o. Use just as you would Comet.
These options are so much healthier to start out our new year with a fresh clean start, not just for our home but our health as well.
Do you have an alternative cleaner that you would like to share?