I would like to introduce a special guest writer, Felicity Ahern. She is someone whom my mother and I have tried for ages to persuade her to write her own blog. Reading her Facebook posts about simple everyday parenting moments, often has us in stitches! So far, no luck. I did, however, ask her to write this post for me and, hopefully, there will be more to follow. Today she is writing on household cleaners.
Felicity is my ‘baby’ cousin who was born in South Africa and lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is a wife and full time mother to a daughter and son, an aspiring community actress, actively interested in Australian politics, a very strong advocate for environmental issues and the only person I personally know who drives an electric car (Nissan Leaf).
Felicity’s first post for kasheringyourlife.
I had an epiphany not long after the birth of my first child.
I realised that to me, my child’s body was a temple and as such, I made sure I cooked all her food, with special attention paid to the ingredients I used and the nutrients involved. (My second child got whatever I could come up with, a lot from baby food companies so my halo slipped all the way to my butt with him but whatever, you get my point..)
As time went on, I started to also pay attention to my children’s environment in which they were growing up. Specifically, our home and how we were cleaning it. To my shock I became aware that cleaning products can be deadly, toxic death traps of ‘deathness’!
I couldn’t use these products anymore and still feel like I was helping my family.
To this end, I began to look into natural products to use around the home, for my family but also for the environment, which is becoming increasingly damaged due to our careless use of toxic chemicals.
Here, I would like to talk about other options for a cleaner, chemical free family home.
If you use a multi-purpose spray for counters, hard surfaces, tables etc, you have a few choices.
First, you could buy earth-friendly brands. Here in Australia, I have found the affluent, bigger companies (who generally despoil the environment and its people regularly) have grabbed the prime supermarket shelf space right at eye level and a bit below.
Take a look next time you’re in the supermarket and you’ll see quite often, the earth friendly, eco-conscious products are buried either on the top shelf or the bottom. It isn’t often at easy access level. (That goes for food as well, I think.)
In Australia, we have a brand called Earth Choice. They’re pretty good, but you’re still using chemicals, just plant based ones… They’re also a bit pricier. Yes, it IS more expensive to buy these types of products. I hate it but it is a fact.
Also, be aware, some brands SAY they’re earth friendly, they even brand themselves with names like “Nature’s Choice”, “Natural” or “Yay for Earth” (that last one was made up but you get my point!) but are using the new push for environmentally friendly products to make money.
Make sure you read the ingredients. If all the ingredients are indecipherable, step cautiously. Be ESPECIALLY cautious of companies who don’t bother with any ingredients list at all…. though I believe all ingredients must be listed in South Africa.
You want water, natural oils, no parabens…you want the company to specify what they don’t have and you want ingredients that don’t sound like they all climbed out of a beaker in a lab somewhere.
There IS a cheaper, even cleaner, and definitely my favourite, option.
Mix water and white vinegar in a spray bottle (use an old one under the sink, we all have them lying around most of the time) and voila!
White vinegar is a fantastic cleaning option and it’s entirely safe to use!
If you like, maybe add a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil which you can get in those little bottles. This should last a fair while and add some sweetness to the air.
I also sometimes squeeze a little fresh orange into the bottle. Whatever you do, don’t squeeze citrus fruits directly into the spray bottle, strain it first or it will jam your trigger on the spray bottle and render it useless!!
I think cleaning companies have realised quite a few people have started using white vinegar for cleaning purposes and thus, there has been a new “cleaning vinegar” available to buy at an inflated price in Australia.
Don’t be fooled!! Just buy the regular cheap white vinegar and it is the same. I buy a 2 litre white vinegar bottle for just over a dollar.
Well, see how you go and feel free to let us know how the white vinegar works out for you!
I use it on EVERYTHING!!
Here are some handy links if you feel the urge to investigate further, or want some clarification:
P.S. A large bottle of plain white vinegar sells for R20 at PnP! Spray bottles are available at all plastic and cleaning supply stores. This is the only thing I could find when asking about environmentally friendly products in South Africa. I have not used any of these products,