Last November we talked perks of using natural cleaners in the classroom, including potentially higher test scores, improved indoor air quality and avoidance of other byproducts of toxic air indoors. These are all desirable, but so is cleanliness, so if you can't use toxic chemicals, what can you use?
We've done the research and created this list of environmentally friendly and kid-safe disinfectants for classrooms and homes alike. For our DIY readers, some of these substances are almost magic. Not into mixing up your own cleaning supplies? Well, we've got that covered too.
Vinegar's been touted as a natural, safe cleaner for years. You can use vinegar by itself or add essential oils (since no one loves the smell of vinegar), but it's worth noting that it shouldn't be diluted, and studies show that, to be an effective disinfectant, vinegar must contain over 5% acetic acid, which is significantly higher than store-bought vinegar. For higher percentages, check online or at chemical suppliers.
Hydrogen peroxide has been used to clean homes for decades. It's generally anti-bacterial and anti-viral, but keep in mind, it takes time to work. If you're looking to really sanitize a surface, let this natural disinfectant sit for a bit, and for an enhanced clean, try mixing hydrogen peroxide with tea tree or grapefruit essential oil, as they have additional anti-bacterial properties.
Natural, inexpensive and extremely effective for cleaning and shining up your home, baking soda is the magic cleaner. It's useful in the kitchen, bathroom and virtually any other place you can think of (including classrooms). For clean countertops or desks, just sprinkle some baking soda on a cloth, wipe down and remove with water.
For fans of pre-sanitized wipes, EO is the organic, plant based alternative to chemical-laden hand wipes. EO's lavender wipes are moistened with pure essential oils and organic aloe and enhanced with additional essential oils to leave skin soft, clean and healthy.
Another EO product, made with sugar cane ethanol, this lavender hand sanitizing gel is safe for use both for humans and on the environment and kills 99% of germs. We can't ask for more than that, but they deliver anyway, since using this sanitizer leaves behind the calming smell of pure lavender!
For something a little stronger, Seventh Generation's disinfecting wipes boast the ability to kill 99.9% of germs, including those that cause the flu, staph, salmonella and more. It's not likely you'll be battling raw chicken in a classroom setting, but these wipes are certainly a winner for this month's cold and flu struggles!
Just in case you're wondering just why bleach won't cut it and these natural disinfectants will, check out this great article on the negative affects of bleach on children. We'll be here when you get back.
For our DIY moms, dads and teachers, the first three cleaners in our list aren't the only tried and true ways to disinfect naturally. In fact, here are 42 more DIY recipes for cleaning pretty much your entire living (or teaching) space!