HOME: Living Nontoxic and Clean | Detoxifying Part 2

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Detoxifying Your Home: Living Nontoxic, Clean

Clorox, Lysol, Pine Sol… familiar names for decades. But have you ever looked into it all? Side effects? Overwhelming fragrances? Probably not, because it’s all we’ve known for so long, right? Our moms, our mom’s moms… you get it. Well, once upon a time milk was delivered to your doorstep and dairy was an essential part of your diet too right? I digress, that’s another post for another day.

If you read my first post on shifting to nontoxic, you’ve learned there is little regulation of cleaning chemicals, and virtually no labeling requirements to let people know what they are exposing themselves and the planet to. Here’s the reality: you don’t need chemicals to clean. Before you nod your head. Yes, these chemicals might make cleaning your home easier, but don’t make cleaning any better.

True “green” cleaners may require a little more elbow grease than the conventional bleach but will get the job equally done. An added bonus – they don’t stink of chemicals. Come on, you know that {cough, cough} smell that you taste and can feel in your lungs after spraying Lysol.

HOME: Living Nontoxic and Clean | Detoxifying Part 2 Sandra Jacquemin Contributor Miami Moms Blog
Unsplash, by Kelly Sikkema @kellysikkema

Breaking Down Nontoxic Comparisons

We all shop at Target, so let’s start there. You’ll find Seventh Generation Lavender Vanilla & Thyme Disinfectant Spray 13.9oz on their shelf for $5.49 (my fave scent).

You’ll also find this fancy Lysol Brand New Day Berry & Basil Disinfectant Spray 19oz for $5.79.  Indeed, it is a more familiar name, with brighter packaging that catches your eye and Lysol has 5 more ounces for a few cents more. However, the peace of mind knowing I’m not unleashing chemicals everywhere is worth the few pennies. 

Simultaneously mamas, let’s think about this: how many of you have something like Lysol Crisp Linen somewhere in your cabinets? You know, that classic blue can. What if I said it contains ingredients categorized as “high concern” for Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity. Peaks your interest right? Score: F. Maybe you’ll say you have the Citrus one or the Garden Mist or Early Morning breeze? Well, check for yourself. Moreover, does your garden really smell like what comes out of that can?

I’m not saying the Seventh Generation is perfect but they scored a B. That is a passing grade in school right? Let me ask you, moms, when you spray that mist into the air and it goes practically everywhere in your home, are you okay when your baby is sucking on that toy that was laying on the ground?

Using EWG to Guide You Going Nontoxic

When using the EWG site for comparisons and research there are several tools to help you. I’ll use the same example, I love Seventh Generation’s Disinfectant Spray especially with this COVID-19 outbreak and particularly glad I keep a stockpile of it. One thing a rep from the company explained to me was that it is plant-based and doesn’t need to be rinsed after use, even on food prep surfaces. It’s definitely a one-and-done product. Now, when I catch a whiff of Lysol being blasted, I cough and feel it filling my lungs. 

One of the things you’ll find on EWG’s site is that under the product you are researching it will show you a link for similar cleaners. When you click on that link, it will take you to all of the comparisons and their scores A through F. You can simply click on the “A” rated products and go from there. Alternatively, you’ll find for example they list Seventh Generation’s Disinfecting Wipes as an option (which I also love by the way, and also stockpile). Just search any term: toilet cleaner, laundry detergent, etc. Rate from best to worst and voila! 

HOME: Living Nontoxic and Clean | Detoxifying Part 2 Sandra Jacquemin Contributor Miami Moms Blog
EWG Verified Scores and Alternatives
 

Try something popular like Cheer detergent and well, here, scores range from D to F. I know, but the bottle says “clean, free and gentle.” Well, look a little closer. A simple liquid to clean your clothes has ingredient concerns including cancer, developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects, respiratory,  nervous system, vision, damage to organs… that’s just two ingredients. That doubles those concerns. 

Play on words

Particularly, I find it a bit disturbing when reading the descriptions of some of these products, the words can be tricky making you think they’re nontoxic. For example, Lysol includes on Target’s site: “Lysol disinfecting spray helps protect your family and helps keep them healthy.”  Well yes, you are essentially killing 99.9% of germs in my home, but you’re also killing me slowly with some other chemical that got on my apples. Below are the descriptions from Target, side by side, you be the judge.

LYSOL

  • Lysol disinfecting spray provides germ protection and can kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria on hard surfaces
  • This spray eliminates odors and kills 99.9% of mildew, mold, viruses on most household surfaces
  • Sanitizes soft surfaces and deodorizes the air
  • Lysol disinfecting spray helps protect your family and helps keep them healthy
  • Deodorizes with a specially crafted, uplifting fragrance

Seventh Generation

  • Seventh Generation Lavender Vanilla and Thyme Disinfectant Spray kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses* (This includes cold and flu viruses*)
  • As with all safe cleaning products, no rinse is required after using it, even on food contact surfaces and children’s toys
  • This cleaner eliminates odors produced by odor-causing bacteria
  • Non-flammable. Disinfectant spray powered by compressed air
  • Botanical disinfectant cleaner with the active ingredient Thymol (a component of Thyme Oil)
HOME: Living Nontoxic and Clean | Detoxifying Part 2 Sandra Jacquemin Contributor Miami Moms Blog
nontoxic cleaners

Here are some of my nontoxic faves to start with:

  • The first time I Googled Aunt Fannie’s cleaning vinegar I thought ‘now I’ve lost it.’ But I have since fallen in love with their line of nontoxic products. They’re vinegar-based and the best part, they don’t smell like vinegar. I keep their cleaning wipes in each bathroom. Also noteworthy: their floor cleaner. How many of your moms told you to use vinegar to clean? But I loathe the smell (sorry Mom). Bonus: Aunt Fannie’s doesn’t stink, it lasts forever, a few tablespoons mixed with water go a long way, the scent is delicious and it cleans your home without chemicals. So crawl away baby!
  • Method Glass Cleaner. If the minty smell of this one doesn’t get you, the power of it will. I haven’t used Windex in so long, I forgot what it smelled like. Recently, we were shopping and an employee was wiping down windows with Windex, I immediately tasted it in my lungs and thought ‘I don’t miss this at all.’
  • If you have a lot of wood furniture, remember that Pledge we all swore by? That “fresh lemon scent?” Well, it scores a D and has “high concern” linked to cancer. ECOS has a great alternative that scores an A. The Earth Friendly Furniture Polish + Cleaner with orange scent is a great option. 
  • Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes and spray. I use these everywhere and they pass the nontoxic test. I personally love the Lavender Vanilla & Thyme or the Eucalyptus, Spearmint & Thyme, especially during cold season. 
  • Make your own! Essential oils are a great D-I-Y alternative for nontoxic cleaning products to disinfect and clean. A little white vinegar + lemon juice + baking soda + oils go a long way and you can select your own scents, even let your kiddos pick their faves. Bonus: you can also make your own reed diffusers instead of candles. Safer and nontoxic. Yes, some of those lovely expensive candles do release toxins.  *Essential Oils deserve their own post! Good for practically EVERYTHING, from home to body lotions.
  • Finally one more I swear by is Cold Iron Mojito Citrus Mint Wrinkle Releaser. I get the bundle which includes a travel size. I always kept Downy Wrinkle Releaser around for those quickies, you know. But I was disappointed to find it had a D-rating. The Mojito spray not only works amazingly, but it is also plant-based and has a minty fresh smell. It’s a delicious way to straighten out your sheets and give them that “just pressed” feel. I use it every morning, I love a fresh bed to crawl into.

If I hope for anything with these posts, it is to juggle your mind. Do your own research. Excited to hear about what swaps you make at home. Let’s connect on Instagram (@heysanderella). Next up: beauty products.

 

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Sandra is originally born and raised in Miami, fluent in 4 languages and attributes her upbringing as more Brazilian-French. After graduating high school from Gulliver Prep, she pursued a degree in Elementary Education followed by earning a Bachelors in Marketing and International Business. While finishing up university, she opened her boutique marketing agency working with a roster of recognized global brands. Sandra and her husband, a former U.S. Marine, are first-time parents to their son Marcelo Joseph whose middle name pays homage to Sandra's late father who passed just 3 months before they met. They’re also pet rescue parents to their adopted chihuahua with her own Instagram. Her affinity for Disney started when her Mom took her at only 7 days old. Coming around full circle, she has not only worked with the company behind-the-scenes, but they are loyal Disney Passholders. Today, they reside in Pinecrest and are enjoying discovering life as new parents. Look for her posts sharing her love of decluttering, transitioning to non-toxic products, the journey to becoming vegan, starting a small business and so much more! Follow her on Instagram

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