August 21, 2018
With fall (and the inevitable cold and flu season) right around the corner, maintaining a hygienic home will soon be a priority. I’m a bit of a clean freak and have traditionally opted for the strongest cleaning products possible. Unfortunately, research says that these intense cleaners may actually be doing more harm than good. A couple of years ago I made the switch to more natural options and never looked back. Recently I started making my own cleaners – it’s fun, affordable, and they work extremely well!
Multiple studies have surfaced suggesting that antibacterial cleaning products promote the creation of “superbugs”. These are bacteria that have adapted to become resistant to antibiotics and antibacterial cleaning products. According to Dr. Stuart Levy, a microbiologist at Tufts University School of Medicine, modern antibacterial products are formulated to linger, creating an environment that fosters the development of dangerous, resistant bacteria.
Additionally, these products are incapable of discriminating between “good” and “bad” bacteria. A disruption like this in your home may negatively impact the functioning of your immune system as well as encourage mold formation. This is such a problem that in 2016 the FDA banned 19 of the most common antibacterial additives used in soaps.
Some cleaners may even pose immediate health risks. Glass cleaners typically contain ammonia in the form of ammonium hydroxide. At high concentrations and prolonged inhalation, airborne ammonia can potentially lead to respiratory irritation. If ammonia is accidentally mixed with chlorine (like in bleach), the result is a toxic, odorless, and colorless gas that you do not want to be breathing!
Multiple studies have shown essential oils to be effective in killing microbes. Although many essential oils possess the ability to kill bacteria, one study found that oils such as oregano and basil are particularly potent.
Prep time: <3 mins
What you’ll need:
P.S. I like using the first recipe is during the winter months and the second during spring/summer!
It turns out that probiotics do more than just improve your gut health! One study showed that using them as part of a cleaning regimen in hospitals increased the amount of good, non-pathogenic bacteria on surfaces while also helping to decrease drug-resistant bacteria! If you don’t want “bad” bacteria to build up in your home, try using a cleaner with added probiotics every once and a while to restore the balance!
Because making your own probiotic spray takes a little longer, I would also recommend using Airbiotics all-purpose cleaning spray.
Prep time: approx. 8 weeks
Alcohol is your go-to if you really need to disinfect your home. Using isopropyl alcohol or ethanol is especially great during the winter months because they are extremely effective against the flu virus. Combine this with some essential oils and you’ve got a one-two punch to knock out the flu virus and prevent its spread!
Prep time: <2 min
Combine all of the ingredients in your spray bottle, shake to mix, and spray on surfaces.
P.S. This is also really great to use on glass (windows, mirrors, etc.).
Vinegar is one of my very favorite go-to household cleaners. One older study showed that vinegar is an effective - and safe - antimicrobial agent. I use this Refresh-mint All-Purpose Spray on EVERYTHING: appliances, mirrors, glass; I even spray it on my plants for pest control.
By making your own cleaning products you help your pocket and the environment while protecting your family from toxic chemicals found in many commercial brands. You’re basically saving the world by making your own concoctions! Be sure you keep these products away from your fur babies and children: healthy for your home doesn’t mean that ingesting them is safe!
Kara believes the small choices of what we expose ourselves to on a day-to-day basis have a profound impact on our overall health. As a published neurotoxicology researcher, Kara has studied the link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease, participating in studies that have garnered around $1 million in NIH funding. With this knowledge, Kara takes a critical eye to the products and habits all of us engage with on a regular basis. She holds a BS in Neuroscience from King University.
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