I had started to describe more about the natural cleaning products featured in our final laundry room post, but that was making it waaaaaaay too long so I needed to start a new little post about this.
I did NOT think I would be talking about our move to more natural cleaning on our blog, but it just happened naturally. (No pun intended. Really. Matt is the king of puns, not me.)
So here we are. You and me. Just chattin’ about cleaning products somehow.
(You probably saw a blast of excitement light up my eyes, so you’re naturally intrigued.)
WHAT WE USE FOR NATURAL CLEANING:
- Baking soda (yep, in bulk!)
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Castile soap (You’re thinking, “She probably likes to buy the unscented and then customize the scent herself.” YES! You are brilliant! That is correct!)
- Sal Suds
- This hand soap
- This detergent (Jess l-o-v-e-s)
- This dishwasher soap (Matt l-o-v-e-s)
- Essential oils
Here’s the photo of the shelves in our laundry room cleaning closet:
Getting into the “why” we use the things we do would be a longer story, so for now I WILL just say this:
- Everyone needs baking soda for cleaning (and more). We buy ours in bulk.
- I’m currently loving this hand soap. It’s gentle and smells delicious. But we don’t use their dispensers. We buy these foaming dispensers and add water to make it work (plus it’s lasting forever), because our kids adore “the bubbles” it makes. (And I personally prefer the lighter foamy style too!)
WHY WE DON’T USE AIR FRESHENERS OR FRAGRANCES:
There’s plenty of info out there about the toxicity of many cleaning products. I’ve dealt with a LOT of health issues in my past, and I found that going fragrance-free worked really well for me.
MOST of the time, our house just smells like the outdoors because I like to keep all the windows and doors open. Nothing beats Eau de Nature!
But for the times I’m feelin’ like I want something a little extra, I’ve started using more essential oils.
(I do NOT buy blends because I usually don’t like them…I know…imagine that! The woman who can’t find lighting or beds she likes ANYWHERE, so that she has to ask her husband make them for her, also does that with scents. Actually, I don’t involve him in the scents. I do that “my own self,” as my toddler says.)
MORE THAN YOU EVER KNEW YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT OUR HOUSE SMELLS LIKE:
OUR FAMILY’S FAVORITE ESSENTIAL OILS
Please note: this is not an all-exhaustive list of the benefits of essential oils or how to use them (there’s already plenty of that on the internet so I won’t bother).
I am not an essential oils expert—just a sensitive-nosed human being sharing a little more about all those little bottles you see on our cleaning shelves and why on earth they’re there.
And—as Matt can testify—I am PASSIONATE about good smelling things! I get unusually excited about it. So the below is actually me REIGNING IT IN and just trying to give you the highlights.
- Personally, I am a citrus girl all the way. So I use citrus for everyday: Lime, Grapefruit, and Bergamot are three of my all-time favorites. (We also use our grapefruit oil to add into our homemade toothpaste because it’s good for our gums, but that’s probably yet another post and I don’t know if ANYONE is interested in all the crazy natural personal items we make at our house! The girls just love making their own toothpaste and choosing their “flavors”; it’s so easy, but I digress.)
- I use a lot of Eucalyptus and Tea Tree (to remind me of Aussie—plus they’re supposed to deter a few insects we don’t want setting up shop inside our house). Oh Eucalyptus…in heaven, wherever I live will have acres of eucalyptus trees…they smell SO GOOD.
- In the autumn, I blend ones like Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sweet Orange, and some of my huge-bottled Cinnamon. (Probably because it does NOT feel like fall here in California if I don’t make our house smell like it. Unless you count the scent of smoke from the nearby wildfires as autumnal? I think my children are starting to think it is…)
- Over the holidays, Peppermint and Fir Needle are favorites around here. (Again, we do not live somewhere where it snows or has fir trees right outside our front door, so on the occasional winter day, I like to have it smell like we do! Just for kicks.) And in the process of this lofty goal, I discovered some of the Fir oils I smelled made me want to gag (they did NOT smell like real fir trees! it was shocking to me, actually), so this one I finally found. It is perfect. My work there is done.
As I mentioned under #1, we use a lot of these essential oils not just for cleaning but other natural personal products we make for ourselves, so they do a lot for us!
But still, really, when it comes down to it, my favorite scent in our house is to just open our windows and let the fresh air in! (Especially when our jasmine and citrus trees are blooming outside our windows!)
WHY WE MADE THIS MOVE TO NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS:
We’ve “detoxed” most (if not all!) of our cleaning products. The summary of how we got there goes back to even before we had children.
Because I’m sensitive to smells, it always bothered me to smell the fragrances and other potent scents in many standard cleaning products I’d been using for years. I just didn’t know WHY.
Then, several years ago because of some health issues, we were getting more and more into healthy eating and everything else we could do to help improve our health. Taking out the toxins in our cleaning products, soaps, detergents, shampoos, etc. was just a natural progression.
HOW I’VE FELT SINCE MAKING THE CHANGE:
Honestly, once I started taking the old stuff out, I discovered that I was SO much happier when I cleaned! I can’t explain it scientifically, but it was just like something inside me knew I shouldn’t be using those things around my body.
(The internet is full of info on toxins and scientific info; I won’t rehash that here. And I don’t judge anyone for choosing to use those things; we all get affected differently!)
For me personally, I was JUST SO HAPPY to discover I could clean my house WITHOUT feeling sick and nauseated.
And since I am Persona Numero Uno who cleans our home, that was important.
I discovered I preferred the neutral, non-odor of natural cleaning products like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. (Heck, I even got used to the smell of vinegar when I used it, because my brain associated it with fresh, odor-eliminating, cleaning capabilities!)
The Jess Nose (and tummy) is so much happier without the strong scents, and I feel relaxed knowing my kids can’t get into any cleaning products I’m worried about.
That’s it! That’s all. Easy.
I’m SURE many of you reading have made the same moves or tried some of the same things. Any other natural cleaning ideas you’ve tried and love, share them with me! I’m all ears!
See all our house & garden renovations here.
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