My Story: Allergic Reaction to Cleaners

contributed by Tracy

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As an allergy sufferer, a typical cleaning session would begin and end with watery eyes and a runny nose. About nine months ago, I decided it was time to make house cleaning more friendly. The first steps I took were to invest in a HEPA filter vacuum and to dust with a slightly damp cloth. In my search for relief, I assumed that dust was the principle cause of my reactions.

One day, as I was cleaning the oven with the typical cleaner, I realized that the cleaning products themselves caused a great deal of my suffering. I began to search the Internet to find solutions.

I found an amazing amount of homemade recipes for non-toxic cleaning products. Most of these were made from water, baking soda, white vinegar and liquid soap. I tried several recipes and have been hooked since. Not only is my house clean, fresh and allergy free, but using these simple cleaners has also saved plenty of pennies. Additionally, they are harmless to my young daughter and our puppy.

Instead of an entire cabinet full of different cleansers, I have found that I really only need to prepare three types of cleaners that include a window cleaner, floor or all-purpose cleaner, and a scrub for most jobs. I have also found other ways to bring inexpensive helpers to all sorts of jobs around the house.

For a window and glass cleaner, simply put club soda in a sprayer and go for it. I clean my floors with a mixture of water and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio. Finally, the best scrub I found came from Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan, which is a great primer on the hows and whys of non-toxic, handmade cleaners. To make, mix 1 2/3 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of liquid soap. Then, add two tablespoons of water. Stir in two tablespoons of vinegar (be sure to follow the proper order to get correct consistency).

These three trusty cleaners work on most jobs around the house. However, since I became hooked, I have learned to use baking soda and essential oil for air fresheners. And I use baking soda for a dishwashing scrub and vinegar to rid my home of soap residue. To add wonderful scents to any of these cleaners, simply add a few drops of essential oil (I often use citrus oils such as lemon, lime or tangerine). As for that nasty oven cleaner, I now use a paste of water, baking soda and salt and rub it around the oven and leave overnight. After a scrub off and rinse, my oven looks great. And no more sniffles!

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