The Dirt on Cleaning Products

The Dirt on Cleaning Products

Ever wondered what's actually in your cleaning products? 

In Australia, over 80 000 chemicals are registered for use in food, packaging, clothing, water, cleaning and personal care products. Yet 75% of these chemicals have not been tested for their toxic effects on humans and the environment!

 Exposure to some of these chemicals are linked with lots of health issues, such as asthma, autoimmune disease, cancer, neurological problems, birth defects and fertility issues.  Children are at particular risk and some of these chemicals are passed onto the next generation prenatally and during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

 Additionally, there is no labelling requirements – cleaning product manufactures are not required to disclose the exact ingredients! You only have to look at the back of a cleaning bottle to see all the warnings on there so never assume that just because it is available to buy that is ‘must’ be safe..

Most cleaners contain a combination of synthetic fragrances, sulphates (SLS and SLES), triclosan, ammonia, formaldehyde, petroleum – the list goes on and on, and each and everyone of these ingredients has nasty side effects.

The Great News..

It is very simple (and cheap) to make your own cleaning products. It's easy to get overwhelmed with lots of information about chemicals and toxins so the trick is to just change one thing at a time, and your cleaning cupboard is a good place to start...

The first thing to do is to get your hands on some Castile Soap. Castile soap is a vegetable derived soap (many soaps are animal/tallow-fat based) and Dr Bronner’s Castile soap is the best out there. This company is sustainable, ethical and supports fair trade. Their soap is vegan, not tested on animals, does not contain any detergents, foaming agents or genetically modified ingredients and is biodegradable. The bottles that the soap come in are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. 

There are so many uses for this one bottle of soap - use it for cleaning, laundry, diluted for body wash and hand soap, veggie rinse, washing the dog - see lots of ideas here. You can find Dr Bronner's liquid castile soap in many health food shops or online and one bottle will last you a very very long time. 

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray Recipe

Get yourself a spray bottle (preferably glass) and mix 125ml (1/4 cup) liquid castile soap per 1L of distilled water. Give it a shake and thats it! - an effective cleaning product that is safe for you and the environment. 

 You can add pure essential oils if you wish - lemon and tea-tree are great options for cleaning products due to their natural degreasing and antibacterial properties. 

Make sure you use distilled water - there is no preservative in this mix and whenever you add water to anything, there is always the potential for bacteria and other organisms to grow, so we recommend using it up within 3 months or just make smaller quantities at a time.

Gentle Abrasive Scrub

 To make your sink and shower sparkle, mix 1 tablespoon of castile soap with 1/2 cup of bicarbonate soda, add a few drops of essential oils if you want and use in place of harsh cream cleaners. Store the excess in a jar. 

Want to learn much MUCH more?

If you want to learn more about how to make your home into a natural and toxin-free place, we get right into all of the nitty-gritty details at our Creating a Healthy Home Workshop.

Learn everything you need to know about chemicals in your food, environment, home and body care products plus general principles for health and wellness. Leave inspired and with everything you need to know to started (as well as a full belly from our delicious and healthy long table lunch spread!).


Reference: Public Health Association of Australia: Policy-at-a-glance - Environmental Chemical Exposures And Human Health Policy; 2015. Available from

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