Eczema and other skin sensitivities can be brought on by any number of environmental factors. Cool or dry air is a common eczema trigger and hot, humid air is a trigger for others. But for most, skin becomes exceptionally sensitive or inflamed whenever it comes into contact with common household cleaning agents. While babies and young children are not likely to come into direct contact with actual cleaning supplies themselves, they’re exposed through contact with you, clothing, carpet, upholstery, and by crawling across anything that has been cleaned with those caustic agents... or simply by breathing in the same space.
Regardless of whether you see eczema or inflamed skin appear when using chemical cleaning agents, it’s wise to avoid these sorts of cleaning products just to reduce the overall chemical burden in your home. Kids are exposed to potent cleaning solutions at school, daycare, and miscellaneous activity classes on a regular basis, so we always err on the ‘crunchy’ side of things on the home front to balance it all out.
There are several non-toxic, eczema-friendly cleaning products you can purchase, but you can also make cleaning solutions at home using ingredients you probably already have on hand. Be mindful about potentially misleading claims you may see on product labels at the store. Don’t just trust a cleaning product just because it says “natural”, “green”, “biodegradable”, or “CFC free” on the label. Often these words don’t actually mean anything! CFCs, for example, have been banned in the USA for years. Read the ingredients list and make sure you’re okay with what you see. If a “natural” looking product lists “fragrance” as an ingredient, it’s probably a sure bet that it’s not actually all that clean. (Sorry, but did anyone catch that pun? Brilliant.)
Eczema Friendly DIY Cleaning Supply Recipes
All-purpose spray — Combine 2 cups distilled water with cups castile soap with 10 - 15 drops of your favorite essential oil – we like lavender, peppermint, tea tree, or eucalyptus…
Simple sink cleaner — Combine 1/3 cup baking soda with 4 - 6 drops of your favorite essential oil. Rinse sink with hot water and then sprinkle the baking soda mixture into the sink covering as much area as you can. Pour some white vinegar over top and allow mixture to fizz. Wipe down sink and then fill sink up with all the messy things that accumulated while you were cleaning (ahhh, motherhood).
Oven cleaner — Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 parts water to form a paste. Apply to oven surfaces, let sit for 20 minutes, and wipe clean with wet cloth.
Bathroom cleaner – Use white vinegar to clean toilet bowls, sinks and other surfaces. If you have granite counter tops, opt for the castile all-purpose spray listed above as vinegar can damage granite.
Bathroom mildew remover — Add a cup of water and 15 - 20 drops of tea-tree or lavender essential oil into a spray bottle and spray directly to the mildew spots. Leave it and let it work its magic. Proper ventilation is key to keeping mildew from occurring in the first place so try to get to the root cause of the problem if it keeps reoccurring.
Carpet cleaner — Mix 3 cups water, 3/4 cup liquid castile soap, and 10 drops peppermint essential oil. Rub the foam into soiled areas with a damp sponge. Let dry thoroughly and then vacuum. Obviously, test a small area first to make sure there isn’t discoloration etc.
Window cleaner – Simply spray white vinegar on your mirrors and windows and wipe down with newspaper. Works like a charm!
Furniture polish – Dust with a microfiber cloth and if your furniture needs a bit of polish, try using a small amount of olive oil.
Household Cleaning Tips for Sensitive Skin Sufferers
- If you suffer from sensitive skin or eczema, consider wearing protective gloves to protect your hands. We think re-usable gloves are best to keep unnecessary plastic waste out of landfills.
- Open windows to allow for good ventilation and to purify the air (we borrowed that tip from Marie Kondo).
- While you're in the cleaning sort of mood, double check your hand soaps and laundry detergent to double check that you aren't using anything with triclosan (antibacterial agent) or fragrance (see this post on why).
- Remove any plug-in style air fresheners from your house. These are full of toxic chemicals that are essentially being pumped into your air-streams. Many people have reported that their skin becomes inflamed if any of the solution touches them. Consider adding essential oil to your homemade cleaning solutions instead.
- Make sure you're selecting the "extra rinse" cycle when you launder towels, sheets and clothing. Consider using wool dryer balls instead of fabric softener or dryer sheets.
Hopefully, you find these suggestions useful. It's not easy to eliminate everything all at once so consider introducing small changes over time. Don't beat yourself up for using anything suspicious in the past. As Elsa says, "the past is in the past... let it go, let it gooooo!". Happy cleaning!
Content from the Little Love Organics website and blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.