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In the last couple of years, I have tried to really reduce my family’s exposure to toxins. Unfortunately this isn’t so easy today, as there are chemicals in everything. It’s in the air, water, food (we’ve mostly fixed this!), and of course, cleaning products. Cleaning products are a major source of toxins in our homes, and unfortunately, they get to us easily. They absorb into our skin from our clothing, into our food from our dishes, we breathe in the fumes, and into our hands just from actually cleaning with them.
A More Natural Solution
So, I needed a more natural solution. It’s especially important now that Bekah loves to “help” with everything I do (surprisingly she’s becoming more of an actual help and less of a hindrance these days…with most chores). I really don’t feel good about allowing her to help if I’m using any form of chemical because I just don’t want her exposed to that. It’s especially important now that we know about her chemical sensitivities!
Traditional cleaning products are dangerous. Here is a list of products I use sparingly, if ever, in my home:
- Toilet cleaner (I never allow any children around when I use this)
- Any commercial product (Magic Erasers, window cleaners, etc.)
Here is a brief list of the types of cleaning products I typically use:
- Baking Soda — It freshens refrigerators, scrubs counters, takes stink from laundry, scrubs away mildew, etc. This is my all-purpose cleaner.
- Vinegar — Functions as fabric softener, cleans glass, mirrors, and combines with baking soda to make just about anything shine.
- Soap Nuts — Much more on this in another post, but I use these for laundry and in my dishwasher.
- Essential oils — I add this to laundry or dishwasher detergent on occasion, because they are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, not chemical, and they smell nice.
- Hydrogen peroxide — If I must use a “chemical,” peroxide will get just about any organic stain (think: blood, tomatoes, grape juice, etc.) out of anything.
- Castile Soap — This is a soap based purely on vegetable oils and nothing else, no chemicals. It’s perfectly safe to use for ANY cleaning. Around the house, your body, your hair, your teeth. Completely non-toxic and very versatile.
I really don’t use much more than that. I don’t buy any of the fancy natural cleaning brands. Most things really can be cleaned with just vinegar and baking soda, safely. I don’t have to worry if my daughter dips her hands in the baking soda and then in her mouth. Totally safe!
Products You Can Buy
Some people do prefer to buy some natural cleaning products, though, so I thought I’d list a few I’ve found acceptable (and which were recommended by other bloggers):
I know some people are going to say “But what about Clorox’s green line?” or some other major national brand. I don’t tend to trust those. I think those companies are trying to cash in on the green movement and that their products contain supposedly-”greener” versions of chemicals. The small, fringe companies tend to use truly natural ingredients. Mrs. Meyer’s uses essential oils for fragrance, NOT any artificial fragrance or dyes. If you can find it at a health food store, it’s probably okay, but read the ingredients. If you can’t pronounce them or they sound at all chemical in nature, or contain any FD&C dyes or artificial fragrance, WALK AWAY!
Others are going to say, “But don’t those natural products not work as well?” The answer is FALSE! In my experience, the natural products did a BETTER job than the chemicals did. Surfaces were less sticky, things cleaned easier. I once had a mold problem in my shower (well, it’s back…because I never use the shower so I don’t look at it, and Ben has ignored it) and tried EVERYTHING to get it out: CLR, bleach, every harsh chemical in the book. Nothing. Then one day I flooded it with warm water and baking soda, and a half hour later put some baking soda on a sponge and began to scrub the shower. The mold was GONE! That easily. Baking soda “cured” my problem. Bleach couldn’t touch it, but baking soda eliminated it. Hmm….
Here’s some more links and information on cleaning naturally: