One of the most basic of home care needs is cleaning. Anamika Sengupta of Almitra Sustainables points out ways to adopt natural solutions to a clean and earth friendly lifestyle.
By Anamika Sengupta,
One of the most basic of home care needs is cleaning. Anamika Sengupta of Almitra Sustainables points out ways to adopt natural solutions to a clean and earth friendly lifestyle. While we strive always to maintain a clean, positive, and happy living space around us, the very process of cleaning may actually be harmful and cause a series of adverse health complications. Some of the most commonly used households cleaners we purchase today are loaded with chemicals like Phthalates and Triclosan, found in dishwashing liquid soaps, toothpastes, and deodorants while sulphates are common in detergents and laundry soaps and even in some shampoos. These chemicals have documented impact on health and are known to interfere and affect hormonal and endocrine functions, reproductive functions, and even cause respiratory disorders when exposed to, over a longer period of time!
Effective solutions to these are easy home-made cleaners that are not only safe and effective but also economical and use mostly items from the kitchen! Let’s get started with 5 simple home cleaning agents and how they can help keep your home safe and beautiful!
Herb and spice infused vinegar: Made simply using household herbs and spices, and white/ apple cider vinegar, the herb and spice infused vinegar is one of the most effective and refreshing all-purpose cleaner for homes. One can use a variety of herbs, like mint, tulsi, lemongrass or neem leaves, and spices like cinnamon, clove, and ginger, to add to the vinegar. The combination can not only help create a signature scent and flavour to the cleaning liquid, it also comes with myriad anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties. It can be simply made by steeping the herbs and spices overnight, in a jar full of vinegar and then straining the mixture to create your own all-purpose cleaner. This can be used as a surface cleaner on metal and ceramic, and be used either by diluting it, for regular cleaning, or undiluted, on stubborn stains. Apart from the above mentioned benefits, it is also safe on skin and harmless around children and infants.
Lemon Infused Vinegar: Another combination that has been used effectively for ages by our forefathers, is the lemon and vinegar combination. Using peels of lemon, lemon rinds, and other citrus peels like orange and sweet lime, in vinegar, one can create a refreshing and potent cleaning agent. While it is ideal for all types of cleaning, this combination is most effective for cleaning utensils, cast iron vessels, kitchen sink, and even toilet and bathroom floors etc. Adding a pinch of salt on the utensils with stubborn stains, and using the lemon infused vinegar, can not only make the utensils clean but also help remove food odour.
Soap-nut Multi-purpose cleaner: Another potent natural cleaning agent is soap-nuts or reetha. Used popularly among natural cleaning enthusiasts as an effective laundry soap, this is easy to make and can be prepared in a variety of combinations, at home. From infusing herbs like tulsi, mint and lemongrass to adding orange and lemon peels, this cleaner provides an effective yet safe cleaning for fabric, for floor and has even been used as a hair cleanser.
Coconut coir: Coconut has been one of the most widely used fruit and it has been known for its versatile uses. Replacing regular scrubs with coconut coir is the easiest and most effective for scrubbing. Apart from being a natural exfoliator, it has its unique anti-microbial properties, and is known to be safe for use on delicate surfaces as well as on tough stains.
Bio Enzymes: Bio Enzymes are a mixture of organic substances – like kitchen wastes, made with natural sugar and naturally occurring yeast/bacteria. To make this, all one needs is fruit and vegetable peels, jaggery or brown sugar, water, and an air-tight plastic container. Making Bio Enzymes at home helps utilise the kitchen waste and transform it into a powerful natural cleanser that can be used for pretty much all purposes.
The above four natural alternatives are both safe and efficient while also being readily available and economical. Replacing your home cleaners with these will help create a safe, and positive environment in the home and office.
(The author is mompreneur and sustainable living expert, and also Co-founder of Almitra Sustainables. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)