Whilst we’re all aware of the benefits of treating your hair and skin in a natural way, our homes have perhaps received less attention from the green world. That’s not to say people haven’t clued up on non-toxic cleaning products, but it definitely feels like a less glamorous subject than makeup and haircare.
But with spring cleaning season upon us, we’re determined to shed some light on it. Avoiding chemicals in your home is actually just as important as avoiding putting them on your body - we wouldn’t eat any of the ingredients found in common household spray ’n’ wipe, for example, so why do we feel comfortable using it on surfaces we prepare food on, or where we bathe? Mainstream cleaning products do contain lots of harsh chemicals, and in extreme cases can trigger unwanted symptoms like headaches, migraines and rashes, and the longterm effects of exposure to these products is generally unknown.
To get an expert opinion on keeping a clean, green home we spoke to Dani, founder of the brand Dani Kenney, a range of natural skin and baby products that also includes natural household products like a multi-purpose spray and a body wash that can be used on your dishes too.
“I try to keep my home clean by keeping clutter to a minimum. It seems that excess junk creates more mess and attracts dust and germs, so the cleaner you keep your home in general, the easier it is to clean.” Dani told us.
Regardless of whether you’re a minimalist or you love your stuff, you can apply Dani’s following advice to your home. She says “Indoor plants are an excellent means of promoting fresh oxygen in the home. I also choose to use non-toxic cleaners for my surfaces, particularly ones my baby touches.” Young babies are especially vulnerable because their respiratory and immune systems are developing, plus they spend a lot of time playing on the floor and generally putting things in their mouths. “Babies come out of the womb as these pure little beings with fresh lungs, the last thing I want to do is spray chemicals into them with household cleaning products, or use chemicals on the floor and let him crawl then ingest something toxic! I think it’s safer to just go green and natural for your children.”
Sharing some recommendations for natural cleaning products, Dani says: “You can make your own non-toxic cleaning spray using a home-made blend of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to kill germs, and then use all-natural, all-purpose gentle soap-based cleaners with lovely essential oils, like the one I sell which is appropriately named Clearing Space.” A non-toxic botanical cleaning product, Clearing Space can be used on changing tables, countertops, bathroom tiles, wood, leather, carpet and more. Aloe vera, patchouli and lavender combine for a beautiful scent that makes a change from regular, chemical-based cleaning products.
We live in a world where sterile is standard, however this might not be such a good thing for our immune systems. According to Dani: “experts are now saying that ‘anti-bacterial’ soaps are harmful because they prevent your bodies from building up immunity and resistance to naturally occurring microbes. So the soaps I use are 100% natural, therefore they clean impurities without stripping away the skin and compromising your own immune system.” Canyon Soap, another of Dani’s products, is a multi-purpose liquid soap that can be used on the body and in the home. Scented with vanilla, vetiver and sandalwood, this soap can be lathered on the skin in the shower or bath, and in the kitchen use it to clean your dishes.
There’s nothing to lose from trying out gentler alternatives that clean, disinfect and deodorise just as effectively as their chemical counterparts, and these ingredients are just as at home in a typical household pantry as in a spray bottle. If you’d like to make your own, with a base collection of just four essential ingredients you can clean almost anything. These are: White distilled vinegar, to disinfect and deodorise. Lemon juice, which cuts grease, polishes metal and lightens stains. Baking soda neutralises odours and is a good sink, bath and oven cleaner, and washing soda is stronger than baking soda and good for extra stubborn stains.
Dani’s parting advice for cleaning your home the natural way is all about taking things back to basics; “Just try to keep it simple.” She says, “Keep your belongings simple, keep your decor simple, keep the materials and ingredients you use in your life simple, and keep your cleaning products simple. If you live this way, you will find that less is more, and you have a cleaner, clearer head and body. And you can rest assured that you are living in a more natural way.”
Words: Rosie Herdman
Cover Image: David Abrahams