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Published on Friday, November 13, 2015 by

Mother and daughter cleaning in the kitchen

As we head into cold and flu season, think twice before reaching for antibacterial wipes or soap! Here are easy, effective, affordable, do-it-yourself recipes to clean and disinfect.

Did you know that there is no evidence that antibacterial products actually do a better job than regular soap in a household setting? So avoid them unless you work in a hospital. Why? Overuse of antibacterial ingredients like triclosan is helping create superbugs. We are all learning that our increasing obsession with avoiding germs could actually be making us sick.

What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is used in cleansers, antiperspirants/deodorants, toothpastes and hand sanitizers as a preservative and anti-bacterial agent. This ingredient is toxic to fish and wildlife and can interfere with hormone function. Avoiding Triclosan can be tricky because it is used in so many everyday products such as soaps, countertops, garden hoses, garbage bags, socks, laundry products, and facial tissues.

How to Shop Smarter:

  • Avoid anything labelled “anti-bacterial”
  • Avoid triclosan in the ingredient list
  • Avoid wearing colognes and perfumes. Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma and some are harmful to fish and other wildlife
  • Choose products that list ingredients and plant-based ingredients
    Choose products with ECOLOGO or Green Seal labels.

If you live or work with children, non-toxic disinfectants are even more important. Children are closer to the ground and they have an “exploratory nature”.  And we all know how younger children tend to put everything in their mouths.

One way to get off the antibacterial crazy train is to make your own soap, hand sanitizer, cleaner and disinfectant.

Liquid Hand or Body Soap 

  1. Add to soap dispenser (even the foaming kind)
  2. ¾ cup (187.5 ml) water
  3. ¼ cup (62.5 ml) liquid castile soap (unscented or scented with essential oils; available at most health food stores or organic grocers)

Hand Sanitizer
Mix and store in a squeeze bottle. Keep a batch in your diaper bag, child’s backpack, at your desk or in your purse or car.

1.¼ cup (62.5 ml) pure aloe gel
2.½ cup (125 ml) rubbing alcohol
3.5 to 8 drops tea tree or thyme essential oil
4.Optional: add 2tbsp (30 ml) vegetable glycerin to combat the alcohol’s drying effect

Disinfectant Spray

  1. Transfer store-bought hydrogen peroxide to a dark spray bottle (it’s sensitive to sunlight)
  2. Unlike chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water and is kind to the environment. Did you know eco or oxygen bleach is really diluted hydrogen peroxide?
  3. On their own, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are each strong germ killers. Used in combination, they’re even better — 10 times more effective than disinfecting with either substance alone and more effective than bleach in the kitchen. Mixing them together cuts their germ-killing power, but using one after the other can work really well.

Lindsay resides in Vancouver with her two-year old son. As David Suzuki’s “Queen of Green”, she answers questions and offers DIY recipes and tips. She regularly appears as a “green expert” in the media and appeared on the Dr. Oz show. www.queenofgreen.ca

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