Natural Cleaning for a Healthy Home

Natural cleaning products and ingredients are a surefire way to keep your home sparkling, without the negative side-effects of conventional detergents. But it takes time and determination to change your mindset and move away from the “big brand” cleaners many of us have grown up with.

Modern society has been greatly influenced by an endless stream of advertising by big companies looking to sell us their household cleaners. This has helped to form the belief that we must live in a house that is completely aseptic. We also expect our products to work harder in less time. We want perfect results instantly, don’t we? If we pause to reflect critically on the way we clean our homes, most likely we’ll realise how many things we take for granted.

Poisons in our Homes

Research conducted in Europe and the US has confirmed that domestic pollution is often higher and more concentrated than that found in nature. In the process of trying to eliminate bacteria from the surfaces of our kitchens and bathrooms, we find ourselves immersed in solvent fumes and volatile chemicals. We keep our children away from our detergents, but allow them to crawl over the floors that we’ve washed with those same products. Where’s the logic in that?

Some people are very careful about what they eat, and make sure to buy only organic foods – but then they wash their clothes with chemical detergents and fabric softeners that are highly toxic and polluting. We tend to forget how easily the skin absorbs the substances it comes into contact with – it’s not a wetsuit, people!

It’s not only our own health we should be thinking about. The environment around us is constantly threatened by the use of detergents that are crammed with synthetics (petrochemicals, parabens, SLS, perfumes, colourants… the list of crap goes on and on). We can help to reduce this toxic load by switching to natural cleaning detergents.

A More Natural Approach

These natural cleaning essentials have antibacterial properties, and can be used to keep your house clean without all the unnecessary toxins:

  • White vinegar
  • Natural salt
  • Lemons
  • Baking soda
  • Liquid castile soap
  • Borax

If you’re not quite ready to go the DIY route just yet, there are some great natural and biodegradable cleaning ranges on the market today. Just make sure you read the ingredient lists before purchasing. Look out for certifications too, to make sure you’re getting the real deal.

Bonus Tip: Once you start choosing natural cleaning products, go one step further and start looking at the packaging those products come in. Biodegradable and recyclable materials are the cleaner alternative to plastic detergent bottles.

Let’s start the new year afresh, with a natural cleaning regime for a healthier, toxin-free home!

Ren xx

Natural Mosquito Repellent Remedies

The warm languid days of summer have only one sting in them: pesky mosquitoes and other biting insects. We’d like to share some green solutions to stop them bugging you; natural mosquito repellents that won’t be harmful to your health, or the environment. These are great ways to keep pests away from your camp site, hiking expedition or even your home.

Why Go the Natural Route?

Conventional bug sprays contain DEET (N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide), a harsh chemical with the potential to cause health and environmental problems. Topical mosquito repellents are typically also made with synthetic ingredients that can irritate and inflame sensitive skin. Trying a natural option will help reduce your risk of bug bites, without air-polluting sprays or skin irritants.

Prevention is always the best place to start, so first, make sure there’s no standing water on your property. This water serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Mosquito nets over your bed and windows are also a safe bet, as they create a physical barrier between yourself and the pesky critters.

Plant Power to send Pests Packing

A mosquito’s sensory organs are designed to hone in on certain smells, namely carbon dioxide and lactic acid, which lead them to warm-blooded mammals they can feed on (humans included). While scents like these attract mozzies, there are other strong smells that they simply can’t stand to be around! Scent is a powerful natural anti-pest tool.

Fragrant plants like geranium, calendula, eucalyptus, lavender, basil and mint are all known to have natural mosquito repellent properties. They deter flies and other flying pests as well. Plant a few of these beauties on your terrace or windowsills, to keep pests out of your home. You can also place a eucalyptus branch across your windowsill, and keep some lavender flowers on your bedside table, to act as a deterrent.

Garlic and onions are good deterrents; keep some of these aromatic goodies on your windowsill, and include more of them in your diet, to ward off those little bloodsuckers.

Aromatic Oils to Banish Mozzies

Plant essential oils also have strong scents that will repel mosquitoes. The most effective are citronella, lemongrass, lemon, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree. Use a few drops of oil in a diffuser, or light a stick of natural incense containing one of the oils. This is great for campsites and holiday homes as well.

Did you know? Mosquitoes are attracted to black and other dark colours. After sunset, when they start buzzing around, change into light-coloured clothing, and they’ll be less likely to bug you. You can also use a bit of perfume or deodorant to keep them away – it smells good to us, but not to them.

Even Pests have their Role to Play

Repelling is always better than killing. Mosquitoes might not be nice to have around, but did you know they play a key role in the pollination many different plants? This includes pollinating cocoa trees in South America – so essentially, mosquitoes help to keep us supplied with chocolate! Pretty crazy, right? So stick to a natural mosquito repellent if you value those precious sweet treats in your life babes!

Ren xx