Monday, September 17, 2007

A Healthier Home Part III - Cleaning Products

If I wanted to have a healthier home I knew I needed to reevaluate my cleaning products. I was certain that the products I was using were toxic and dangerous. And even if I did store them out of reach of my children, how was I to know what harm they were causing just by using them in my home? It was, and still is, an ongoing process, as I look for the best and the most affordable products. There are so many natural, non-toxic cleaning products out there, but many of them are expensive. I've had to try to find the right balance for our budget.

A product I've been using for a long time is Simple Green. I like how versatile it is, and that I can buy it in bulk and make up a spray bottle of it as needed. A more expensive product that I've tried is Seventh Generation's all purpose cleaner. When I first started using it I wondered if it was really doing anything because it didn't have a very "clean" scent like I was used to with the old products. We really do associate cleanliness with a strong smell (or at least I do!). I decided I'd just have to get over this association and know that if I was diligently cleaning my bathrooms once a week, even if they didn't smell like bathroom cleaner, they were still clean. This cleaner also didn't foam up and look impressive on the porcelain. If it wasn't foaming, was it truly cleaning? Yet again I knew I needed to get rid of the association. I eventually stopped using Seventh Generation because I couldn't afford it. Although looking on their website today I see they have coupons you can sign up for, so maybe I'll give them a try again!

Eventually I found Method cleaning products at Target. They were affordable and they were advertised as being non-toxic, safe around children, and safe for the environment, comprised mostly of natural ingredients you can pronounce. For this time in my life with the budget I'm on, this sounds perfect. I've been happy with Method products and feel comfortable using them while pregnant, and using them around my children.

Finally, I wanted to discuss something I think many of us don't even think about - dish detergent. I began to think about this when we moved into a house with a dishwasher and started using it on a regular basis. Every once in awhile there would be some residue from the detergent left on a plate or in a cup. I thought about the fact that we eat off of these things, so we should probably pay a little more attention to what we use to clean them. As seems to be the case with pretty much everything these days, there are plenty of alternative detergents out there that don't contain dangerous, toxic chemicals. We've been using Trader Joe's automatic dishwasher detergent for several years now and it has worked well for us (we also use Trader Joe's dish soap for hand-washing). A Google search will take you to all kinds of options. One concerned mom wrote an informative article about the dangers of dish detergent (among other household products), especially where children are concerned, here.

About a year ago I hosted a Pampered Chef party and I remember the consultant saying to all of us: "Did you know that your dish detergent is the most caustic thing in your house?" I was glad to know that we were using a safe alternative already when I heard that!


CB said...

Thanks for the tip on Method. Yikes those detergent stories were scary!!!! Off to snap the lid down tightly!

Jennifer said...

I love Method products as well! I've been looking for new dishwasher detergent recently, as the dishwasher in my home doesn't seem to always rinse as well as my other dishwasher had, and I do see residue from time to time. I will have to try out the Trader Joe's brand. :)