Leslie Reichert on “The Dr. Oz Show”
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Culture Editor
Northbridge – Leslie Reichert of Northbridge often got sick in the 1990s when she owned a home cleaning service and used certain products. While her doctor diagnosed the frequent illnesses as possibly an immune deficiency, she stumbled upon a different solution. Green cleaning became her natural remedy.
Now as the author of “The Joy of Green Cleaning,” she spends much of her time publicly sharing a healthier way of doing daily chores.
“When you spray a cleaner, and feel it in your throat and eyes, that’s your body telling you there’s something wrong – you shouldn’t be using it,” she said. “Whenever I got sick, I wouldn’t just get a cold; I’d get pneumonia or bronchitis. One time, I got poison ivy in the middle of winter.”
Also at that time, Reichert inherited her great-grandmother’s Bible. Tucked inside of it she found an old-fashioned laundry soap recipe consisting of four ingredients: baking soda, washing soda, oxygen bleach or borax, and Ivory soap grated flakes.
“It was unbelievable how well it worked,” Reichert declared. “It works differently than our laundry detergent today. It pulls the dirt out and leaves no residue. My clothes were getting clean without a funky smell or feeling stiff.”
Reichert compiled more recipes with common household ingredients and wrote “The Joy of Green Cleaning.” Her book explains how to clean without toxic chemicals. She recommends for homes to have four basic items stocked to use as ingredients.
“You can make a ton of different cleaners with vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice,” she said. “The cleaning industry doesn’t tell you what’s in their products. They call it an ‘active ingredient.’ The government says its proprietary information.”
When Reichert encounters skeptics reluctant to invest time and energy into green cleaning, she challenges them to make a simple cleanser to replace commercial products such as Comet.
“Comet has seven carcinogens and 146 airborne allergens in it,” she noted. “We can make the same thing and it will work better, with only three ingredients: baking soda, table salt, and either oxygen bleach or borax. Mix a cup of each together. You can add seven to nine drops of essential oil for fragrance to trick your brain. If it doesn’t smell like a cleaner, you’re not going to use it.”
She shared green cleaning tips twice in 2015 with viewers of “The Dr. Oz Show.” First, she was among a panel of guests discussing various ways to use olive oil. Reichard cleans refrigerators with it.
Several months later, she was invited back to “The Dr. Oz Show” along with inventor and entrepreneur Lori Greiner of ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank.” Greiner was asked to determine if Reichard’s green all-purpose cleaner is a “fix or fail.”
Reichert created her “happy hour cleaner” with vodka, white vinegar, lemon juice, essential lemongrass oil and castile soap. She demonstrated her cleaner on a dirty countertop. A member of the show’s medical team tested how effectively it disinfected the scrubbed area. The test results scored impressively well and Greiner deemed Reichert’s green cleaner “a fix.”
“It’s satisfying to be able to clean your home in a healthy way,” Reichert said. “It’s so ironic that some of the cleaners that we use have such nasty things in them. The joy comes from keeping your home, family and pets in a natural way.”