Since the time of SARS, our government has been educating us on personal hygiene – washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and using chorine bleach to clean our toilet and EVERY surface in our household. The latter has been presented as if it’s the ONLY reliable way to kill harmful mirco-organisms around the house (or workplace for that matter).
Chlorine bleach is very corrosive and very irritating. Residues of chlorine can be found in our tap water and when we shower, we inhale it as it’s released with heat.
Chlorine is also a common additive to many household cleaning products, and it is used in most of the swimming pools (as if it’s the only way to disinfect).
Not to say we have all other thousands of chemicals that have been created only in the past few decades, promising to make our lives easier, but with very questionable side effects.
After “cleaning” with these products, while you get a chemically waxed smooth surface and/or a nice (but artificial) scent, and you feel good, what’s behind the surface of cleanliness is toxins to our body and to our planet. All of these are accumulating in our body and in our ecosystem, causing us allergies and more serious problems like hormonal imbalances (e.g. thyroid issues, reproductive issues) and even cancer.
Not to say corrosive substances in chemical cleaning agents destroy the material it’s trying to clean and disinfect.
And one other BIG problem is bacterial resistance, which we discussed about in another post Natural Antibiotics. The more chemical disinfectant we use, the more resilient the germs and bugs are going to be. We are not solving the problem of our health and our planet at all by the continuous use of toxic chemical cleaning agents.
In the earlier post on natural antibiotics, we discussed that natural substances are much more molecularly complex, not like chemical ones which are easily outsmarted by mutation. Natural disinfecting agents are much less likely to cause any side effects or bacterial resistance. Many essential oils are powerful disinfectants, e.g. tea tree, clove, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary and lavender.
These are what I am doing or would do (and I try to make it easy and simple, not having to buy many different ingredients):
1. Wash your hands with a chemical-free soap often thoroughly.
To make your own hand and body wash, you can add a few drops of disinfecting therapeutic grade essential oils (discussed in previous post) into a neutral soap base like the above.
You may also just use this natural disinfecting soap. (And it smells really nice too)
2. Carry a chemical-free sanitizing hand gel with you and sanitize your hands before touching food.
You can make your own chemical-free hand sanitising gel by putting in a few drops of naturally disinfecting essential oils (or get a pre-blend like this) into an aloe vera gel base (or something like this).
3. Use a disinfecting room spray:
Mix one drop of disinfecting essential oil blend (like we discussed before) into every ounce of water in a spray bottle (glass is bestm or plastic, no metal). Put the oil in first and then add water. (Shake before spraying)
Use it to disinfect anywhere you go. You can use it as often as possible in a sick household.
For convenience, you can get this spray which is ready-to-use.
4. Keep your household clean and disinfected:
This household cleaner uses the same disinfecting blend of essential oils we talked about. With the ratio suggested, you can clean every corner of your household with it, from curtain to table top. You can also use it to remove mold from leathers or other surfaces.
Of course the simple white vinegar mixed with water works too for this purpose, although the smell it leaves behind is not as pleasant(!)
A note about mold:
Mold pore is one of the component of dust. With the humidity in Hong Kong, mold is a bigger problem than other places in the world. (Think bathroom ceiling, kitchen ceiling etc) It is a trigger for allergies and can cause chronic fungal infection.
Cleaning with an anti-microbial agent like the above can keep mold and other microorganisms down very effectively. If you have chronic infection (sinus, candida etc), asthma, coughs, you should definitely consider what you are using as cleaning agent at home and if you are keeping your household truly clean (not just “looking” and “smelling” clean).
5. A simple tip: Lemon essential oil or lavender essential oil can be used to clean computer keyboard and many surfaces at home with a semi moist cloth and leaving behind very pleasant scent.
Click here to view selected essential oils and relevant products.
And a final (and simple) note about hygiene, especially in the flu season:
Sneeze into your elbow (instead of your hand)!