Natural cleaning has become a passion of mine, not just for our house cleaners but also our bath & body products (that’ll be a post for another day though). I had no idea how easy it was for companies to hide toxic chemicals in their products. If I asked you to tell me what was in a cleaning product you use regularly could you? Where do you even begin? I’m sure you’re thinking “That’s easy, just check the label.” Am I right?
Sadly, you’d be wrong. I know its kinda shocking. The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 allowed thousands of chemicals to be grandfathered in & the Fair Packaging & Labeling Act allows companies to simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient. Under the FPLA companies can claim that their “fragrance” is proprietary information and so they do not have to disclose the chemicals hiding in it.
For a while I had half heartedly switched out my cleaning products, when it was convenient. It wasn’t until I learned about these scary loopholes that I became convicted about removing the junk from our house. A few of my favorites are listed below, if you want to check out your cleaners I recommend the Think Dirty app. It rates products on a scale of 1-10 based on carcinogenicity, developmental & reproductive toxicity, and allergies & immunotoxins. Some products that we look at on the shelf and think “this must be a natural product” still rate at a 7 or higher because of fragrance & other ingredients.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap. We use both the liquid & the bar soap versions of this, in a few scents. These products use basic ingredients and are usually a 0-1 for toxicity on the Think Dirty app. This is such a versatile, non-toxic option. Its great straight from a soap dispenser for hand washing dishes, scrubbing the shower. I’ve used it as laundry detergent and a stain remover. Its really kind of a jack of all trades when it comes to natural cleaning products.
Good ole’ fashioned vinegar. I feel like this cleaning staple often gets forgotten about. This is my go-to for my dishwasher rinse-aid. It also works great if you ever need to remove wallpaper. A little goes a long way with vinegar & if you’re like me you can add a few drops of essential oils to mask the pickle smell. Just make sure you are using pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. A lot of store bought oils are actually synthetic oils & can fall into that same hidden toxins category, so make sure you’re really doing your research.
Young Living’s Thieves cleaner. This is a staple in our house. It easily tackles counters, floors, showers, mirrors & windows, we seriously use this on EVERYTHING! I have even started adding a cap or two to the bleach basin when I wash my cloth diapers. When you have a large family like we do every little bit of storage you can have is like gold. Using Thieves has cleaned up our under sink storage space so it can be used for other things besides piles & piles of toxic cleaners. It is a concentrate, so it lasts for a long time, just remember to follow the dilution instructions on the bottle.
Baking soda has been used for a looooong time as a whitener and cleaner. I can still remember my Grandma telling me if I wanted white teeth to just put baking soda on my tooth brush. I can also still remember the horrible taste, haha. Whenever I need a heavy duty scrub I grab my baking soda. Most houses already have this in their pantry but have forgotten that they can use it for their cleaning too. Its so easy to make a paste with baking soda and let it sit on stubborn stuck on gunk, less scrubbing and no toxic chemicals. Win-Win!
There are other options out there that you could use as natural/old fashioned cleaners. You just have to do your research. Be intentional with the products you bring into your home, replace a little here and there or pick one of the versatile cleaners above and start teaching yourself to reach for that instead of traditional junk filled products. Y’all its not going to happen overnight, there is a learning curve. We have to re-wire our way of thinking to not just reach for what we’ve always used. Its time to adapt, its time to take back control of what we bring into our homes, its time to educate ourselves and not just buy it because it had a catchy commercial.