26 February 2014

Household Staples

I spend a lot of time talking about beauty products, but greening your household products is something I consider equally important.  Nothing made it more clear to me than the year and a half I spent working in a retail position that sometimes included hours of dusting with Windex.  [Confession: After the first little bit, I totally faked the Windex part and dusted with dry paper towels instead.]  

You probably already know that incomplete ingredient disclosure is a big pet peeve of mine and cleaning products are notoriously misleading in this regard (even those found in natural stores!)  Labelling laws are different for food, cosmetics, and household products, so I'm not even sure one can expect full disclosure in this area.  Take this 'natural, hypoallergenic' dish soap, for instance:
"Ingredients: Natural based surfactants (derived from coconut and vegetable oils), citrus oil, natural softeners made from plant fiber, water, preservative."
Maybe it's natural, maybe it's not, but we'll never know since the only ingredient they've actually identified is water.  The rest are vague and fairly meaningless.

But, the point of this post isn't to call out any specific brands or products.  Instead, I want to share some basic staples that I wouldn't want to be without.  


Starting off with a couple hard-hitting, inexpensive multi-taskers: baking soda and vinegar.  Baking soda sucks up odors, can be added to laundry, and is a gentle abrasive that can be used to scrub just about anything.  Vinegar kills germs and is great for shining things, and when diluted with water, makes a great all-purpose cleaning spray.   My most common use for these two is actually together, as a drain cleaner.  


Dr. Bronner's Soaps have minimal ingredients, but SO MANY uses.  I use them to clean my makeup brushes and to hand wash any delicates.  But that's just the tip of the iceberg here - you can also use this goody for a whole host of other purposes, including dog washing and cleaning the floor.


The Laundry Tarts are a cute Canadian company making, as the name suggest, laundry products.  The only thing I've tried from the line, thus far, is The Sweet Spot, an unscented stain remover bar that works like a charm.  I've used it to get out oil and sweat stains, as well as blood out of the dog's (white) bed, and I haven't been disappointed yet.  It's basically a bar of soap (palm oil free!) but it works better on stains than any other soap I've used.


Lastly, essential oils are great, both for boosting the scent of other other products - vinegar sprays, for instance, become much more palatable with a few drops of something yummy mixed in - and for their own properties.  Just a few drops of lemon or tea tree in water will disinfect your counters, and Young Living's Thieves blend has even been shown to kill mold spores!

How do you feel about household products?  Is using healthier options in this area as important to you as eating well and using non-toxic personal care products?

8 comments:

  1. Love love love this post! I consider detoxifying your household products (especially cleaning products) to be very important, as well. Baking soda, vinegar, and Dr. Bronner's are my go-to products. Thanks for the tip about the laundry stain remover and the essential oils. :)

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    1. Fantastic! I really think you can clean just anything with those three :)

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  2. Thanks for the great post Caitie. Does the vinegar smell retreat after cleaning?
    Could I add essential oil after cleaning the area?
    Can I clean with Dr. B?

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    1. You can definitely clean with Dr. B - everything from your dishes to your laundry, your bathroom, and more! It's incredibly multi-functional :) I find the vinegar smell is basically gone as soon as you're done cleaning. It depends how much you use though - I generally dilute it with water. You can use essential oils after or even mix them right in to the vinegar mixture :)

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  3. I love adding essential oils to vinegar based cleansers, you can make it smell exactly how you like it! Never thought of using a bar soap to remove stains, definitely worth a look into :) x

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    1. I love how essential oils make it so easy to customize almost anything! I was surprised just how well a bar soap could work on stains, but it really does an amazing job :)

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  4. What a great post! I always clean my windows with vinegar :)

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    1. Thanks! It's the best for streak-free glass, isn't it? :)

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