By Guest Speaker, Lisa Thomson, Mom’s Green Shopping List
With the recent return of my husband’s cancer I have become even more picky (aka neurotic) about the chemicals that we use in our home. I have slowly been phasing them out despite my husband’s resistance. He seems to think that me using natural everyday items to clean translates into him needing to clean everything over again with a smelly chemical-laden product. I’ve been letting him get away with certain cleaners just because it was easier to keep the peace but all that’s changing. No more Mr (Mrs?) Nice Guy.
One of the places I’ve been wondering about keeping bacteria-free is the kitchen. I’m always worried about making sure that the cutting boards are properly cleaned and the counters sanitized after preparing meat or using raw eggs. The thought of using a toxic chemical cleaner anywhere near where I prepare food has always been totally out of the question. I’ve always just used scalding hot water and hoped it was enough to kill any bacteria left lying around. It always did a good job of burning the skin off my fingers.
I was relieved (and so were my hands) to come across such easy ways to keep a kitchen free from bacteria using natural products. These are all things that are very easy to find at your local grocery store or pharmacy and that many of you probably already have some of them around the house.
1. Grapefruit seed extract, or GSE
According to author and herbal scholar Stephen Harrod Buhner, “GSE has been found to be more powerful as a cleaning disinfectant than standard hospital preparations.” In other words, it works better than the disinfectant the hospitals use. GSE is active against a large number of bacteria. It is even effective against haemophilus influenzae, which causes ear infections, sinusitis, and meningitis. To make a disinfectant spray, add 30 to 40 drops to 1 quart of water and shake.
An acidic solution, vinegar kills some germs and microbes and inhibits their growth – if it didn’t, it would not be used to preserve foods like pickles. To make a sanitizing spray from white or apple cider vinegar, mix 1/4 – 1/2 cup vinegar per cup of water. You can add some essential oil of bergamot, orange, or lemon to this solution to make it smell good and also to increase its’ antibacterial properties (bergamot is a citrus fruit and all citrus fruits have disinfectant qualities).
3. Hydrogen peroxide
A 1996 study showed that hydrogen peroxide, when combined with an equal amount of vinegar, is a potent bacteria killer. Salmonella, shigella and e-coli were all vanquished by this solution. You can also spray hydrogen peroxide directly onto countertops, or mix it with an equal amount of water.
4. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is known to be effective against many antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It definitely works to kill staphylococus, e-coli, shigella, and salmonella. In a spray bottle, combine and shake 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp. liquid soap, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and 20 drops of tea tree oil.
5. Neem oil
Neem oil comes from the seeds of a tree that is native to India, and is more than a sanitizer. It is also an insect repellent, and keeping insects at bay is an important component to kitchen cleanliness. It does not dissolve well in water without some sort of emulsifier, such as liquid soap. The best way to make a neem cleaner is to mix the neem oil in a vegetable-based, liquid soap such as castile. Then, use a few drops of this soap to clean your kitchen counters or try mixing the neem-soap mixture with water in a spray bottle. Shake it well.
Bacteria that usually live in kitchens include staphylococcus, salmonella , shigella dysenteriae, and e-coli. These germs tend to proliferate on sponges and cutting boards, but they can be on countertops and other surfaces as well.
For more DIY household cleaners, check out what our other blogger submissions:
- Disinfecting Wipes, by Sarah of Mindfully Frugal Mom
- Two Safe Homemade Stain Removers, by Hilary of Accidentally Green
- Green Cleaners Made Easy, by Kristina of The Greening of Westford
- Laundry Stain Remover, by Kristina of The Greening of Westford
- Furniture Polish, by Micaela of Mindful Momma
- DIY Household Cleaners, by April of Frugally Green Mom
- Carpet Cleaner, by Lori of Groovy Green Livin’
- How to Green Cleaning Supplies, by Claire of MomsRising
Thank you everyone for your submissions! Interested in joining our network and submitting your blogs to be featured? Sign-up today!
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of Healthy Child Healthy World.