For years now something that has been important to me is trying to cut out unnecessary chemicals and products from our house. It hasn’t really been a big priority, though, and that paired with the fact that it’s hard to know what is truly safe has meant that we’ve never gotten around to making any big changes.
However, finding out I was pregnant must have set off some sort of shift in me because this year I’ve been thinking more seriously about making the change in some of our products and (very) slowly actually following through with it. I know that a lot of people are interested in making these kinds of changes in their homes, so I wanted to chat a little bit more about why we’ve been making the switch and how exactly we’re going about it.
A little bit more on the why
Let me begin here by saying we’re not a super crunchy family by any means. I’m absolutely a hippy at heart, but I also see that “natural” and “organic” things and food are often marked up compared to the normal brands most families pull off the shelves. That’s a big reason we’ve never made a major shift in what we buy. I’ll also say that there are a lot of terms that are thrown around, like “hormone disrupter”, when it comes to why people should ditch the popular brands that I’ve rolled my eyes at and never bothered to research. We’re mindful, but not quite that well read on these things.
However, like I said, finding out I was pregnant with Emma was the final straw that made me want to start switching some of our products around the house. Let’s be honest: being a first time parent comes with enough stresses and worries (“IS SHE STILL BREATHING?!” is an actual thought I have often), so worrying about the products we’re using to clean and then her coming in contact with them was not something I wanted to add to my ever-growing list of concerns.
If you think I’m crazy, just consider this: when you’re cleaning your kitchen counter, what products do you use? Do you read the instructions before using it and follow them? A good example of this is the Lysol Kitchen Cleaner.. yes, you can use it on your counter, but you’re supposed to then follow it with water if food comes in contact with your counter. Um, yes, food comes in contact with our counter, and I never knew that you were supposed to do that. And don’t get me started about trying to clean my bathroom without passing out due to the chemicals in bathroom cleaners.
Sooo… I decided to start exploring switching out products around our home.
How we started switching to natural products
So first up, I naturally decided to grab some natural brands from Target. I went with an all purpose cleaner from the Honest Co. and hand soaps from Mrs. Meyers. I’ll be honest, I would have probably eventually filled my house with these two brands, but as I mentioned at the beginning of my post, the trouble with “natural” brands is that you still don’t really know how safe these products are.
In fact, Forbes wrote a great piece about this exact thing when it comes to the Honest Co. products a few years ago and this quote stands out like crazy:
Consumers often think that the government sets ingredient standards for “natural” products and requires tests to ensure that items meet those standards, but “none of that is true,” says Ken Cook, co-founder and president of Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington, DC nonprofit that specializes in research and advocacy regarding toxic chemicals, corporate accountability, and other environmental issues.
After reading that, then you’re faced with an even tougher decision, do I really trust the natural products that I’m pulling from the store shelves? You may say yes, but when a supposedly respectable “natural” brand is still using toxic ingredients, well you just can’t ignore that.
So, what did we do?
Well, I still have those products sitting around the house being used slowly but surely, and I have a variety of other “natural” products (like a whole entire line of Babyganics products I’m honestly unsure about), but we decided to start small with our transition and went with our cleaning and laundry products to swap out first.
As you can see in the photo above, we’ve started swapping our household cleaner to the Young Living Thieves cleaner. So far, I have absolutely loved this cleaner and have even felt comfortable using it to clean Emma’s bathtub. While the cleaner still has ingredients that I’ll never be able to pronounce and thus spent time googling, I’m a lot more comfortable using it to clean than I am using things like Lysol or Bleach. Even better, I love that it’s a ton more affordable than those cleaners anyway. For the regular ol’ cleaner you literally use a capful (yep, that tiny little cap) of the cleaner concentrate and fill up your spray bottle the rest of the way with water and off you go. There are a variety of other recipes for the cleaner depending on what you want to use it for, but I swear the bottle of concentrate I bought recently could easily last us 6 months at least.
In addition to switching our household cleaners to using Thieves, we’re also in the process of transitioning away from dryer sheets to using wool balls instead. I knew of these, but it wasn’t until Brittany posted about using them with essential oils recently that I realized that would be a great alternative. She shared that she uses 3 drops per ball and gets a few loads out of that oil before using another one. Even better? You can use the dryer balls for a long time before having to replace them!
I know that there are a ton of people promoting essential oils and there are a lot of different oils out there, but if you interested in signing up to try out the Thieves cleaner or get an oil for your dryer balls so you can try out natural household products, you can sign up under me here and order your starter kit (as seen above) or feel free to email me and I can help get you some oils or samples!