SPRING CLEANING THE CHEMICAL FREE WAY – PART 1

Our family is additive free and organic, not just for long-term health but also for our allergies and sensitivities.  Our son in particular suffered from eczema when he was younger and we were able to help him feel better was by switching to additive free organic food.  (There are plenty of additives linked to skin issues – you can click here to see a full list).  However, it wasn’t just the food we changed for our health.  We also changed our beauty, bathing and cleaning products.  Why?  Because what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in it and what we inhale from household cleaning products can be toxic and affect us too.

Whilst it’s not often thought about, we lather our bodies with chemicals every time we wash our hands or hair and bathe or moisturise our bodies.  Plus we smother all surfaces of our house in chemicals when we clean or spray freshener.  So to follow through with all things Spring and chemical free, I’m going to deviate slightly from the realms of food additives and branch out to help you convert your home and outside your body to be organic or chemical free too.  With a few simple changes, your family’s behaviour and health can improve remarkably when you progress from additive free food to an additive free lifestyle, particularly if anyone suffers from allergies or sensitivities.

The biggest stumbling block for most when converting to a chemical free lifestyle is the cost, so my tips today will focus on a few key changes you can make that are economical, easy and ultimately lead to your kids feeling happier and healthier, especially if they too suffer from skin conditions or allergies/sensitivities like our kids.

CHEMICAL FREE SPRING CLEANING TIPS FOR YOU & YOUR HOME

THE DYNAMIC DUO – BICARBONATE OF SODA AND VINEGAR

Kids are messy – there’s no getting around that fact.  Cleaning up after them though, doesn’t have to involve a chemical cocktail of nasties that triggers reactions.  Good old vinegar and bicarb of soda will help with just about anything – whether it’s getting pen marks off the wall (it’s just too tempting that big blank canvas isn’t it?!) or removing the stubborn bits on your saucepan.  Goodbye gumption (or the latest stain removing bleach enhanced bottle of cleanser)… hello cheap and chemical free alternative!  I also use vinegar as a spray to disinfect my chopping boards in the kitchen or descale my kettle.

SURFACE SPRAY

Good old vinegar comes into play again here, with a drop or two of vanilla and you have a delicious smelling antiseptic spray to clean your surfaces without all the nasties.

NATURAL WOOD POLISH

We are very fortunate to have an awesome family heirloom wooden dining table.  Of course having wood furniture means you have to give it lots of TLC.  We give our table the love it needs by applying a regular polish with natural organic beeswax, which leaves it looking (and smelling) fantastic!  That’s the same organic beeswax our kids use to make lip balm (the recipe was in the Winter/June TFW newsletter).

I also juice up my wooden kitchen chopping boards with organic coconut oil (after cleaning them with organic dishwashing detergent* and then spraying on vinegar as a disinfectant).  *We use our dishwasher a lot (one of mans best inventions in my eyes) so whilst it’s a little on the expensive side, a bottle of organic dishwashing detergent will last us ages…

MOISTURISER

The wonders of coconut oil extend beyond being good for your insides and all things cooking related, it can also be used as a moisturizer – great for eczema. If you’re into making your own moisturiser, be sure to check out this fabulous blog on the best essential oils to use by Mom Prepares.  It has loads of well researched information and great essential oil recipes for those of us with allergies or eczema.  You can also try this awesome homemade eczema cream recipe by the very inspiring Kulamama.

GOATS MILK SOAP

Eczema is exacerbated by strong chemicals and perfumes – the main ingredients of most soaps.  if someone in your family suffers from eczema, stick to natural, organic soaps or ones based on goats milk and little else.  My next venture is to make my own soap – something I’ve always wanted to do!  I’ll keep you posted :-)

THE MANY USES OF ESSENTIAL OILS

To freshen your home and get it smelling like Spring, switch from chemical concoctions to a few drops of essential oils in an oil burner or in a recycled spray bottle filled with water.  It’s that easy.  My favourites are orange, bergamot, lavender and sandalwood.   Get creative and mix your own blends.  You can also add oils to bicarb of soda, sprinkle it on you carpet and leave it to soak for a bit before vacuuming up – chemical free carpet cleaner and deodoriser!

Essential oils such as lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus are also great for antiseptic and antibacterial purposes (instead of Dettol or the like).  Plus, you can make your own deodorant/body antiperspirant with essential oils and witchhazel.  Want to know how to make your own deodorant?  Here’s the recipe I use.  Mix 80ml witch hazel with 5 ml glycerine, add 20 drops bergamot, 20 drops lavender, 10 drops cypress or lemongrass and 5 drops frankincense oil into a glass pump spray bottle and shake well.  I recently discovered another version by Kulamama that is similar and uses salt (instead of glycerin) and magnesium oil, so I’ll be giving that a try next batch.  Click here to see Kulamama’s deodorant recipe on my Healthy Tips Pinterest board.  Another great site for essential oils information and recipes is Mom Prepares. They have well researched information for all sorts of uses of essential oils.

FRESH IS ALWAYS BEST

If you’re lucky enough to have some divine fresh lavender growing in your garden, pick a few stems, crush them and place them in a bowl for a quick room freshener.  Or my favourite, pick your own flowers or go to the local markets and buy a nice big bunch to get the scent of spring through your home.  Nothing fresher than the smell of flowers in the spring!

Ok, so there are some ideas to get you started on expanding your chemical free transformation beyond the food you eat… But how do you actually make the change?

As with anyone new to the additive free journey, when spring cleaning your cleaning products it may be best to start with some small steps.  Pick three things you use all the time – maybe it’s surface spray, soap and hand wash.  Perhaps it’s hair care and beauty products.  Find out where you most expose yourself or your family to chemicals and slowly make the change by swapping those products for homemade or store-bought chemical free or organic replacements.

If you’re a little perturbed by the thought of making your own products, check out my next blog for product suggestions you can buy.  In the meantime, Happy Spring Cleaning, and do let me know if you have any favourite chemical free tricks of your own!  You can share by commenting below or heading to TFW Facebook page by clicking here.

Loren x