Nontoxic Household Cleaners + Easy Steps to Spring Clean
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With January here, it’s basically spring. No joke, we are 2ish months away! It was last January that Nick and I “Marie Kondo'“ed our apartment, and honestly it has kind of become a lifestyle. Things that I used to hold tightly too, aren’t as important anymore. I originally planned to share our “piles” from cleaning stuff out, but honestly, was too embarrassed to show them. If you haven’t read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I highly recommend it.
Anyway, with all this clearing out, it feels like spring cleaning! Even though we didn’t fully decorate for Christmas, I can agree that getting everything shiny and new again after the holidays is truly therapeutic. I switched to natural household products a yearish ago. It may seem like an easy switch, but to be honest, Nick isn’t totally on board. He loves his brand names and is often convinced that natural products don’t work as well. While he may be somewhat right, as harmful chemicals are missing, I do feel like it is worth it. I also think these products do in fact work, just may take a little longer (like letting the product set before wiping) and require extra elbow grease. Here are some of my favorite things to do to keep our 850 square foot LA apartment clean, but I also used these tactics on our 1500 square foot Dallas apartment!
1) Branch Basics. I use BB for pretty much everything! About a year ago, I purchased their starter kit + oxygen boost and haven’t looked back. They have a soap concentrate and tell you how to mix it with filtered water depending on hand soap, bathroom spray, all-purpose, streak-free, and laundry detergent. The bottles come in their starter kit, so everything you need is there!
I’ll use the all-purpose or bathroom spray on plates if I need to hand wash vs the dishwasher, and I sprinkle on their oxygen boost (stain fighter), if I’m having an issue with a pot or pan.
For laundry, I always use the detergent + oxygen boost, and treat troublesome spots ahead of time with oxygen boost and spray. Their soap is unscented, so I like to put some lavender essential oil drops on my dryer balls, for an extra, calming scent. I don’t usually apply anything to items that don’t go into the dryer.
Other posts you might like around this topic:
2) Puracy Dishwasher Pods. These are super easy and actually clean. I’ve tried to use other natural brands and they don’t get the job done / leave plates dirty.
3) Swiffer Dry Pads. We have dark wood floors (no carpet), 3 pets, 2 litter boxes, andddd Nick and I both do our fair share of shedding. Using Swiffer pads to pick up hair and dirt that oftentimes we can’t see, is game changing! It’s really easy and doesn’t have a harsh scent. They do make scented dry ones - don’t buy those. If I really need a wet one, I spray branch basics on the pad before using it.
4) Roomba / Hand Held Vacuum. Because sometimes, you need someone else to clean while you are doing other things anddd there are some places the roomba can’t reach. We purchased the iRobot Roomba 675 about 1.5 years ago and love it! For quicker fixes, especially around the litter boxes, we have this Goovi handheld vacuum that works like a charm.
5) Clean candles and diffusers. Smell is often associated with a clean house, right? The items I am recommending do not have scents, though there are some clean on the market that have essential oils! A lot of those fragrances you know and love are not great for you. Regardless, I like to have a scent too. I wrote a blog post last year about clean burning candles, because oh yeah, it’s not just the fragrance you have to watch out for on those! Right now I have Follain candles in my house, and they are great, but I drool over Goops’s candles, after listening to this podcast about them. Regarding diffusers, I really like the Serene House brand, because they are pretty, but don’t break the bank. I typically use essential oils from Now Foods to diffuse. I really like Saje, but their diffuser line is more expensive, so I typically just use their “for skin” essential oils.
6) House Shoes. This is relatively new for me, but it is something I’ve really liked implementing. I love shoes, but they are DISGUSTING with the amount of bacteria and such they bring in. I’m not sure how to get guests to realize this, but I’m working on it…starting with no shoes on the furniture requests ;) But anyway, when I’m home, I immediately change into my slippers. I have a pair of Ugg slippers that I’ve been wearing for 4 or 5 years, but I recently purchased these criss-cross slippers, so my feet could breathe a little better. I still like both! Anyway, I don’t wear these slippers out (even though they have hard soles), so I’m not bringing in any new grossness to the house. Obviously you have to clean your floors regularly for it to truky work, but it is great so far. (otherwise, you’re still stomping in your own mess. Nick even got a pair of Ugg slippers for Christmas and has been wearing them too. At the very least, wearing house shoes will keep your feet clean, so you aren’t dragging germs into your bed!
BONUS: Plants can help detoxify your home too! Here’s a list of household plants that aren’t toxic to pets.
Want to see how your cleaning products rate? I know it can be super hard to find good ones, because there is so much “green washing” these days. Meaning that companies use buzz words like “clean” to make you think that the product doesn’t contain harmful ingredients, but it actually does. The FDA doesn’t regulate this kind of verbiage, so always look at labels. If you aren’t sure, you can find out more online! I love the Environmental Working Group and they have a whole cleaning section where you can look for products or find the rating for products you currently have. You can also google something like “Mrs. Meyers EWG” - this was the first page that popped up for me! Let’s just say if you are a Mrs. Meyers fan, you might not be after reading that page. EWG rates between A and F, and MM ranks mainly between B and D, with a couple Fs in there too. Keep in mind that some brands might have an A for one product, but a C for another, so don’t just take a brand as a whole either.
Anyway, don’t feel bad if you were bamboozled by marketing. Just do better next time! The more you knowwwww. If you can’t afford to buy new now, just replace when you are finished. Any little change helps! I’m often asked HOW to begin a nontoxic lifestyle. Changing up your home cleaners and such is a great way to begin, plus it is a place you are in all the time, so it is probably one of the most important things to change! Do you have a favorite clean product that I missed? Let me know! Always looking to try new things!
Did you enjoy this post? You might like my blog post on Spring Cleaning Your Beauty Routine!
P.S.You probably don’t want to even think about it, if this post overwhelmed you with information about some of your favorite products; buuuut (pun intended), what toilet paper do you use? Most contain toxic chemicals… I use this one! It’s no Cottonelle w/ aloe vera (what i loved using before), but it works and I like knowing it is safe.
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