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Store shelves and Pinterest boards are filled with ideas when it comes to household cleaners.

Whether making products at home or shopping for them, many Northwest Indiana families are reaching for more natural cleaning options.

Selena Rich, of Highland, said she makes her own cleaners to make her home healthy for her kids.

“I think it's important to remember that you don't have to go all out," Rich said. "Sometimes just making a few changes can help your budget and your home environment.” She makes her own surface and floor cleaners and recently started making her own laundry detergent.

“First and foremost, it was significantly more economical. Secondly, was the lack of chemicals, making it better for our home with four children in it.”

To make the surface cleaner, she fills a spray bottle with vinegar and adds about 10 drops of essential lemon oil. For floor cleaner, she uses baking soda, along with vinegar. Mix until a paste is formed.

“It's wonderful for grout and chemical-free. Both of these are so easy to make," she said. "I also use vinegar as the fabric softener for our laundry. Just put in softener dispenser and it works wonderfully with absolutely no vinegar smell at all.”

Eugene Rosario, category manager for Strack & Van Til, oversees the category of organic and natural products. He said the stores have been adding more natural products to the shelves to give customers lots of options.

One line he purchases is called Earth Friendly Products ( which makes a variety of household products ranging from laundry detergent to floor cleaner to dish soap. The company is Chicago based and carried at most Strack’s locations, he said.

“The thing with them is that they have no toxins, no petrochemicals, no bleach, no ammonia, no phosphates or any other harmful ingredients,” he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends these products and they are designed to protect the environment, he said.

Some Strack’s also carry Mrs. Meyers products ( which are a similar, more natural product with no chemicals or toxins, he said.

“We’re looking for more of a natural earth based product that works.”

He said interest in these products continues to grow as customers get back to their roots and get back to a more natural lifestyle.

“In the last five years, there have been grass roots efforts to use natural products, eat naturally, avoid chemicals. Why do we have to have additives and dyes in everything?”

The natural products have been selling well and are well accepted by the public, Rosario said.

“We’re working to expand our organic offerings in grocery and into cleaning supplies and into the refrigerated section," he said. "There’s a need and people want a choice, and they need to know what’s in their food and cleaning products that they’re using.”

Kaaren Mashura, of Munster, is an independent distributor for the Shaklee Corporation, which manufactures natural products including nontoxic cleaners, nutrition and skin care. She also promotes Shaklee's in-home business opportunities for others looking to join the company, which has been in business for 58 years.

Mashura has used the products and owned the distributorship for 22 years. With an allergy to antibiotics and a desire to clean her home safely for her family and pets, she decided to check out Shaklee's health products.

The cleaning products work, are inexpensive, and go a long way, she said. She said her clients want the natural products because they are easy to use, nontoxic and safe for the environment. She said over the years, there has been an increased interest in the products, especially as allergies are causing more health problems.

"It all works together to keep your body healthy—good nutrition, along with safe and nontoxic cleaners."

When addressing clients with allergies, one of the first questions she asks is ‘what cleaning products do you use?’ ” She recommended changing those products first to see if the allergies improve.

Users can clean just about everything in their house with Shaklee. The line includes household cleaners, laundry products, dishwashing products and cleaning wipes.

Many products in the marketplace today are unsafe for your health, she said. Shaklee's Basic H household cleaner was introduced in 1960 and works on everything from hardwood floors to windows and mirrors. Basic H was the first official Earth Day product.

In 2009 Shaklee received a Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in recognition of its commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.

For information, visit Mashura's website at