Alright, let’s start this post off with a truth bomb. Chemicals are in everything, whether they are harmful or not. Several of the products I use and will mention in this post may not be completely “organic”, “natural”, “hollistic”, or kale approved. I’m not a “crunchy” momma. My kid will eat happy meals as she grows up. Sometimes, I don’t wipe down her high chair when we go out to eat *gasp*. I’m not afraid to take a pill when I’m sick. I clean my toilets with bleach – yes – I said bleach. I am simply a firm believer in limiting contact with unnecessary chemicals as much as I can. I love my essential oils, but I also enjoy using them as preventative measures. If I truly do need a doctor’s visit and medicine, I will gladly pay them a visit. However if someone in my house is sick, you better believe I’ll be diffusing allllll the Theives to try and contain the sickness 🙂 I believe there is great power in finding balance in your life between the “natural” and “medicinal” worlds, and I’m still working on finding that balance! If you’re a crunchy momma or a my kid just ate a processed chicken nugget off the floor momma, there is a place for you here. Either way, don’t take offense to this post. I just want to share with you some products and lifestyle tips I have learned over the past year to help transition and cut out chemicals in our home.
A Quick Note
Before we get started, let’s just talk as friends for a moment. I know a lot of these products aren’t completely “safe” and there are more natural alternatives I could be using. However, we are on a budget and I’ve learned to make do with what we have! Cutting out chemicals is all about doing your research, and finding out what potentially harmful ingredients are in the things you use every day.
I’m not going to get into the knitty gritty here, and give you a huge list of chemicals to avoid. Studies and data can still be so inconclusive when it comes to potential side effects of harmful chemicals. It’s all about finding a balance and what you are comfortable with! For me, I would rather reduce my chances of exposure to anything harmful whenever I can. Because personally, I believe there’s a reason health issues continue to sky rocket around us – but that’s another post 😉
My number one tip to you, is to download the EWG app. The EWG app is truly your one stop shop to find out more about ingredients in our every day products. They’ve created an awesome Guide to Healthy Cleaning which you can find here and do some research of your own. Most major products on their market are available in their database, and are rated on an A-F scale according to safety. I challenge you to search for some of your favorite products and see where they rank!
Alright, let’s start with these little babies. The lysol daily cleansing wipes. Lysol wipes are just something I can’t completely ditch. They are perfect for those quick cleanups, that still need some disinfecting. I ditched the lemon scented wipes, which have a D rating on EWG, mainly because of the ammonium chloride in them. These daily cleansing wipes are free of ammonia, fragrances and dyes, which means they’re safe for me to use on all of Emerson’s toys. My kitchen may not smell lemony fresh, but I’d rather ditch the artificial fragrance!
Once again, I can’t ditch my disinfecting spray. Call me crazy, but sometimes you just need to spray down all your door knobs and light switches, am I right? This seventh generation disinfecting spray is awesome. The old faithful Lysol sprays gave me a constant headache with their super heavy, artificial fragrance. This Seventh Generation spray (especially the lavender kind) smells heavenly, and does not bother my allergies or my noggin. It still kills 99.9% of those nasty germs without the unnecessary gunk.
Yet another Seventh Generation product here, is their free and clear dish soap. This is actually the first product I switched over to a safer option! This is rated a C on EWG for acute aquatic toxicity, but this is one of those instances where I give some grace. I’m weird, but I cannot stand a scented dish soap. My dishes don’t need to smell like an ocean breeze or lavender field, they just need to be clean. This stuff gets the job done, fights grease just as well if not better than Dawn, and it is SO gentle on my hands!
Ah, the cult classic Mrs. Meyer’s products. I adore their multi-surface sprays. My favorite year round scent is Lavender, however I can’t resist their seasonal lines 😀 These cleaners are truly the best for the every day grime that builds up on your counters, tables, shelves, you name it. I’ve used this to dust, to clean furniture, the walls, pretty much everything. The non-artificial fragrance lingers beautifully and doesn’t give me a headache. I can’t say enough good things about this cleaner.
Window cleaner. While it often feels like a lost cause, I love keeping our windows, and especially our sliding door streak free. Your average Windex is rated a D on EWG for ingredients like ammonium hydroxide and ethanolamine. I’ve recently found this natural glass cleaner from Grove Collaborative, and will never look back. *Side note, if you’re looking to purchase some safer cleaning products, Grove is the best place to do it! They offer tons and tons of safer cleaning products at discounted prices. You can even receive a free five piece Mrs. Meyer’s gift when you shop through my link here !*
Anyways, their glass cleaner comes as a concentrate, and you simply add it to water and you’re good to go. It smells divine, and shines up my windows and mirrors beautifully.
Alright ya’ll, I saved the best cleaning tip for last. Growing up my mom always made me clean the bathtub with that classic metallic green can of Comet. I hated it because the smell always gave me a nasty headache. Since then, I’ve learned an awesome trick that cleans your shower just as well! I use one of these dish sponges with the handle you can fill with soap. Simply fill up the handle with equal parts vinegar and dish soap, and that’s literally all you need! Give it a good shake, and you can literally scrub away the icky pink mold and soap scum that accumulates so easily in our showers. The vinegar smell doesn’t linger at all, and our shower shines just like it did with that nasty comet 😉
We’ve all done it. We buy the cans of febreeze and air wick that have “lavender” and “essential oils” listed on the front, thinking we’re making a better choice for our homes. Well I hate to tell you, the lavender and chamomile air freshener is rated a F on EWG. Sodium borate and artificial fragrances make products like these so so harmful to you and your family. The best alternative I’ve found for a spray are the Mrs. Meyer’s room fresheners. Again, I love the lavender scent. I also love the spray nozzle on these bottles, as apposed to an aerosol can.
Of course, I would be amiss if I failed to mention essential oils when it comes to freshening your home. This particular blend is perfect for when the house just stinks, whether it’s from the trash or a particularly potent meal you cooked. Purification helps to eliminate all those nasty odors, while lemon makes the house smell clean!
Let’s talk about some personal care items (probably the most important items to switch first)! Think about it this way. Most people, especially women, unknowingly apply hundreds to thousands of chemicals to their bodies every day, without even thinking about their side effects. The personal care industry is basically unregulated, and companies are not required to fully disclose ingredient lists on their products. Can you say scary?
For the ingredients that are listed on products, there are definitely some to avoid. Aluminum for example, which is found in most anti perspirants. Say what you will about aluminum, it can be a very touchy subject when it comes to breast cancer and it’s possible correlation with aluminum. However breast cancer runs in my family, so I am going to take every preventative measure I can to protect myself.
My husband and I switched to natural deodorants about three months ago, so we have gone through the complete “detox” period. We both use a scent from Schmidt’s, and this rose and vanilla one smells divine! We switched over during the peak of Summer, and neither of us were noticeably stinkier after using these deodorants. Finding a natural deodorant that works for you can be a bit frustrating, as everybody’s natural PH and body composition is going to react differently to different ingredients. However I believe it’s worth finding one that works for you!
Toothpaste (and mouthwash in the background 🙂 )
This is probably the switch that my husband rolled his eyes the most about. However some potentially dangerous ingredients lie within that little tube of toothpaste on your counter. Triclosan, SLS, artificial sweeteners, proplyene glycol and others are known hormone disruptors, can possibly be linked to cancer, irritation and more. Your mouth is one of the most absorbent places in your entire body, meaning what you put into it hits your bloodstream that much quicker. When toothpaste and mouthwash sit in your mouth for minutes at a time, think of what could possibly be entering your entire bloodstream!
Hand soap – I know. It just rinses off with water, why does it really matter? Well think of how many times a day you wash your hands. The artificial fragrances and SLS build up so quickly, it definitely matters! I love all of the Mrs. Meyer’s hand soaps! They clean thoroughly, and don’t dry my hands out!
Yup. I’m posting a photo of my feminine products on the internet, for the world to see. However these are worth the public humiliation 🙂 Once again, this one got a pretty big eye roll out of my husband. However I paid less for this pack of pads than I usually do for my old Always ones, they are chlorine free, and they are SO SOFT. Seriously, I don’t know how I’ll ever wear anything else after these. They don’t scratch or irritate the already sensitive skin, they are free of synthetic dyes, funky fragrances, and “hold up” just as well as your typical pad. Two thumbs up for these babies.
Of course, I have to mention Beautycounter in this post. With everything from skincare, to makeup, to hair care, the number of chemicals women apply to their bodies is astounding. Beautycounter has taken away any fear of harsh chemicals in my skincare and makeup routine, and I don’t even mind letting Emerson play with the products 😉
Alright ya’ll, laundry is one of the areas in our home I really haven’t switched over to safer products yet. My husband works in a restaurant, and comes home smelling like fried chicken. As appealing as that sounds, the smell lingers on his clothes, and even transfers onto mine in the wash. Because of that, we can’t get away with using an unscented detergent, as much as I would like to. I haven’t explored the realm of natural laundry detergents yet for this reason, so if you have an awesome suggestion of one please let me know!
However, I do enjoy using wool dryer balls as opposed to dryer sheets for our clothes. I order these dryer balls from Grove, and absolutely love them! They definitely help reduce the static in our clothes, and still keep them nice and soft. You can even add a few drops of essential oils to the wool, to give your clothes a little extra boost – instead of using those icky scent boosters!
And that my friends, are a few steps we’ve taken and products I use in our home to help reduce the chemicals we’re exposed to! I strongly encourage you to do your own research, and make choices accordingly. Every family is different, but they all deserve the best!