I am a big advocate of baby steps when it comes to greening up your home. Realizing that the toxins in your deodorant may be one of the leading causes of breast caner is one thing but then to be washed over with the fact that carcinogenic toxins also lurk in your makeup, personal care products, furniture, mattresses, clothes, food, cleaning supplies and more – it’s kinda overwhelming – and that’s putting it mildly.
One way to maintain sanity while transitioning is the Baby Steps Approach. Meaning when you run out of something – weather it be toothpaste, deodorant, floor cleaner or laundry soap – look to replace it with a cleaner, more nontoxic alternative. Investigate one product at a time. Research the ingredients, find and try alternatives and see what works for you.
It’s taken me a few years to vet my cleaning routine down to these staples. I am still refining my routine and I love trying new products plus I am always investigating and learning as I go. I have two really strict standards:
- The product MUST perform.
- The product can not pose a danger to me or my family’s health.
This is where I am now:
There are over 85,000 industrial chemicals out there and a majority of them are not even tested for safety and on top of that, cleaning product manufactures are not legally required to list their ingredients on their packaging. – The Simply Co. Start looking at labels and you will see things like “99% other ingredients.” It’s crazy that companies are not required to disclose ingredients.
I have found a couple of nontoxic laundry soaps that I really like but this is my fave as of late. I especially love that it comes in glass – yay for no plastic! And the ingredients are even more appealing: baking soda, washing soda, organic vegan castile soap and organic essential oils. THAT’S IT!!!
This 32oz jar will give you up to 60 loads and is HE machine compatible – it also works for standard machines too. This works fantastic on our clothes – and I have two toddlers so you know I am not saying this lightly. We use the unscented one and clothes come out smelling neutral, looking clean and they have no soapy residue. 20.00/jar or if you sign up for their monthly subscription you save an additional 10%. A must try!
Code: THISORGANICGIRL will save you 10% at checkout!
Dish Soap/Hand Soap
My dishes don’t stand a chance against these two. They work and they work good.
Dishwasher: Better Life dishwasher gel leaves dishes clean and streak free. I’ve tried a TON of natural dishwasher detergents and most of them leave a film behind or they straight up just don’t clean – not this one. But not only does it work – it’s nontoxic, plant derived, preservative free, fragrance free, biodegradable, safe for kids, pets and the planet (being kind to waterways and marine life). I’ve looked up all the ingredients and they look great. 6.99 on sale on their website right now or you can pick it up with Amazon Prime too.
Hand washing: Dr. Bronner’s is a concentrated castile soap meaning it is a plant derived soap. It is biodegradable, earth friendly, certified organic and vegan. This concentrated formula can be used for so many things from bathing your pet to moping floors to shaving your legs. I happen to love it as a dish soap. I dilute it 1:10 with water in a little oil/vinegar glass pourer and keep it by my sink for hand washing dishes with a scrub brush. There are a ton of scents to choose from like orange, rose, almond and an unscented one too. I often find these on deep discount (like half price!) at Homegoods, TJMaxx or Marshals but available on Amazon Prime too. Cleaning for pennies with this product!
Loving these foaming hand soaps from Kosmatology. Ingredients are on point, hands are clean and everyone is healthy! 8.99 for a 8.5 oz bottle.
These are Leaping Bunny Certified and vegan. Free of all nasties including: parabens, phthalates, SLS and Triclosan. Made with organic oils and organic essential oils – these are a top recommendation. I have one by my kitchen sink and another in my bathroom.
Code: ORGANICGIRL will save you 15% at checkout. Valid through 11/30/16.
Stainless and Windows
Say hello to ecloth and goodbye to toxins. These are amazing little tools and clean stainless and windows with JUST WATER! That was not a typo. Just. Water.
The window cloths are great for mirrors, glass and windows. I have a spray bottle with just water in it that I use to spritz down whatever surface I am cleaning and then wipe with the glass cleaning cloths. There are two cloths for glass, a textured one to remove water and a finishing cloth which leaves glass streak free. Honestly these work so well I don’t even need the finishing cloth most of the time. Clean, CHECK! Cheap, CHECK! Notntoxic, CHECK!
The stainless cloth works the same way but I actually get better results if I use an all-purpose cleaner like The Optimist Co. with it (which I will talk about in a minute). It works fine with just water but it works fantastic if you add a little soap to the mix. I use this on my fridge, dishwasher, range hood, stove and washer/dryer. Check it out:
So good right!? These cloths are less than 10.00 and you can find them on Amazon Prime.
Just to compare: this is the multi-surface product I used to use for glass, stainless, wood….remember when I mentioned that companies don’t even need to list their ingredients, well check it out:
Can you see how it says blah blah ingredients at…..0.0125% and THEN it lists “other ingredients…..99.9750%” – how is that even okay!? Like without even knowing a single thing about ingredients I can tell you right now they are hiding something and I would bet the farm it ain’t pretty. Like who wants to spray whatever they are not disclosing around their kids, pets and loved ones? NOT ME.
Okay so moving on to a great option for an all-purpose cleaner.
I love The Optimist Co. Super clean products, woman owned and local (to me). They have a laundry soap, glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, room sprays and DIY kits if you are into making your own. I keep reaching for this all-purpose cleaner. It’s made with distilled water, club soda, castile soap and essential oils and it gets the job done – plus it smells nice too.
I use this on my counter, table, walls, bathroom, in my car, for any spills or random stuff like crayon on the wall. On surfaces it’s a little sudsy but it evaporates as you keep wiping and everything is left clean and streak free. I love this spray.
I also love the price – this 16 oz cleaner is 6.00! Check them out here.
Code: ORGANICGIRL will save you $5 off $30 or more
Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag: This is essentially just a bag filled with charcoal and works to remove odors, allergens and harmful pollutants from the air. With two boys and a husband in the house I have been keeping one of these behind the toilet to help battle the subway smell. You guys know what I’m talking about. My bathroom is pretty big so one bag will not act as a cure-all but it helps. This is an alternative to air freshers that are filled with formaldehyde, petroleum and fragrance which can all be carcinogenic. I also love this bag because it is good for use upto two years and after that you can empty it into your garden where it helps plants absorb moisture and nutrients. Less than 10.00 on Amazon Prime.
Essential Oils: I use essential oils on occasion but I am not one who lives and dies by them – although I really do enjoy using them. My methods with these are a little unconventional. Again – the subway smell….I mean, what is going on in my bathroom? Anyways. after cleaning my bathroom – I legit go around and shake drops of essential oil behind the toilet, in the tank of the toilet, in the toilet, behind the sink, in the cabinet – like everywhere – and finally, my bathroom smells SO GOOD. I like cinnamon but there are so many good ones out there. Mountain Rose Herbs has a variety of organic oils, you can check them out here.
Fresh Wave Odor Removing Packs: Love these for the bottom of my trash barrel in the kitchen, a stinky pair of shoes and I can just imagine they will be perfect for a kids soccer or gym bag. They are little sachets filled with gel-like balls. They smell good and they definitely help eliminate any foul odors.
I spoke with the company about their ingredients and they explained these packs are made of a proprietary blend of water and pine, lime, cedarwood, aniseed and clove and a ploymer/gel. The gel is a food grade polymer that allows for the ingredients to create a gel-like substance and is safe to touch and eat (although not recommended). 10.00 for 6 sachets on Amazon Prime.
And Everything Else
For anyone who is life or death dependent on wipes – me included – try these as a substitute!
Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes: These are just hydrogen peroxide and water. This is a great substitute for disinfecting bleach wipes. The CDC confirms hydrogen peroxide is active against a wide range of microorganisms including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and spores. I use these on my toilet and and on the counter after prepping meats/poultry/eggs. These are also effective for disinfecting cuts or scrapes too. You can check them out here.
Water Wipes: Full ingredient list is 99% water and 1% grapefruit seed extract. Compare these to your baby wipes – especially if your little one is getting chronic diaper rashes but back to the cleaning – most of the time a surface is just dirty but does not need to be disinfected. We are obsessed with disinfecting surfaces when in reality we are striping ourself from the opportunity to grow our microbiome and maintain a healthy gut but again I digress. Of course you can just grab a rag and some water but I do like these for convenience when wiping down my sink, toy tables, toys, counters, faucets, back splash, my car dash, I mean you name it – they are just really good at getting the grime off. Great for wiping little fingers and noses too. You can usually find these at Target on sale or of course on Amazon Prime.
Wood and tile floors: I use a Shark steam mop that you just add water to and the mop makes steam which kills most germs. There is a fabric cover that goes over the mop head that you can wash in the washing machine and reuse.
Everything else like the toilet, sink, shower etc I use a combination of vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide – adding more baking soda if I want more of a scrub/abrasive consistency. I just play the proportions by ear as I go and it seems to work.
Do you have a nontoxic cleaning product you love? Let me know – I would love to give it a try!