As we look forward to the year ahead here at MADE SAFE, we’re going beyond resolutions by kicking off a year-long revolt against the toxic consumer products that are in our homes.
We’re calling it a New Year’s Revolution.
The goal? To transform our homes into healthier living spaces one step at a time throughout the year by systematically exchanging harmful products for healthier ones.
Each month, we’ll tackle a new area of your home by bringing you a step-by-step guide to making the swaps, healthier alternatives including MADE SAFE certified options, and tips and tricks to make it all happen.
It is only fitting that the first step to having a “cleaner” home is to “clean up” the very products we use to keep things tidy in our homes. Happy cleaning!
JANUARY: Cleaning Products
Our challenge for January is to swap conventional cleaners for more human and earth-friendly options.
Why care about switching to nontoxic cleaners for your home? The products that we use to clean our home touch all the surfaces that touch our lives. We spray the counters on which we prepare our food, we clean the floors on which our pets and children play, and we wash the bedding in which our families sleep. These products get up close and personal with our lives, so it is worthwhile to know exactly what you are inviting into your home with your choice of a cleaning product.
Getting to know your cleaning products can be especially difficult these days because cleaning products are not required by the EPA to disclose their ingredients (products sold in some states like California do require ingredient disclosure). Read the labels, then think of all those listed (and hidden) ingredients washing down the drain into your local watershed. You’ll probably want to revolt!
Though we may not always know every single ingredient found in conventional cleaning products from reading a label, we do know that many conventional cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful to human and/or animal life such as 1,4 dioxane, polyethylene glycol compounds (PEGs), and secret fragrance formulas, which often shelter hidden substances like phthalates and musks like galaxolide, a pervasive synthetic musk linked to endocrine system toxicity. These chemicals have been associated with many deleterious effects including hormone disruption, reproductive problems, cancer, respiratory problems, and allergies.
In addition to these concerns, many conventional cleaning products contain disinfectants and antiseptics, which have been found to encourage the mutation and proliferation of resistant bacteria called “superbugs” when we overuse them in our environment.
Long story short: conventional cleaning products may do more harm than good for humans and their homes.
The solution? Ditch the toxic products and welcome some safer alternatives into your home. Here’s how:
How to Cut Conventional Cleaners
1. Create the right mindset
First, be confident that the adjustment will be worth it. It may be difficult to part with the familiar scents and colors of some of the conventional products you have formerly used, but your health is worth it. Remind yourself from the outset that healthier cleaning products may not look like the conventional cleaners you are tossing, but you will soon find that they will yield the same results without the negative side effects. Have confidence that the difficulty of adjusting to new products is worth the effort!
2. Take inventory of your current cleaning products
Dispose of products without complete ingredient lists (like those that use vague terms like “fragrance” or “surfactants”) or contain any ingredients of concern, such as the ones listed above. For any ingredient listed that you are not familiar with, check out the MADE SAFE Hazard List, a compilation of the worst toxic offenders. For more tips on spotting harmful ingredients on product labels, check out Branch Basics’ guide.
3. Dispose of unwanted cleaning products safely
Some conventional cleaning products are considered hazardous and so can’t be disposed of in typical ways like the garbage or down the drain. Consult your municipality to learn how to dispose of hazardous waste safely in your area. You can also check outline resources like Earth 911’s recycling search.
4. Replace with safer cleaning options!
Replace your cleaning products by purchasing safe cleaning products or by making your own.
While we have been led to believe, for the sake of advertising, that we need a different product for every cleaning task, this is actually not the case. More often than not, a simple all-purpose cleaning solution can get the job done in a variety of messes. You may be surprised to find that you only need one multipurpose cleaner to replace your many former products.
Whether you are looking to purchase a multi-purpose cleaner or hoping to make your own, you will be pleased to find how versatile they can be in tackling everything from your bathroom sink to your kitchen floors!
Household Cleaning & Laundry Product Recommendations
MADE SAFE Certified Household Cleaning Products
- Concentrate – A highly versatile concentrate that can be diluted and used for everything from your windows to your dishes, floors, bathrooms, and even your veggies.
- Bamboo Cleaning Wipes – Cleaning wipes that can be used for a variety of purposes. Great for on-the-go!
- All-Purpose Home Cleaner – A one stop-solution from counters and sinks to tubs and toilets.
- Gentle Home Cleaning Scrub – When you need to add a little boost to your cleaning regime, this scrub works great on tubs, tiles, stovetops and more.
- Oxygen Brightener – A natural bleach alternative for laundry or home cleaning tasks that could use some oomph.
- Dish Soap Bar for Hand Washing – A plastic-free, zero-waste soap for hand washing dishes.
MADE SAFE Certified Laundry Products
- Concentrate – The Branch Basics concentrate is so versatile that it can be used for laundry too!
- Laundry Powder – This laundry powder comes in unscented, lemon and peppermint and will WOW you with how little you need to get clothes clean. Plus, these products are almost entirely plastic-free – just the scoop (purchased only once) is made of plastic.
- Soap Stick for Stain Removal – This thing really works! Who knew simple ingredients could be so powerful?
- Oxygen Brightener — Need a little extra brightening kick? Toss Meliora’s Oxygen Brightener in with your load.
Pure Natural Cleaners
- Natural Laundry Detergent – An unscented, liquid detergent crafted from eco-friendly soapberries.
- Pure Baby Natural Laundry Detergent – Perfect for baby. Gentle on baby’s skin, tough on baby-strength messes!
- Wool Dryer Balls – Swap out your dryer sheets for this healthier and more eco-friendly alternative.
DIY Cleaning Product Recipes
There are so many possibilities when working with essential oils as they have a diverse array of uses! A few great essential oils to get started with for cleaning are lemon, tea tree oil, and lavender oil.*
Bonus: If making your own cleaning products, minimize your plastic consumption by looking for glass bottles/containers! Or re-use empty bottles you already have on hand.
MADE SAFE® Certified Essential Oils for DIY
- Buhbli Organics Essential Oils
- Radiance by CVS Essential Oils
* Remember to avoid any essential oils you are sensitive or allergic to. Always dilute essential oils properly.