Detoxify Your Life Series, Part III: Safe Cleaning Products

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The choices you make when cleaning your home can either leave you in a swimming pool of carcinogenic chemicals or instead, natural and more importantly, safe (usually) plant extracts (but I’ll discuss other safe options as well). Using safe cleaning products is really that simple and it really is one or the other. Since you usually can’t see any evidence of residue after your cleaning products have dried and you hopefully at least end up with a cleaner object than what you started with, it’s easy to let yourself think that these things don’t hang around after you’ve used them. But they do. In every inch of your house, with every ingredient, good or bad, that they contain. On that note, my definition of clean goes beyond “shiny” now. I’m not exactly sure how to put it but “not chemical-laden” would be a good start. When I see my kid crawling around on the floor and putting everything into his mouth that will fit, I feel a lot better knowing that he’s taking in something like vinegar and a few other God-given ingredients, rather than bleach or other man made perversions of nature.

I’ll admit I don’t do quite as much cleaning around the house as my better half (she’s better for a lot of reasons), but I know enough to hit the basics as I’ve looked into all of these things at one time or another because I know how important it is. Speaking of Teddy, she made a great video a while back for Ryder’s Facebook page on this exact subject. If you need a break from my ravings for a while and would rather see a calm, collected, beautiful woman tell you more about cleaning instead, you can watch it here. If you’re still with me, let’s get started:

Kitchen Cleaners: It’s always fun to compare, and this is a great place to start. Would you rather have the surfaces your food touches be coated with something like this best-selling kitchen cleaner: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides (C2-16), ethanolamine, propylene glycol propyl ether, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride… Or VINEGAR. Just plain vinegar does a great job folks. Works great on floors as well. We get a big jug of organic distilled white vinegar for a lot of our cleaning needs and call it a day. If you want to feel like you’re buying something made specially for cleaning, [amazon text=Green Shield Organic All-Purpose Cleaner&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B003VYKW3M] does a great job as well. Although the ingredient list is a bit longer than the vinegar, it still sounds pretty tame to me: acetic acid, vegetable glycerin, soybean oil, citric acid, water, soapbark, malic acid, lemon extract. Again, given the choice between this list and the first one, which do you want around your kids’ food?

Dish Detergent & Soap: Do you really think EVERY chemical gets washed off of the dishes in the dishwasher or sink before your family eats off of them? With that in mind, the choice between natural or unnatural ingredients is easy! For dishwasher detergent, we typically like [amazon text=Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B00649AZEM] which scores an A on EWG.  As I’ve made sure to note several times throughout this series, the consumer guides at Environmental Working Group is the place to go for answers on what all the safest options are. Here are 25 dishwashing options that scored an A on EWG!

Dish soap is another story. Want to feel like you’re walking through a dense pine forest on a spring day? Dr. Bronner’s has you covered. They use fir needle oil in their [amazon text=Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade and Organic Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B00016QTYO] and man, is it powerful (in a good way!). I actually look forward to doing the dishes using this stuff, and it gets an A rating on EWG!

Bathroom Cleaners: For such a small little room, it’s amazing how many different products they come up with to clean your bathroom… All with their own toxic mix of ingredients. We’ve been using [amazon text=biokleen brand&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B002K627V2] for the whole bathroom. I always thought it was neat that it uses enzymes to break down unwanted substances instead of harsh chemicals. I see now that it get a B rating on EWG. Not bad but we’ll definitely have to check out one of the A rated brands like [amazon text=GreenShield&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B007W6HDNW]. Seventh Generation makes an A rated [amazon text=toilet bowl cleaner&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B000V212VS] but watch out because their bathroom cleaner scored a D!

Carpet Cleaners: When we first moved into the house we’re currently renting, the carpets were pretty dirty from previous dogs and just general ware and tare. Since we were already getting a substantial discount on the rent, we didn’t make a fuss about it. We bought a [amazon text=decent carpet shampooer&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B00AZBIMFY] and a case of [amazon text=Earth Friendly Products Carpet Shampoo&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B00PBGP1U2] (A rating on EWG) and went to town. Teddy probably went over the carpet a good ten times. If you’ve ever cleaned a carpet before, you know those machines don’t come even close to sucking back up all of the solution and if that had been one of those conventional carpet shampoos, our house would be a biohazard to this day. We continue to use the natural stuff from time to time to keep the place clean and know we’re doing so without the use of harsh chemicals. Not to mention, it works GREAT.

The Sargent Steam: I would be remiss if I did not mention the Sargent Steam… Bottom line, because it’s awesome. I’ll say first and foremost, that if you’re in the midst of fighting cancer and are scraping every last penny together to afford the hospital bills and all of your natural treatments and supplements like we are, your money may be better spent elsewhere as it is a big investment. But if you are in the market for this sort of thing, it basically does all the jobs I mentioned above in a fraction of the time using vapor steam from plain water. It blasts anything you want it to with 300 degree steam at 50 pounds of pressure and basically vaporizes anything that isn’t a solid object. We often were pumping juice and supplements down Ryder’s feeding tube in the car with quite a few mishaps along the way that after a while left the ceiling looking like the scene of a horrific crime. No amount of scrubbing was getting those stains out, but after a few seconds under that steam blast, they were gone. The best part is, since it only uses water for the steam, you’re not adding any ingredients at all to the house, and since it replaces basically every cleaning product you can think of, you would start to save money over time once you had it.

Acidic Water: Early on in fighting our son’s cancer, we obtained the help of Bob Wright, a well-known alternative cancer treatment researcher and coach. His book, [amazon text=Killing Cancer, Not People&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=0578135574], is a great first read when delving into the world of natural cancer healing. In the book, and in discussions with him, Bob talks a lot about all the good he has seen alkaline water ionizers do for cancer patients (you can also watch a video of him talking about them here). A separate article is really needed to discuss the full range of benefits, but long story short, they alkalize the body to a level which (in theory) makes it hard for cancer to survive, and provide incredible antioxidant benefits through the alkaline, ionized water they produce. A nice side benefit is that when the machine is creating super alkaline 11.5 ph water, it also creates incredibly acidic 2.5 ph water as a by-product. Most of the time, this is just considered waste water, but you can bottle it up to make an incredible cleaner and disinfectant! We throw a few drops of one of the antimibrobial essential oil blends like Spice of Life from be young to super charge the disinfectant power give it an incredible smell too (the oil does a great job on its own as well if you don’t have the ionizer).

That about does it for this episode in the series. As always, what I’ve listed here certainly aren’t the only safe ways to clean your house, just the ones we’ve found work for us. If I didn’t touch on the exact type of cleaning you’re looking to do, it’s very easy to just type “natural organic ___ cleaner” or something to that effect into a search engine or Amazon and start clicking around to see what you can find. And of course, Environmental Working Group is a great place to look up products you’ve already found or even easier, just go straight their top rated products. Let’s all keep striving to switch to safer products. Once you know there’s a choice, there’s no going back.

Be sure to read up on our safe personal care products if you haven’t already!