Synthetic Cleaning Products May Be Harmful
Conventional cleaning products might be effective at keeping things shiny, white and bright, but they can come at a cost to our health and the health of our families. Many people are looking to make the switch from harsh products to more naturally-derived cleaning products for use at home. Ideally, you want to find products that actually work, while making sure they're safe to use in your home space.
Chemical cleaning products can cause skin irritation and are responsible for causing a range of chronic health issues. Examples include infertility, and hormone disruptions and is strongly linked to an increase in cognitive decline. Furthermore, exposure to chemicals in the environment (even in the home) is directly associated with an increase in asthma and allergy symptoms.
We know that making concerted efforts to reduce chemical exposure not only helps reduce the effects of ageing but can also improve our digestion, skin health and vitality. So it makes sense to mitigate our exposure wherever possible.
The environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products can also be significant. Many chemical cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can contribute to air pollution. These pollutants can have a variety of harmful effects on human health, including respiratory problems, eye irritation, and headaches.
Then, of course, there's the ecological argument for choosing green cleaning products. Synthetic and chemically-derived products can pollute waterways and harm wildlife. Additionally, these products often come in single-use plastic bottles which are difficult to dispose of and can end up in landfills or the ocean.
Natural cleaning products are a great alternative for people looking for an eco-friendly option that is still effective at cleaning surfaces. Not only do natural cleaners avoid all the harmful chemicals found in conventional products, but they are also better for the environment.
By switching to natural cleaning products, you can help keep your home free of harmful chemicals and reduce your impact on the environment. Not only that, natural cleaners often cost much less than commercial cleaning products. So go green in your cleaning routine and see for yourself the difference it can make.
Are Natural Cleaning Products Effective?
Yes, natural cleaning products can be very effective at disinfecting and neutralising odours in various ways. Many shop-bought products that have been naturally derived can be used safely on fabrics, carpets, clothes, tiles, wooden surfaces and glass. In some instances, they are just as powerful as synthetic cleaners. It's always a good idea to do a spot test on any surface first, even when using natural cleaning products.
Essential Oils Have Powerful Antimicrobial Activity
In recent years, the interest in clean and green products has risen. As a result, plenty of research is now emerging that highlights how effective natural products can be for cleaning, sanitising and maintaining a healthy environment. Clove oil is a great example of this, where the effects of this essential oil have been proven to improve indoor air quality in a recent study published in the International journal of occupational and environmental health.
Another interesting study conducted in a hospital setting found different essential oils to be useful antimicrobial agents. For a study period of 5 months, both bacterial and fungal contamination were reduced in the environment (air) with the daily use of essential oil diffusion. The results of this study showed that essential oil vapours may help lower the associated health risks of infections in vulnerable patients.
Lastly, a study published in The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy examined the effects of different essential oils on pathogenic bacteria known to cause respiratory tract infections. In this study, 14 different oils showed antibacterial activity to varying strengths.
Essential oils of thyme, lemongrass and cinnamon bark showed high antibacterial activity. Lavender, peppermint and tea tree oil all showed moderate activity against the tested microbes. The bacteria in question included Escherichia Coli, Staphylococcus Aureus, Haemophilus Influenzae, Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae.
The authors also found that a short 2-hour window of essential oil vapour exposure had as much antibacterial potency as an overnight slow vapour release. Finally, the authors concluded varying degrees of vaporised oils in the air may ‘suppress the growth of the bacterial pathogens of respiratory infection’.
Using natural products, such as essential oils is certainly effective as is demonstrated in these scientific studies.
How Do You Use Natural Cleaning Products?
Natural pantry items like vinegar and essential oils can be made into natural cleaning products, right at home. Some of the best homemade cleaning products include:
- White Vinegar
- Clove Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Bicarbonate of Soda
This natural powerhouse can be used to clean windows, sinks, countertops and floors. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant cleaner that can be used to clean windows and glass surfaces. Mix one part vinegar with four parts water in a spray bottle, then spray the mixture onto the surface. Wipe it off with a lint-free cloth for a streak-free shine.
Clove oil is great for disinfecting surfaces and eliminating mould spores and bacteria. Clove oil can be used to clean hard floors like tile or linoleum. Mix one teaspoon of clove oil in 1 cup of warm water, then mop the floor with the mixture. Clove oil can also be used as a mould-preventative spray on walls in areas that are prone to moisture buildup.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has natural anti-microbial properties that make it a great natural cleaner. It's also effective against mould, fungus and mildew. Dilute tea tree oil in water and use it to wipe down countertops or surfaces.
This natural oil is great for removing grease and grime from surfaces. Eucalyptus oil is a natural deodoriser and works to freshen carpets, rugs, and upholstery. Mix it with water in a spray bottle and spritz the fabric lightly.
Bicarbonate of Soda
This natural powder can be used to scrub away soap scum, dirt and grime. Bicarbonate of soda can be used as an abrasive cleaner for bathroom fixtures like sinks and toilets. Sprinkle some on a damp cloth and scrub gently onto the affected surface for a natural cleaning solution.
Keep Your Home Clean, Naturally
With natural cleaning products, you can clean your house safely and effectively without any harm to yourself or the planet. Make use of everyday items like essential oils, cleaning vinegar and water to keep your home sparkling clean. So, the next time you need to clean your home, reach for natural cleaners and green-clean with confidence!
Gelmini, F., Belotti, L., Vecchi, S., Testa, C., & Beretta, G. (2016). Air dispersed essential oils combined with standard sanitization procedures for environmental microbiota control in nosocomial hospitalization rooms. Complementary therapies in medicine, 25, 113–119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.02.004
Goshtasbi, H., Pakchin, P. S., Movafeghi, A., Barar, J., Castejon, A. M., Omidian, H., & Omidi, Y. (2022). Impacts of oxidants and antioxidants on the emergence and progression of Alzheimer's disease. Neurochemistry international, 153, 105268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2021.105268
Inouye, S., Takizawa, T., & Yamaguchi, H. (2001). Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact. The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy, 47(5), 565–573. https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/47.5.565
Laird, K., Armitage, D., & Phillips, C. (2012). Reduction of surface contamination and biofilms of Enterococcus sp. and Staphylococcus aureus using a citrus-based vapour. The Journal of hospital infection, 80(1), 61–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2011.04.008
Schroder, T., Gaskin, S., Ross, K., & Whiley, H. (2017). Antifungal activity of essential oils against fungi isolated from air. International journal of occupational and environmental health, 23(3), 181–186. https://doi.org/10.1080/10773525.2018.1447320
Whiley, H., Gaskin, S., Schroder, T., & Ross, K. (2018). Antifungal properties of essential oils for improvement of indoor air quality: a review. Reviews on environmental health, 33(1), 63–76. https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2017-0023