5 tips to help detox your home

The smell of furniture polish, window spray or tile cleaner, or even having floor cleaner on your skin for a few minutes at a time might not make you sick.

Mounting research is raising questions about the cumulative effects of years of “normal” exposures like these to common household cleaning products that often contain known carcinogens.

I truly believe in keeping our home environment as natural as possible. Every Thursday morning between 8-8.30am on SABC3’s Expresso Breakfast show, I demonstrate natural, non-toxic DIY recipes for home, beauty and lifestyle. 

I have lots of fun making up the recipes and encourage you to include your kids in the process, as it is great family time together and a good way to pass on your knowledge to the next generation. 

There are also excellent natural cleaning products available to purchase in stores in South Africa like the Pick n Pay Green range.

Here are 5 simple tips on how to detox your home as well as some useful recipes:
1. Switch to nontoxic cleaning products
Make sure you read the ingredients on the household cleaning products and detergents you use as many of them have toxic chemicals and carcinogens — then choose a natural brand you trust or make your own at home. (See recipe below)

2. Stop dry cleaning clothes and using mothballs

Certain chemicals in dry cleaning techniques can be harmful to you and your family. Instead, opt to hand-wash items that are dry-clean only, or use an eco-friendly dry cleaning or wet cleaning service.

At the very least, don’t bring clothes that have been around these chemicals into your bedroom or closet; air them out in an outdoor area first.

Make your own ’moth balls’ or sachets made with herbs like mint, rosemary, thyme or cloves to repel moths without harmful chemicals.

3. Choose foods with the fewest number of additives, and choose organic whenever you can
Besides the possible health risks of chemically produced or GMO foods, there are very good environmental reasons. Those chemicals end up in runoff water that goes into our groundwater and oceans.

There are also new studies showing that the nutrient value of organic produce is much higher.

4. Avoid products that contain synthetic fragrances
There are as many as 300 chemical ingredients in a single fragrance! Choose fragrance free cleaning products or products made with essential oils rather than with artificial fragrances.

Making this simple choice helps protect your health and your family’s health, and it’s more sensitive to other people. According to the FDA, fragrances are responsible for 30% of allergic reactions.

5. Get rid of the pesticides
You don’t need them. There are some really great, effective alternatives to pesticides (see recipe below for DIY). For example, soap-based solutions have been used for centuries as all-purpose pesticides.

They're nontoxic to the environment and to people — and they work on a wide variety of garden insects by disrupting their cell membranes and causing dehydration. Make sure you use organic, natural soaps.

Prepare your own Eco Diva Organic Pesticide


1 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon of non-toxic detergent
10 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
Used dish/bath water

Pour all ingredients into a recycle spray bottle; shake well and spray on vegetables, herbs and garden plants.

Tips: Salt = fights off spiders, mites, cabbage worms
Soap Spray = fights slugs, bugs
Lemongrass = effective insecticide and rodent control
Peppermint Oil = effective against fleas, flies, bugs, insects and rodents

Prepare your own Eco Diva Organic Oven Cleaner


½ cup salt (absorbs grease & oils)
¼ cup baking soda (Scouring Powder and deodorizing)
1 cup of water
¾ cup white vinegar (Anti Fungal, Germ Killing  - removes build up)
10 drops lemon essential oil or 2 fresh lemons (Disinfectant, Germ Killer)


Combine the salt and baking soda in a bowl. Add just enough water to make a paste. Spread the paste in the oven and leave for 20 minutes.

Combine the vinegar, lemon and/or essential oil in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the oven walls and wipe clean.

Visit ECO DIVA for recipes and eco-chic lifestyle tips or Follow Nicole on Twitter

Follow Women24 on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.