Taking a course in environmental medicine is both a blessing and a curse [that is admittedly dramatic, but it really is!].
I am being introduced to a concept in medicine that has only really developed a place in my life since moving to Seattle. Prior to living here, I only ate organic because I thought I “should”, I purchased “green” household cleaners to benefit the “environment”; I had no real concept of the impact of these decisions on my life and my health. I imagine that there are a lot of people who are in the same boat that I was in.
You are exposed to many chemicals by simply not buying organic, by using American made cosmetics or by microwaving a plastic container of takeout. You may not even realize that you are exposed to an impressive list of chemicals just by wearing shoes into the house. In fact, the dust that is bought into a home by shoes has been shown to contain:
This list is by no means exhaustive and still very concerning. Carcinogens, liver toxins, neurotoxins all found in the dust on our floors. You can avoid having most of these toxic chemicals in your home by vacuuming often and leaving your shoes at the door. I grew up in a home where shoes were strictly forbidden inside. In fact, this is a traditional practice in many Indian homes. It seems my parents were on to something…
Leave your shoes at the door and revamp your cleaning process. Get your vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter and use natural, home made cleaners. Vinegar based cleaners are a popular alternative to chemical based cleaners. The level of acidity found in white distilled vinegar is effective in killing most mold, bacteria and germs.
Eco Friendly Organic Surface Cleaner
You’ll need a 16oz spray bottle. Storing your natural cleaner in a plastic bottle doesn’t make much sense, I recycled a glass bottle from mineral water. I saved a nozzle from an old spray bottle and cleaned it well prior to use. It fit perfectly on my glass bottle [it makes it much prettier too!]. Be sure to make a label indicating what ingredients you used and when it was bottled.
- Mix 7oz of filtered water with 7oz of white distilled vinegar
- Add 8 drops of lavender essential oil
- Add 8 drops of tea tree essential oil
- Add 10 drops of lemon essential oil
- Add 10 drops of sweet orange essential oil
- Shake to mix
In addition to the vinegar, each of the essential oils in this cleaner provide additional antimicrobial activity. The oils might separate out, just give the bottle a good shake before you use it. Use this cleaner on kitchen counters, cabinets, refrigerator shelves, blinds, painted wood surfaces, painted walls, molding, fan blades, and more. And breathe easy knowing you’re protecting your family from exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
Dr. John Hibbs, ND. Bastyr University. Environmental Medicine Class Notes