the other day while i was cleaning the bathroom, river was sitting on the floor playing with the cleaning products. i didn't think much of it, and it wasn't until i thought "oh, river's playing with the cleaning products and i don't care" that i realized how great that is that i didn't think twice about it, or care.
okay, i'm not a bad mom, i swear! the reason i didn't mind him playing with the spray bottles and gallon jugs full of cleaner is because everything he was playing with was natural and non-toxic, not to mention biodregradeable and safe for the planet as well as my baby. and no, i don't spend tons of money buying specialty brands of cleaners - i make my cleaners using natural ingredients, and it's super easy. this is a foreign idea to some, but completely doable and affordable by all! my friend jessica recently wrote a post on her blog pertaining to the same thing, where she shares a very simply recipe for making an all-purpose cleaner. and don't worry, yes, our homes are clean.
before we switched over to using homemade cleaners, there were a few things that bothered me about the chemical cleaners that came off the shelves in my grocery store. one, the cleaners themselves physically bothered me. whenever i cleaned the bathroom or the kitchen and used lysol, bleach, or any other chemical cleaner, my throat would get sore and raspy, my head would ache, and i'd get all sneezy. this was a big reason i decided to look into making my own cleaners.
since we've made the switch, i've come to realize i am actually even more sensitive to chemicals than i thought. whenever i walk down the cosmetics aisle in a store, or into a candle shop in the mall, my body tells me it doesn't like it - i get a headache and sore throat. [parfum, or fragrance, which is on the ingredient list of so many products, is not a natural scent. it's a chemical, and like other chemicals, it's really not all that great for you. so if a product is "lavender scented," and not with just essential oils, most likely it's just the chemical parfum making it smell like lavender.] i haven't used chemical cleaners or other chemical-based products, like synthetically-fragranced candles or air fresheners, in so long that i noticed when i had this reaction. before, it was so common, i barely noticed.
we not only have to worry about keeping commercial cleaners out of kids' reach, we have to worry about our kids crawling on freshly mopped floors, or preparing food on freshly lysol-wiped counters. it all sounds good, but in reality, it's not. like i've said in a previous post, the effects of chemical cleaners are cumulative. it gives me peace to know that river is safe around the cleaners we use. of course, i'm not going to let him down a bottle of borax and tea tree oil, but the cleaners are natural, non-toxic, and so diluted, that simply being around them [or sucking on the tip of a spray nozzle] isn't going to cause him harm.
another great benefit of making your own cleaners is all the money you'll save! about six months ago, i spend about $30 on all my cleaner-making ingredients, and i just recently had to buy a new gallon of vinegar. and that's it. the products used to make the cleaners are so inexpensive, and stretch so far.