Safe and Healthy Cleaning
Local business, Cathy Sparkle, will have a workshop in Greater Annapolis to demonstrate its environmentally safe household cleaners.
For quite a while Cathy Desmond struggled with health problems that numerous tests and multiple doctors couldn’t diagnose.
Eventually, it was determined she had hypersensitive food allergies. Soon she also found out she was hypersensitive to the cleaning materials in her house, many of them more toxic than she ever realized.
That was when the idea for Cathy Sparkle was born. As Desmond searched the Internet for safe cleaners, she soon realized there weren’t many, if any, products that didn’t contain some chemical she couldn’t pronounce or that was known to be toxic.
Instead she found numerous home recipes from people struggling with similar problems, or people who just wanted a healthier, more environmentally safe alternative for cleaning their homes.
So about a year ago, Desmond began experimenting with her own recipes in her St. Margaret's home. It was literally trial and error until she began to finely tune recipes for each type of cleaner she regularly used around her house—Windex, Formula 409, etc.
“She tested each to see what worked best on each surface,” said Heather Hutton, her business partner.
Desmond said at first she had some ingredients that were making the kits more expensive and more complicated.
“We knew we had to make it idiot proof, to be simple enough for me to use,” Heather said. “If I can do it, anyone can do it. You just mix, pour and spray.”
And Desmond finally hit on the recipes that she felt worked.
“I found that the process of cleaning was actually making me feel good,” Desmond said. “The hard part was getting organized.”
So the two began building kits that contain just about everything you need to create environmentally safe, healthy and fresh-smelling cleaners.
“Hopefully we can make an impact on making the world a cleaner, safer place,” she said. “All you want with your cleaning supplies is to get the dirt out and to not contaminate your home while you’re doing it.”
The cleaners use many household items in addition the antimicrobial plant oils, vegetable- or animal-fat-based soap and other olive-oil based cleaners. All you need to add, depending on the recipes, is water, vinegar, vodka, baking soda, olive oil or borax.
The $75 kits, which include various bottles with recipes printed on each and other materials, are designed to last six to nine months, though depending on cleaning habits, they could last up to a year.
“With the exception of the borax, all of the ingredients are consumable,” Heather said, pointing out how safe the products can be. “There’s nothing here you don’t know or that you can’t pronounce.”
Desmond said a straight “street sale” is difficult for Cathy Sparkles products because of the “education factor” involved in getting people to rethink the way they’ve cleaned their homes for years. That’s why they’ve turned to holding “cocktail parties” or workshops where they demonstrate their kits.
The next healthy cleaning workshop is scheduled for May 3 at the Annapolis Lymphedema and Therapy Center, 2001 Tidewater Colony Dr.
For more information on the workshops or to view specific recipes, visit the Cathy Sparkle website at www.CathySparkle.com.