we banned bleach and now it smells like a hoagie in here!

Years ago,  Mark banned me from bleach.

After one too many closed-door, bathroom cleanings (the kind that ended with me hunched over in the front yard, gasping for fresh air) he forbid me from purchasing any more cleaning products that contained bleach.

I was pretty upset about it too because, in my mind, if it wasn’t cleaned with 100% bleach then I could hardly call it clean.

I may, or may not have, smuggled in a few bottles of Clorox Cleanup into the house under the cover of darkness.

Eventually, I found myself looking for healthier ways to clean my home and tend to my family’s bodies.  We are not really a “holistic” family (yet!) but we want to be.

We use tea tree oil to treat wounds. We take nano-silver daily.  We believe in the respiratory benefits of daily grape seed extract, we clean our glass with the old-fashioned vinegar and water, we chug Calm (magnesium) before bed to help us rest well and when I want to disinfect my home I use Oil of Oregano.

This is Oil of Oregano from GNC.  It has 60% Carvacrol but I only use this when I run out and cannot order my p73 Oil of Oregano.  I prefer to use an oil that contains at least 70% Carvacrol and most, online, offer 80% or higher.

I use about 20 drops of oil for every 2 cups of warm water in a squirt bottle.

On cleaning day, it smells like a deli in here with the oregano and vinegar scents floating around but I prefer that smell over bleach and fake “lavender” scents in store brands.

When I had Corrigan, by c-section, in 2008 my body was not allowed time to properly heal because of the crazy experience of Cor’s health situation.  Instead of taking a few days to recover I found myself sitting in a cold, hard chair for hours and hours at a time, refusing to eat or sleep, simply watching my baby breathe and praying for his life.

I found myself with a nasty case of MRSA in my incision site.

Fun stuff.

A few rounds of antibiotics and I was still having issues.  To be honest though, I wasn’t paying much attention to my own health problems and Mark was the one that made me do the things that I needed to do to heal my body and fight the infection.

We won the fight with Tea Tree Oil and Oil of Oregano.  (do not apply full strength to skin)

  • Oil of oregano at relatively low doses was found to be efficacious against Staphylococcus bacteria and was comparable in its germ-killing properties to antibiotic drugs such as streptomycin, penicillin and vancomycin. [Science Daily 10/11/2001]
  • Researchers at the Department of Food Science at the University of Tennessee reported that, among various plant oils, oil of oregano exhibited the greatest antibacterial action against common pathogenic germs such as Staph, E. coli and Listeria. [Journal Food Protection, Volume 64, July 2001]
  • British researchers reported oregano oil had antibacterial activity against 25 different bacteria. [Journal Applied Microbiology, Volume 88, February 2000]
  • Of more recent interest are reports showing that carvacrol from oil of oregano kills spores, such as Bacillus cereus and Bacillus anthracis (anthrax). [Archives Microbiology, Volume 174, October 2000; Quarterly Review Biology, Volume 73, March 1998Bacillus cereus is considered to be from the same species as Bacillus anthracis(anthrax). [Applied Environmental Microbiology, Volume 66, June 2000]
  • In tests of antibiotics and antiseptics, Bacillus cereus is often used in studies in lieu of the anthrax strain. [University of Michigan News & Information Service, Sept. 23, 1998]
  • The growing problem of antibiotic resistance has health authorities extremely concerned. It is already the case that various germs are showing resistance to vancomycin, particularly to intestinal bacteria (Enterococcal species) among hospitalized patients. [Southern Medical Journal, Volume 94, August 2001]
  • Vancomycin is considered to be the most potent antibiotic available and is withheld from use as a drug of last resort. Drug resistance does not develop against naturally-occurring antibiotics such as garlic and oil of oregano.

Sometimes, I still give in to my feelings that maybe I do need the newest cleaner on the market.  I picked up the above bottle of name-brand cleaner and when I had a chance to check out the label I noticed that this manufacturer didn’t even care to tell you anything about what is in its product.  The label reads:


4% citric acid

96% other ingredients


So, like, we do not deserve to know?  We should just be satisfied to know about the citric acid and nothing else?

from organiconsumers.org :

Other ingredients in cleaners may have low acute toxicity but contribute to long-term health effects, such as cancer or hormone disruption. Some all-purpose cleaners contain the sudsing agents diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA). When these substances come into contact with nitrites, often present as undisclosed preservatives or contaminants, they react to form nitrosamines – carcinogens that readily penetrate the skin. 1,4-dioxane, another suspected carcinogen, may be present in cleaners made with ethoxylated alcohols. Butyl cellosolve (also known as ethylene glycol monobutyl ether), which may be neurotoxic (or cause damage to the brain and nervous system), is also present in some cleaners.

Chemicals that are so-called “hormone disruptors” can interfere with the body’s natural chemical messages, either by blocking or mimicking the actions of hormones. Possible health effects include decreased sperm counts, increased rates of male birth defects such as cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) and hypospadias (where the urethra is on the underside of the penis), and increased rates of some kinds of cancers. The alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) used in some detergents and cleaners have been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen; one APE, p-nonylphenol, has caused estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells to multiply in a test tube study.

I strongly encourage you to become label-conscious and ask questions about what are in the products that you buy.  The cleaning wipe that you use to clean your baby’s highchair may contain something that you would jump in front of a moving bus to prevent your child from eating, yet we use it to wipe clean the very surface that their food rests upon.

The effects of so many of the man-made, chemical-filled items that are in our homes are only now coming to light. It is not too late to make a change!

Don’t be like me and be fooled into the newest product…or find yourself gasping for breath after bleaching your toilet…do your own research and choose your family’s cleaning products wisely!

I would love to hear the holistic ways that you keep your family happy and healthy.  I am curious about laundry detergents. Is anyone out there making their own? Please share your tips in the comment section!

6 thoughts on “we banned bleach and now it smells like a hoagie in here!

  1. Wow – you sound like you know know WAY more about natural cleaners than I do but I have been satisfied with Shaklee’s natural cleaning products. We are trying to green it up in the cleaner department as well – I was floored to learn that there is much more pollution INSIDE our homes than outside…Yikes…

    Great information – would have never thought to use Oil of Oregano but very interesting…:) I’ll give it a whirl!


  2. Ooooh thanks for the tips. By the way I also LOVE tea tree oil. My mom used to apply it to my pimples when I was a pre teen. Now I use it for a variety of skin treatments including wipe solution.

    And as far as Calm…I also LOVE it. But am not taking it during pregnancy because it really cleans you out. LOL


  3. hmmm. very interesting….we only use vinegar/water and lysol wipes in our house. so i love hearing about other alternatives. very interesting about the oil of oregano, because with sophies cf she struggles with staph aureus infections in her lungs constantly…is there a child dosage??


    • Ricki, I do not know. We do not take the oil of oregano internally. I only use it to clean. Though there is a spray that Mark swears by called OregaSpray…he squirts it in his mouth (it says it can be used as a breath freshener) and it will make a sore throat go away in an hour. The problem is that once you squirt it, for a split second, you would think that you just did yourself in. Like, the feeling that you just drank something that should have had a Mr. Yuk sticker on it. Remember those?? ha. It is POTENT! Effective, but shocking!

      Of course, like with most herbal remedies, they never have child doses listed for safety reasons. You would have to do your own research and make those decisions yourself.


  4. seee…thats what i get for trying to multitask= read blog and answer sophies questions at the same time…apparently i answered her questions correctly but totally missed to point of oil of oregano! LOL ….go figure!


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