by Michelle McDermott

Moving into my newly re-modelled house, a persistent but delightful smell would swirl around my nostrils. I was so intrigued by this aroma, that I called the previous owner’s realtor to figure out its identity. Sadly, to no avail.

Yes! smell is powerful and emotional and this played a major part in impacting the ‘Wow’ factor upon me, when I viewed the house for the first time. Would you buy a house which smelled mouldy?

On completion of contracts, this new home of mine sent out a message, loud and clear, so much that I could not bring myself to use bleach in an environment which smelled so homey and wonderful. So, while perusing the aisles of the local supermarket for a new batch of cleaners, I instantly became aware of how limited our choice really is. There are plenty of products available but they all make the same claim – to kill 99.9% of all germs known to man. Just make sure you do the killing in a well ventilated room.

Biff! Bang! Pow! Gaudy fluorescent colors scream out at you, as you walk by. I decided to keep on walking and do some online research.

“Caldrea believes caring for the home should be as luxurious as caring for the body.” – Monica Nassif, founder and owner of the Minneapolis based company, states that “long before harsh cleaning chemicals became the norm, we used essential oils and elbow grease to clean homes, scent linens, and keep rugs free of bugs. Now we have combined the best of the past with the modern innovation of hard working and aromatherapeutic cleansers.”

Just as we scent the body with different products in the same fragrance collection – Caldrea makes it possible to clean and scent the home in the same manner. Some of the fragrance collections epitomise how you will feel when the cleaning endorphins kick in: Sensous Green Tea Patchouli, Gentle Sweet Pea and Energetic Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang. My personal favorite is the seasonal Pineapple Nutmeg -imagine walking into a room imbued with the fragrance of Nutmeg, Black Pepper, Cinammon and Orange, and of course Pineapple. Think of a warming, woodsy Autumnal fragrance.

But the question remains. Is it possible to ban the bleach all together? As the Mother of two, messy young boys, who had not yet accomplished the goal of aiming directly into the bowl, I was concerned.

Method – a San Francisco based company have been working on their ‘People against Dirty Campaign.’ Dirty meaning pollution, poison, burning lungs and soap scum to name a few. I emailed the Method PR contact expressing my concerns at maintaining high levels of hygiene without the use of bleach. I was assured that if I used the Method All Purpose Cleaner, topped off with vinegar in the bowl, this would suffice. I put away the bleach, once and for all!

With the use of Method Flushable Wipes in eucalyptus mint scent and a few sprays of French Lavender All Purpose Cleaner, the smell of ammonia has been banished from the ‘Little Boys Room’ for good. My house continues to smell fresh, clean and alive with the scent of whichever plant or fruit I choose.

On making the decision to clean without using harmful chemicals, the next step in my research took me to the world of laundry detergents.

According to Method’s PR over 400 million gallons of water are used to dilute many of the worlds laundry detergents each and every year. Not only that, but the disposal of these gigantic plastic containers are filling up the landfill sites quicker. The company declares’ Method = Strength through technique,’ so with this in mind, I tested the small 32oz bottle of laundry detergent which claims to clean 32 loads of laundry. It is triple concentrated and therefore I was able to hold the bottle in one hand without straining my back. It did indeed produce a clean load of laundry but more importantly, I was making a stand against playing my part in flushing harmful chemicals, in great quantities, down the drain.

As the Iroquois Indians declare ” in our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” Thanks to companies like Caldrea and Method for offering an alternative to the large corporations who offer quick, harmful fixes to our daily cleaning dilemmas.

Caldrea –

Method – also available at Target stores.