Is your home in need of a mid-year detox? Consider these greener and gentler ways to keep your rooms clean and your loved ones safe
In an urban environment like Singapore, battling outdoor and indoor pollution is part and parcel of everyday life. So when it comes to cleaning your home, look out for ways to introduce fewer harsh chemicals into your daily regime and going the greener route. Adopting a natural approach to cleaning is surprisingly easy. From banishing mould to de-griming the oven, here are seven fast and eco-friendly ways to detox your home and boost your well-being:
Wipe down surfaces with a microfibre cloth
Simply use a microfibre cloth with water to wipe down kitchen countertops and surfaces, recommends Laura Trotta, founder of Australia’s Home Detox Boot Camp. A good quality microfibre cloth can last up to two years if cleaned regularly to get rid of the bacteria build-up, preferably by hand and drying it in the sun.
“For stubborn stains, use a combination of water, lemon oil and castile liquid soap. It’s really effective in cutting through grime.”
Use gentler oven cleaners
When oven cleaners insist on the use of gloves, it’s an indication in itself of their toxicity. But they’re not the only option. Laura recommends an all-purpose cleaner like Young Living’s natural Thieves Household Cleaner for big jobs. “I put a capful inside a ramekin (or any oven-safe vessel) in the oven at 180 C for 40 minutes until it starts to evaporate. It creates a fine mist on the oven walls and lifts off grime easily, without leaving streaks.”
Consider new food storage techniques
Freeze store-bought flour for 24 hours as doing this will kill any germs that may already be in the flour, says Laura. “And scatter dry bay leaves throughout your pantry or in rice, flour or pasta containers as this will kill off any weevil eggs as well. Especially in a humid climate, consider keeping your flour in the fridge all the time.”
Deep clean the toilet
To get rid of soap scum in the bathroom, use bicarb of soda sprinkled on a wet microfibre cloth and wipe over the affected area. If your toilet needs a really deep clean because the bowl is discoloured, Laura suggests adding three-quarters of a cup of citric acid to the toilet and leaving overnight. This will also help get rid of bacteria such as E. coli. “Give it a scrub the next morning – that brings it up better than anything,” she says.
Get rid of mould and mildew with white vinegar
Mould and mildew are two of the most common problems in homes across Singapore, due to our high humidity environment. They can be found anywhere, from your toothbrush holder to air-conditioning unit. Besides damaging furniture, mould spores can trigger allergies and skin irritation, as well as cause a multitude of conditions such as insomnia, recurring colds and flu, and sinusitis. The best way to rid your home of mould is to find and treat the sources of moisture. Healthy home expert and author Nicole Bijilsma suggests using a solution of 80 per cent white vinegar to 20 per cent water to clean nonporous surfaces.
Ventilate your house and bedroom regularly
Pull your sheets back every day and air pillows in the sun as often as possible. Dr Mark Donohoe believes you need the right equipment if you have carpet in your bedroom. “Ordinary vacuum cleaners may just send dust into the air, which is the worst for people with asthma,” he says. “Use one with a HEPA filter and vibrating power head.”
Say goodbye to tech in your bedroom
Nicole says sensitivity to electromagnetic fields is something few of us think about yet we often have power points close to our beds with all manner of devices plugged into them such as handphones and laptops. “These technologies were introduced with little regard for their impact on human health,” she says. If this is too hard to avoid, try turning off all your devices and gadgets at the wall and leave your phone in another room overnight.
Natural Roach Repellent
½ cup salt
+500 ml water
+½ tsp lavender essential oil
Add all ingredients to a 1 L glass spray bottle. Spray around areas with cockroaches (it works for small infestations).
These non-toxic formulas are clean, green and safe for the whole family
De-grease countertops and more with the Kitchen Cleaner (lemongrass and green tea), $5.50 (500 ml), from Bio-home, made with 100 per cent plant-based active ingredients.
Made with naturally derived ingredients, the Allpurpose cleaner (golden citrus), $7.90 (828 ml), from Method, cuts through grime and grease to leave your surfaces gleaming.
The fragranceand colourantfree Zero washing up liquid, $6.50 (450 ml), from Ecover, is tough on grease and dried food remnants, but gentle even on the most sensitive skin.
Powered with a blend of essential oils, Thieves household cleaner, $49.99 (426 ml), from Young Living, leaves behind a refreshing scent and can be used on any surface in your home.
Made with organic oils, Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile liquid soap, $11.90 (237 ml), isn’t just good for cleaning windows and floors – it can also be used for washing your face and body!
TEXT: BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU / ADDITIONAL REPORTING: ELIZABETH LIEW / PHOTOS: CHRIS JANSEN/BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU, 123RF.COM