After a long winter, I couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of spring! Here in Michigan, winter can start as early as October and last well into April- but I’m being cautiously optimistic for spring to actually declare itself this month. Along with fresh flowers and signs of new life outside, many of us also take this time to clean up our homes and breathe new life inside them as well.
Before you leap into your spring cleaning this year, though, take a quick minute to think about what is in the products you are using in your home. The point of spring cleaning is to be clean, but not at the detriment to your health! Most conventional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that may be linked to asthma, allergies, hormone issues, and possibly even lung or other cancers.
Think about it- do you have your kids around when you’re bleaching the bathroom? No way! Because even without finding scientific studies on the subject, you know that bleach is a dangerous substance and kiddos need to keep their distance. But it’s also not good for you! Sure, you wear rubber gloves and turn on the fan or open the window… but you are still breathing those chemicals into your lungs! And if any of your cleaners touch your skin, well, in 26 seconds they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream.
I know what you’re thinking- “we’re ok, we buy a natural brand from Target/Walmart/Meijer etc.” Here’s the thing- many brands marketed as “natural,” “green,” or “safe” actually still contain toxic ingredients. WHAAT?! I know, crazy, right? But these big companies are starting to realize that their consumers, AKA us, are starting to learn more and care about what kinds of ingredients we are using in our homes.
That’s great, right? Unfortunately, wrong. Instead of cleaning up their act and using higher quality ingredients in their products, most companies opt to take the easy way out and either take out just the worst offenders, leaving the rest of their toxins, or find sneaky ways to cover them up (for example, listing “fragrance” as an ingredient.) Even worse, some companies don’t even bother to touch the actual ingredients but instead opt to just use buzz words like clean/safe/natural on the front of their labels and assume that we won’t be smart enough to turn the bottle around to see what’s actually inside. (This is commonly known as greenwashing- learn more about that here.)
Hmmm… so what should you do? Obviously you want to clean your house and make sure that you’re actually getting it clean and not just pushing dust and junk around. But you also want to know that the products you are using are actually safe for you and your family. Luckily, you have options!
- Use natural ingredients to make your own cleaners. Do you have lemon juice, baking soda, and white vinegar? Then you’re all set!
- Distilled white vinegar (I use organic) is great for cleaning most surfaces, killing mold, removing stains, and even cleaning windows.
- Cut a lemon in half and use it to clean your wooden cutting boards or scrub down your sink. Dip it in baking soda for an even more powerful clean!
- Is the drain clogged in your shower? Pour baking soda down the drain followed by white vinegar and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then flush it out with a kettle full of boiling water and voilá!
- Use cleaning products you can actually trust. If you don’t want to make your own, or maybe you just really like the smell of a freshly cleaned kitchen (and not stinky vinegar), then you still have options.
- Although they are much harder to find, you can find cleaning products in the stores without harmful ingredients. (Download the Healthy Living app by EWG to take with you to the store so you can easily identify potentially harmful ingredients or download this guide to harmful ingredients.)
- Or you can order products that are 100% nontoxic and have them delivered straight to your door. Here’s the thing- I’ve spent years looking for safe products that actually work and have done tons of research along the way. Ultimately, all of this searching brought me to a company called Pure Haven. (You can read more about them and their mission here.) Over the past few years I’ve been consistently impressed with their products and ultimately have become an ambassador for the company because of it! (Please read my full disclosure policy here.)Their household cleaners are my favorite and the best part is that with only 6 products, you can clean your entire house! The 6 piece cleaning bundle contains surface cleaner, master blaster (aka the best stain remover on the planet!), glass cleaner, scrubbing cleanser, dish soap, and laundry detergent! You can also grab any of these ala carte.
As an added bonus to cleaning without chemicals, your kids can actually HELP you clean instead of having to evacuate! My toddler loves helping me wipe down the counters and I even let her spray the surface cleaner. And when she licks the window when she’s looking outside, I don’t stress- the ingredients in all the products I use are 100% safe so this momma is worry free.
So whether you’re just learning about the importance of avoiding toxic chemicals or you’re an ingredient label reading pro, you now know that using toxic chemicals in our homes can have long term health consequences for us and our families. So why risk it? Make the switch to safe products today. It doesn’t have to be hard, I promise.
I’d love to answer your questions so be sure to drop them in the comments below! Also for more great tips and product details, check out my facebook page www.facebook.com/sparklewithgrace1 or join my online community at community.sparklewithgrace.com. Let’s keep the conversations going!