Make Your Own Toxin-free Cleaning Supplies
How to use essential oils to reduce toxins in your home
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and it’s time for a little spring cleaning. Before you reach for your bottle of Lysol, you might want to think about what toxins might be hiding under your kitchen sink. Environmental experts say that the average home contains 62 toxic chemicals, ranging from endocrine disruptors, such as BPA, to carcinogens, such as formaldehyde, sodium lauryl or synthetic fragrances. While this may sound scary, it doesn’t have to be. Creating a healthy home with your own clean alternatives is easier than you might think. All you need is an open mind, a couple of glass bottles, and pure, high-quality essential oils.
We spoke with Gwen Stasio, aromatherapist and owner of ROIL Highness, and asked her for a few manageable tips on how to create a green, toxin-free home using essential oils. Her first suggestion — become label-smart before you make the switch.
Decode the Labels
Do your own research and become familiar with common label ingredients and phrasing. Don’t be fooled by a label that says a product is “safe” or “natural.”
“Just because a label says that it is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean that it will be,” says Stasio. “There is no regulation on terms like this, and it can mislead you to think that the product is safer when it probably isn’t.” By educating yourself on common toxins and label phrasing, you can better catch and avoid unwanted ingredients, such as parabens or sulfates, that will sneak into your “natural” products. Even essential oils are subject to companies attempting to make a product look “natural” with marketing, labels, or even touting “environmentally friendly” when they aren’t.
“Most essential oils sold in grocery stores, T.J. Maxx, Target, and even some health stores are laced with synthetics and fragrances, making them among the toxic-filled alternatives like candles, air fresheners, household cleaners and dryer sheets to name a few,” says Stasio. “Companies do this to increase their profit. They aren’t required to give you the list of ingredients for a product like essential oils, so you need to put your own research hat on.”
You don’t need toxic ingredients to get rid of germs. “Being proactive is the key. Toxins in our everyday household cleaners actually suppress the immune system,” says Stasio. “Once you replace your common cleaners with essential oil and plant-based products, you will find that this proactive step helps improve everyone’s overall health in the household,” she says. “What most people don’t know is they already have most of the ingredients they need to make their own safe, effective cleaners at home.” Not only are homemade essential oil-based cleaners safer for you and your family, but they are also cost-effective and more convenient. You can use less at a time, and instead of the cabinet under the kitchen sink overflowing with different cleaners for various surfaces, you can have one product that takes care of all of your cleaning needs.
Try this simple all-natural, nontoxic cleaner recipe that will disinfect, sanitize and deodorize just as well as regular cleaners, but without the headache or chemical smells.
16 oz. glass spray bottle
2 cups distilled water
½ teaspoon castile soap
15 drops pure cinnamon bark essential oil
10 drops pure rosemary essential oil
10 drops pure clove essential oil
5 drops pure lemon essential oil
Combine all ingredients in glass spray bottle, and use on all surfaces including counters, floors and windows.
“Dryer sheets work because they are putting a toxic chemical coating on your clothes to eliminate static,” says Stasio. “The chemicals will then get on your clothes where they sit all day and night.” Stasio suggests using 100-percent wool dryer balls as a nontoxic, reusable and cheaper alternative to dryer sheets and even fabric softener. Throw four dryer balls with 1-2 drops of pure lemongrass, cyprus or lavender essential oil into your dryer, and you will never go back to dryer sheets again. Reintroduce your oils every four to eight loads, and if you are still noticing static, add a safety pin to each dryer ball.
Many facial cleansers include toxic beauty ingredients like parabens, synthetic colors, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). “Instead of spending time reading labels and agonizing over ingredients, you can make your own toxin-free cleanser,” Stasio notes. “Using essential oils in your cleanser will support your skin to replenish cells while maintaining and promoting proper sebum to keep skin moisturized and healthy.”
16 oz. glass pump jar
½ cup unscented castile soap
1 cup distilled water
2 T. jojoba oil
15 drops pure lavender essential oil
15 drops pure frankincense essential oil
Combine ingredients in jar, mix and wash face as usual.
While it may seem overwhelming, eliminating toxins from your home is simpler than you might think. As you get rid of unnecessary chemicals, you are not only creating a healthier home for your family, you’re also reducing emotional stress and anxiety, thanks to the aromatic benefits of essential oils. Turn up your favorite tunes, pull out your new homemade products, and get ready to feel refreshed.