Something occurred to me one day while cleaning my bathroom. Actually, it occurred to me just after I could feel the membranes in my nose beginning to burn. Why am I cleaning with something that causes me pain? More importantly, if it’s strong enough to need to crack a window to use it, maybe I should rethink what I’m using.

That’s what spurred my search to find healthy (and inexpensive) options to fill my cleaning cabinet. The shift is slow, but I’m making progress.

I’ve learned so much from my friend, Kim Button. We met on a press trip years ago, and she’s inspired me ever since. Her web site, is a great way to explore ways to eliminate chemicals in cleaning and beauty products, and just lessen your effect on the environment overall. If you’re not convinced going natural is the best way to go, definitely check out her “about” page. I’m sure you’ll be inspired, too!

The book Make Your Place is another great resource. It was the best $7 I ever spent. Covering everything from non-toxic cleaning and body care to gardening help and first aid, this little book packs a lot in those 124 pages. Plus, I love the handwritten text. Sometimes I pretend it’s my personal journal.

I plan on posting more in the future on this subject – recipes, tips, and things of that nature. For now I thought I’d share a recipe for the best cleaning product ever, found in the above mentioned book.

Take 1 1/2 cup of white vinegar and mix it with 1/2 cup of water (I know, sounds daunting, right!?). Add 4-8 drops of your favorite essential oil. The recipe calls for orange, lemon or grapefruit essential oil. I like tea tree oil because of its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Plus, I think it smells really nice. Lavender is another good one. Who doesn’t love the smell of that? It’s a triple threat, too – antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral.

Do you have any favorite natural ways of cleaning? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy (and healthy) cleaning!