It's that time of year where we're busting out of our winter funks. Opening the windows, coming out of hibernation and ready for all the newness of the spring season.
But with spring comes the trend to "spring clean" which for many of us means "over clean" disinfecting with harsh chemical and killing every germ and bacteria we can. While we think we're doing some good, more recent science has taught us that bombing all bacteria is doing way more harm than good. Why? Because 95% of the bacteria out there is not only harmless, but much of it is good for us...in fact...necessary for us to live healthy lives. When we destroy it, we throw the balance out of whack and actually allow the viruses and bad bacteria to get a leg up putting ourselves at grater risk for not only catching every little bug that goes around, but also disrupting our mood, sleep, skin health and hormone balance. Our over-cleaning is over kill and we're suffering because of it.
So this spring, I challenge you to take a gentle approach. Open the windows. Change your air filters. Declutter your closets and organize your junk drawer, but let the good bacteria live!
Here are some of my favorite tips for getting rid of the dirt without disrupting the balance of good bacteria in your body and your environment.
Ditch the bleach and harsh chemical cleaners. And while you're at, those "organic" and "natural" brands we all love from Target really aren't that much better. You don't need them. Try these recipes for your own green cleaning products to get your home sparkling and smelling lovely white protecting the bacteria that were meant to protect you!
All Purpose Cleaner:
Add 1/2 cup white vinegar + 1/2 cup of baking soda to a gallon of warm water. Mix in 5-8 drops of lemon and tee tree essential oil (I use doTERRA) and you can clean just about anything except maybe stainless steel. It works great, smells great and it's gentle enough to protect the good bacteria in and around you.
1 cup baking soda + 1 cup white vinegar. I flush or pour a bucket of water into the bowl to make the water level go down. Then sprinkle the baking soda all around and pour the white vinegar on top to create bubbles. Let it work for about 10 minutes then wipe clean. Add a few drops of wild orange essential oil to the bowl that will last for a few days worth of fresh flushes!
Soap Scum, Hard Water Stains and Sink Stains:
Sinks, shower knobs, faucets. I cut a lemon and half and rub it on these surfaces. It gets rid of water stains, soap scum and leaves it sparkling.
Fill an ice cube tray 1/2 way with water. Fill the rest with lemon juice and place small wedges of lemon in each. Freeze overnight. Toss a few in your garbage disposal to freshen it up.
1 cup distilled water + 1/4 cup white vinegar + 2 TBSP olive oil (I add 2 drops of cedar wood essential oil). Mix in a spray bottle and spray directly on dusting cloth to wipe wood surfaces clean.
Hard Wood Floors:
I don't have hard wood floors anymore, but this was my favorite way to clean them when I had them for a spring shine or a big party.
Steep 3 black tea bags in a large bowl of hot water. Be sure to use black tea because it's the tannins in the tea that give your floor the shine we're looking for. Dunk your mop head or floor rag into the tea water, ring it out well and mop. It's that simple!
Hard Floor/Tile Cleaner:
In a 20 oz spray bottle, mix 3 tsps of your favorite Castille soap. This is my favorite. Plus about 1/4 cup of baking soda and fill the rest of the way with warm water. Shake, spray, mop and enjoy a healthier clean.
2. If you don't trust yourself to make your own cleaners or you just can't be bothered. Here are some better for you brands that I use.
Branch Basics: I used their products all throughout the last two scary years to keep our apartment and then our house clean. I trust them and they work!
DoTERRA: I just love these products so much and I've been using them to clean my house for nearly 10 years now. This is what I'm currently using most of all. I have multiple glass spray bottles filled with their two all purpose cleaning solutions + water. So easy to make, refill and use and they leave the house smelling absolutely lovely! I even use these on my kitchen counters without worrying about rinsing or laying my organic food on them after. They have 2 options. OnGuard All Purpose Cleaner which I use in the kitchen and on the floors. And the ADOBE multipurpose cleaner which I love for the bathroom and other rooms.
Honestly, there are a lot of brands out there touting that they're "good for you and the environment". But many of them are still loaded with tons of unnecessary ingredients that are not the best for you or the environment. Just because it says plant-based or organic does not automatically make it safe or effective. Like our food labels...if you're cleaning product has a huge list of ingredients, a bunch of long science words your don't recognize or harsh cleaners like bleach and ammonia....it's best to leave it on the shelf and out of your home.
*Food for thought...if you're buying organic fruits and veggies and then preparing them on a surface cleaned with chemicals...are your really eating organic and chemical free?
Could your gut health use a reboot? Have you been over-sanitizing or had to take a necessary round of antibiotics in the last two years? Join my next 4 Week Gut Protocol group and learn the simple, foundational steps to build a healthy gut.