Have you ever thought about how many toxins are in your health & beauty care products? How about your cleaning products such as laundry detergent, dish detergent, and kitchen cleaners?
I’ve been using eco-friendly products for over 4 years now so sometimes I forget that some people are still essentially poisoning themselves with the products they bring into their homes.
As the title says, this is for beginners. If you are looking for recipes on how to make your own laundry detergent, dish detergent, toothpaste, etc., I’d suggest Pinterest. While I have made some of my own cleaning products over the years, this can be very overwhelming when you are first starting out so I’ve decided not to add those things here. Instead I’ll share the products I use around the house that don’t have artificial colors, fragrances, and other nasty chemicals like formaldehyde (Yes, THAT formaldehyde, aka embalming fluid).
White Vinegar, replaces: Lysol, 409, Windex, etc.
Hands down, my favorite all-purpose cleaning product is white vinegar. Yep, just plain white vinegar. You can dilute it down to 50% strength with water or just use full strength white vinegar. In the past I have diluted it, but now I use it full strength. I use it on kitchen counters, including the stove top (yes, it cuts grease wonderfully!), floors, and the toilet. I also use it in the wash with dirty clothes (1 cup per load or 1.5 cups for very soiled/stinky clothes). White vinegar is cheap and super versatile. Check out this article if you need more convincing. I buy 2 gallons of white vinegar at Costco for $4.19. Those 2 gallons usually last us about 5 weeks or so.
Also great for cleaning your mirrors and windows! Use a 50/50 water/vinegar solution for windows and mirrors.
Baking soda is abrasive, so be mindful when using it. However, this is a great tool when using on drip pans, your oven, or in the bathroom. I also use this in the wash with dirty clothes. I don’t always add it to every load, but when I do I add a scant 1/4 cup. If the clothes are very stinky I will wash them twice with 1.5 cups vinegar and 1/4 cup soda each time. None of the soda remains after the wash and the vinegar smell is gone as well. I encourage you to try this on your next load of laundry!
Baking Soda also makes a great carpet refresher! Sprinkle onto your high traffic areas and allow to sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum. You can even add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a shaker of Baking Soda and then sprinkle on the carpet.
Do we really need all those artificial scents and colors in our laundry detergent?? I’ve been using Fragrance Free laundry detergent for about 6 years and anytime I have to use something with scent I always find it off-putting. Those scents aren’t natural, they aren’t made from essential oils, and we do not need them. If you love that your clothes “smell nice” aka scented, when coming out of the wash, try putting your favorite essential oil onto a spare sock and tossing it in the dryer with your clean clothes and see if that does the trick for you instead.
I have tried making my own laundry soap before, and to be perfectly honest, it was a big pain. Way too much trouble for too little soap (especially because my husband is an enthusiastic detergent user). We currently use a brand called Ecos.
Here is the EWG (Environmental Working Group) breakdown of Ecos. If you’ve never been to the EWG website, I encourage you to use their search bar and type in the laundry detergent you are currently using and see how it scores. It’s really incredible all the information they’ve compiled. And it’s not just laundry detergent they have info on, but anything else you can imagine from sunscreen to toothpaste to body wash.
- Dryer Sheets
I’m no stranger to static cling, especially in the winter. I totally get it. Who wants to get zapped by their clothes? Not me. My favorite way to reduce/eliminate static cling without dryer sheets is safety pins – you can even use the same spare sock that you put essential oils on to scent your clothes. Pin a couple of large safety pins to an old sock or wash cloth and drop a few drops of essential oil on it and toss it in the dryer with your wet clothes. It works wonderfully and now you have a use for that spare sock that is missing it’s mate. If you must use dryer sheets I’d recommend you use the EWG site to find which ones are the least toxic.
- Dish Detergent/Dish Soap
For dish soap I use Seventh Generation. Here is the EWG page for it. I’m sad to see that the current dish detergent I use has been given a F by EWG, BUT the great thing about that site is that I can see a great alternative to my current one. One such alternative is Seventh Generation Free & Clear Detergent Pacs. I’ll do some price checking next time I’m at the store.
That’s it for now! Of course there are many other products that could be replaced with cheaper and more environmentally friendly options, but I don’t want to overwhelm any of you. If you are feeling overwhelmed reading all of this, just start with 1 or 2 things you can easily replace in your home. For instance, ditch those countertop cleaners and switch to white vinegar. Buy an empty spray bottle, a gallon of vinegar, and get cleaning! (You can also use vinegar to clean door knobs and light switches – ditch those aerosols like Lysol!!)
If you are concerned about cross contamination in the kitchen, wipe up any raw meat drippings with a paper towel and discard, then spray the area with full strength white vinegar and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then use another paper towel to wipe just that area and discard. Go over the area again with white vinegar when you do the normal entire-counter wipe. If you are an exclusively vegetarian or vegan cook you have even less to worry about!
Next week I’ll post about my favorite natural health & beauty care items, I hope you’ll check back then!