Due to the overwhelming amount of questions I get over email and Facebook messenger, I decided to start featuring these questions on my blog for everyone to see. I love that you are so interested in making healthier choices. Have a question you'd like answered? Please use the contact form for a chance to have it featured in an upcoming post.
Remember, my #1 rule is to be healthy, not perfect. My approach is all about being healthy, balanced with a hefty side dose of reality. If that's the kind of answer you're looking for, you're in the right place.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to give up conventional cleaning products. With a growing body of evidence linking chemicals in our products to asthma, allergies, autoimmune disease, cancer, learning disabilities, and even obesity, this was a wise decision.
It may take you a little extra time and attention to change your habits of picking up what you’re used to from Target but believe me, you and your family are worth it.
Before I tell you what products I use, here’s a few tips for you that I’ve discovered along the way…
1. Baking soda and vinegar, though awesome in theory, are not going to leave you with a shiny, gleaming home. If your goals are to have your cleaning products as inexpensive and natural as possible and you don’t care so much about things looking and feeling clean, you’ll be thrilled. However, if you like a sparkling home, these aren’t going to work for you. I say this because I tried. I even spent way too much money and time adding essential oils to my baking soda and vinegar…and it still didn’t do it for me.
2. Just because someone has put a DIY recipe on the internet, doesn’t mean it works…or that it will save you money. I spent so much time and money experimenting with recipes that I read online and very rarely was I thrilled with the results. Just keep that in mind before you start experimenting if you’re a DIY kinda girl. For me, I’m a DIY girl in theory, but at the end of the day with a family to take care of, an online business, an offline business, and a to-do list that is always a mile long, I’d rather just stay stocked in my few favorite trusted products.
3. Just because it has a leaf on the label or you buy it from the healthfood store, doesn’t mean that it’s any better than the conventional stuff. It’s incredible how deceiving labels can be! I was blown away when I really started assessing products. Many of them with really natural looking labels and even those sold on the shelves of health stores were rated an “F” (meaning most toxic) on the EWG. Haven’t heard of the EWG yet? You can read more about them, assess the products that you do have, and even check out their latest guide to healthy cleaning products here.
4. You don’t need as many products as you think you do. I remember growing up we had an entire cabinet of cleaning products – Windex, Pledge, Mr Clean, Lysol Toilet Cleaner, 409, Lysol Floor Cleaner, Scrubbing Bubbles…you name it we had a bottle of it. We truly don’t need that many different things. An all-purpose cleaner can go a long way.
5. Cleaner concentrates are king. I love it when I can get one bottle of concentrated cleaning product that I only requires I use one cap and just add water to fill an entire spray bottle. I feel like it’s a win for the environment (less trash) and a win for me (less restocking).
Here’s the list of products I use in my house:
1. Biokleen All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate – Rated an “A” (the safest rating) by the EWG. This has so many uses – floors, windows, countertops, surfaces, carpets, toilets, bathtubs, refridgerators, washers, dryers etc. It can replace so many of your products. Just follow to dilution instructions on the bottle.
2. Bon Ami – If you want extra scrubbing, for caked on grime or dirt, this is perfect. And it doesn’t “scratch” so it’s safe for a wide variety of uses. I use it in the toilet, in the bathtub, to scrub tile/grout, and to clean the stove. Also an “A” rating by the EWG. A little goes a long way.
3. Biokleen Automatic Dish Powder – With a family as large as ours, our dishwasher gets a lot of use. I can’t imagine not having one. I also can’t imagine using some of that traditional toxic dish detergent. While I experimented for quite some time (far too much time, to be honest) to make my own, I’ve come to love this detergent because it gets everything clean, it doesn’t leave a residue, and I don’t have to worry about it leaving chemicals on my family’s dishes.
4. Homemade Laundry Detergent – While you may think I’m totally anti-DIY everything after reading some of my posts, I do love my homemade laundry detergent. It takes me under 10 minutes to make. It’s safe to use for everyone in the family. It smells amazing. And it’s very inexpensive. All you need is 4 cups borax, 4 cups washing soda, and 2 bars of Dr Bronners soap (grated with your food grater). Combine it into a large airtight container. I picked up a cute one from Ikea. I added in a few of those anti-caking packets (found in your dehydrated fruit packages and in your supplement bottles) because I read this detergent can cake up though I’ve never had an issue. I use 1 to 2 tbsp/load. One mixture lasts me for months (and we do a lot of laundry).
5. Essential Oils for Air Fresheners – I have a love/hate relationship with essential oils. Love to diffuse them in my home but not a fan of the confusion and poor information circulating in the essential oil industry. I am fully against the big, overpriced, auto-ship driven essential oil mlm companies. I’m a big fan of Plant Therapy. No, I don’t sell them. I just think they’re great quality at a great price. I love to diffuse essential oils in my home as opposed to spraying an air freshener or using plug-ins or anything like that. You only need a bottle or two as you’ll only be diffusing 5 or 6 drops at a time. Lemon or Orange are great clean scents to start with.
And that's it! Easy, right? I'd love to hear about the healthy products you use and love. Or, how it goes when you start using these. Come join the conversation on Facebook or leave me a note on Instagram!