Green Cleaning is Easy But It's Still Cleaning
Life is toxic, polluted and dangerous. Maybe it always has been, but we modern parents are now burdened with the weight of knowledge, and as they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. How do we balance our fears and anxieties with allowing our kids to be kids?
I live in a pretty green neighbourhood. Most us try to do what we can to reduce the toxic load on our kids, while at the same time reducing our carbon footprint. At our house, we rigidly divert our garbage, we buy organic (and/or local) food and personal care products and we use green cleaning products. These small endeavours may be erased by our gas-guzzling SUV, but we all make choices that we feel comfortable with.
Out greening each other can be a bit of a competitive sport on the playground – one that our household does not win. Sometimes I wonder if the parents who worry obsess about organic everything and staying plastic-free remember that part of what makes kids healthy is their interaction with the world, not their fear of it.
I try and be aware of what products I don’t want in my house but the information can be so overwhelming and it changes so often that sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode. I try and pick my battles so that I don’t become completely obsessed and anxious about everything my kids come into contact with. Occasionally, I worry that I am not doing enough, sometimes I think I worry too much, what I do know is that there is no right answer in how much is enough to protect your kids from the toxic bogeyman.
I chose to stop buying toxic cleaners because I actually hate the smell of them. I can’t stand the smell of things made up by marketing people -- artificial bountious forests, glacial snow, joyous orange or any kind of fake lemon scent. I figured that the horrible smell must mean that there are some pretty horrible things in there so I thought I would give natural cleaners a try. Once I made that decision I was locked into buying some pretty pricey cleaners that were literally going down the pipes so I tried out the homemade version.
I have to admit that I did order this Eco-me starter kit from goneshopping.ca to get me started. It’s probably not really worth it, as all it is a spray bottle with pre-marked directions on it and some aromatherapy oils but it got us started. Once we ran out of their oil blend, I just went to the store and made up my own blend of tea tree, orange and lavender and now I add that to my vinegar and baking soda blend. I stocked up on microfiber cloths and a huge vat of vinegar and that is what we use. It works great! Even my super-neat husband reluctantly agrees that it works. Regular house vinegar is a 98 per cent effective in killing household germs.
The only thing that I still buy is toilet bowl cleaner. There is this amazing site: lesstoxicguide.ca that details the chemicals to watch out for and some homemade versions to try but their solutions for toilet bowl cleaning didn’t quite do it for me – one of which was pouring a can of coke into the toile and letting it sit. (Just another reminder of what Coke does to your insides!) From now on I will check the guide for recommendations for green cleaning, but also beauty and baby products as well.
There is a lot of information out there about toxicity and it can be pretty scary but the worst thing we can do is pass that fear on to our kids. I don’t want my kids to be afraid of the world, I want them to embrace it and make it a better place. (cue the birds singing now)
Recipe for Window Cleaner (also works on stainless steel):
Half and half vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
3 drops essential oil blend (I use tea tree, orange, and lavender oil)
Wipe with crumpled up newspaper of microfiber cloth.