Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

I want to do everything I can to create a healthy and happy home for my family. I know you do, too. We can’t control everything, obviously, but we do have the freedom to make choices about what products come into our home. Just like the tile we choose or the color of our cabinets, little things matter to how we feel in our home.

Yesterday I shared potentially hidden toxins in everyday products many of us may have under our sinks and in our cabinets. As I mentioned, I use the Think Dirty app and EWG.org as a starting point for researching because they are easy to access and share lots of information. Both have their faults and likely don’t get everything right. They don’t always rate products in the same way, so each of the apps may miss or mislead in important information about certain ingredients. They may not address the unknown risks of combinations of toxins, or break down how these risks may apply or not apply our situation. Nevertheless, I find the information interesting.

But here’s an important take away. Don’t get stuck worrying about how you’d ever study enough or ever be able to understand each ingredient in your products. Don’t start fearing all products! On the other end of the spectrum for some folks, even if you don’t think toxins are worth worrying about, at least be sensitive to those want or need to know the truth about what they bring into their homes.

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

The bottom line for me is I just want to focus on simple and positive changes can I make in my own home, right now, with the information I have.

I am not likely going to change the world today, or ever know how to fix every problem, but I can give a little more thought to what I want to spray on my countertops or put on my face. Keep things simple.

You know me, I always try to tell you what products I use and how I come to conclusions about any changes I make in my home. I offer my opinion in case it helps you narrow options or interests you to know, but not everything I have will work for you or even be right for you. Information we learn about products can change in time too, too, so that’s why I recommend learning how to research and keep up with current studies so you can make the best possible choices for your family. Consult professionals where appropriate, whether that be an electricians or a physician!

Here is a quick list of possible ingredients/chemicals to research if you are interested (this isn’t to scare anyone, this is just intended to be helpful for those who want to learn) :

  • parabens
  • fragrance (phthalates)
  • dyes
  • phosphates
  • triclosan
  • ammonia
  • sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate
  • flame retardants

Whether a toxic chemical in a product poses a real and known risk, or an unlikely one, the bottom line for our family is we don’t feel the NEED to use harsh products in our home. We can make changes over time. It’s really that simple. 

We don’t need to be lathering them on our body as lotions, breathing them in our air for scents, or using them to clean our home. We personally feel there are better alternatives we can use in our home. Do we still have questionable or unstudied products in our house? Yep, but we are working our way through our home, evaluating what is beneficial and working on making better choices going forward.

What better choices might be for your family obviously won’t need to mirror the ones we made in our home. But I would love to learn from your experience, too! I think most of us can probably agree that simplifying the consumption of unnecessary chemicals and redefining our definition of what is actually clean isn’t a bad idea, though.

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

Check out the DIY shower spray we posted here and some other DIY ideas, below.

Today I will share a few simple changes we’ve made in our own home.

Even though it is sometimes hard to know who or what to trust when it comes to products, a product our own family would feel safest with would be as close to its “natural state” as possible, like a plant or one derived from a healthy plant.

And then because we don’t often grow plants to make products ourselves, we’d want to purchase from a company if we trust their commitment to quality. We would more likely trust a company when we know they use responsible methods for farming and processes.

Responsible farming doesn’t always mean you will see an “organic label” on a product. It’s about the actual organic soil the plants grew in, the process by which a farmer grows their plants and the commitment a company has to protecting the quality and purity of their products.

Yes, that all takes a little research to figure it all out, but for our family I find any effort is worth it for the confidence we can have in trusting the products going forward.

I think even if we can take a small step in a healthier home, it’s better than never taking a step towards wellness at all. Moderation and common sense are good steps and guidelines, too.

Below you’ll find just a few of the actual products we use in our home these days. Again, this is just what we use. You may have other products that serve your family well and these may not be right for you. The important thing is that we do have a choice when it comes to what is in our products.

All products may not be perfect, but some are clearly better than others. Baby steps are better than no steps at all!

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

SIMPLE WAYS TO USE DR. BRONNER’S SOAP:

If you are a DIY’er or want to be one, you can start with a couple of base cleaning products and combine them in different ways for your family.

We like unscented Dr. Bronner’s soap, which can be ordered in many stores or online here. It’s a great base product on its own (it comes in scented options as well!).

Dr. Bronner’s castile soap can be used many ways, including a:

fruit/vegetable rinse
bath soap
hand soap
shaving cream
makeup brush cleaner

Shop sources for glass spray bottles and more with the scrolling bars below:

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

DIY NON-TOXIC CLEANING WITH BAKING SODA:

  • Clean your sink with the leftover half of a lemon (or slice of lemon), with a sprinkle of baking soda.
  • Simply sprinkle your sink with baking soda and scrub with warm water and a wet rag
  • Clean your sink drain by pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, and then 1/2 cup vinegar. After it fizzes, pour 6 cups hot water down the drain.
  • Make a toilet bowl cleaner with 1/4 cup baking soda + 1 cup vinegar
  • Make an all-purpose cleaner with 1/2 cup vinegar + 1/4 cup baking soda + 1/2 gallon water

What could be easier than cleaning with baking soda? It’s not fancy, but you can jazz up the scent with a drop of your favorite essential oil.

ESSENTIAL OILS

You can even get creative with your DIY or simple household products by incorporating various plant-based scents from pure essential oils to your unscented soaps and cleaners to make them not only smell great, but have added health benefits.

Essential oils come from plants and have been used safely for thousands of years. The reason my family uses Young Living essential oils is because we have researched their farms and their commitment to quality. Their products really help–not harm–our family. I wouldn’t buy just any “essential oil” off the internet or off a gift store shelf just because it came in a cute bottle or was a cheap price. Even ones that may be marked “pure or natural” could have fillers and additives or compromised components or the plants could come from unknown sources. Just like any other product, even with “natural products” you’ve got to trust the source.

Essential oils not only offer a way to add fresh scent to cleaners, facial washes, and home diffusers, but unlike harmful chemicals found in most scented products, these plant-based oils actually work with the body in a natural way (not against it) to support physical and emotional wellness, our immune and endocrine systems and other systems in the body to function as they should. Essential oils are fascinating to study as well.

** You can find many of the plant-based products we use for cleaning, personal care and wellness at wholesale pricing through Young Living here. **

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

We use several Thieves Essential Oil products in our home. Thieves is a Young Living proprietary blend of clove, rosemary, cinnamon bark, lemon and eucalyptus radiata. They have several convenient products for the home that smell great, clean amazingly well, too.

I love using the dishwashing detergent.

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

A bottle of Thieves cleaner is versatile, undiluted product. You mix it with water so one bottle lasts a really long time. I no longer buy all those speciality (and often toxic) cleaning products because I find Thieves does a great job on so many tasks!

A few simple ways to use Thieves Household Cleaner:

  • Clean your countertops and sinks: Fill a spray bottle with 1 capful of Thieves cleaner and 3 1/2 cups water. Do a patch test on your counter first, just to make sure.
  • Clean the inside of your toilet: Use half a capful of Thieves Cleaner with 1/4 cup baking soda and clean with a toilet brush.
  • Clean wood and tile floors: Combine 2 capfuls of Thieves household cleaner with 1 gallon warm water. Apply evenly to floors with a damp (not wet) mop. To be safe, test a small out of the way area first.
  • Clean fabrics and rugs. I use Thieves to clean our fabrics, leather and rugs. Again, do a patch test first to make sure!

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

We used to carry those unhealthy hand sanitizers, chemical-laden “health” products and artificially scented products with us everywhere we went. Many hand sanitizers appear to actually kill good bacteria and can lower your resistance to disease. That’s the opposite of what we want.

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

Now we bring along plant-based products, like Thieves hand purifiers and sprays and we make our own wellness and body scents in glass roller bottles. It’s pretty fun to make your own roller blends with actual plant-based scents (we share some of our blend ideas on our Pure & Lovely Instagram or with the hashtag #pureandlovelyrollers).

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

My girls like to use coconut oil and jojoba oil for face lotion. We use coconut oil as eye makeup remover. I personally use Young Living face cleansers and moisturizers; you can find the ones I use here.

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

No more artificially scented or toxic dryer sheets or yucky products on our clothes. We use Thieves laundry detergent, and we often use these reusable wool dryer balls from Amazon with a few drops of Young Living essential oils to make our laundry truly clean and fresh.

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

Don’t even get me started on toothpaste or what goes on our lips! I LOVE the Young Living lip balms, the grapefruit one is my all-time favorite.

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

As far as scenting our home, we almost exclusively use our diffusers now as opposed to candles. We love that we are scenting our home while also receiving health benefits, rather than breathing in who knows what. When we do use candles however, we try to choose ones that are made with 100% soy or beeswax with a cotton wick (no paraffin), like this candle we have for example. We also make easy DIY room sprays which I shared an example of here.

Simple Changes For A Cleaner Home - The Inspired Room

As a reminder, what we EAT and the food we bring into our home is very important to us too which I shared here.

I’ll have more products, DIY cleaning recipes and tips to share in future posts!

You can find many of the plant-based products we use for cleaning, personal care and wellness at wholesale pricing here.

Follow our wellness Instagram here!

PS. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to cleaning your home, my so-smart friend Becky (Clean Mama) just released a brand new book called “Simply Clean.” It will offer you lots of guidance and tasks to help get your home clean and beautiful. You can find her book here! I also love the microfiber cloths from her home line; they are wonderful for dusting, cleaning stainless steel, mirrors, windows, etc. without needing a product!

The Toxic Secret Hiding in Your “Clean” Home

Happy first week of April, lovelies! This time of year I feel like my home needs a good “spring cleaning.” I want everything to sparkle and shine and smell fresh. When the sun is out, suddenly the windows look cloudy, the surfaces feel more dusty, everything clearly needs to be wiped off.

Unfortunately, in my quest for everything to feel spring fresh and clean, I have uncovered some very dirty and even dangerous secrets.

Trust me, the word dangerous isn’t just for shock value or click bait. This is for real. This won’t be a short post or even a pretty one, but it will have some of the most important “home improvement” info I’ve ever shared here on the blog. It hits close to home for all of us.

You know I always feel better about life when my house feels clean. I know you feel better with a clean house, too. Our house has never been perfect and I don’t think anyone who knows me would consider me a total clean freak. I’m scatterbrained and sometimes messy. But I definitely feel a psychological boost walking into a kitchen or bathroom when things look, feel and smell clean.

Trying to at least have a “clean enough” home has been something I felt was worth investing in not only for my own state of mind (you know everything is better when mama’s happy…) but for the overall well-being of our family.  It felt good to know I was keeping our family safe from substances and germs that could harm them, providing them sparkling clean dishes to eat off of and fresh clean clothes to wear.

I see myself and my husband as the “gatekeepers” of our home, as we are both eager to do whatever we can to make sure anything that enters our home is safe and healthy for our family.

But much to my horror, even though we really have tried to buy safe products, I’ve been uncovering some horrible, disgusting and yes, truly dangerous things lurking in my home.

See my next post with simple changes for a cleaner home!

I’ve discovered that products I invited in to my home because I thought they were helping our family (or at least just smelled good) may have been actually causing us harm. Products I just assumed were safe actually contain toxinsknown carcinogens (!), endocrine and reproductive disrupters, allergens and more.  

Over the last couple of years I decided to look into the products we were using. The more I researched, I’ve been crushed to discover more and more dangers in our home. Believe me, I’m not a fear-monger type, but this stuff really inspires me to take responsible action (and leads to me telling everyone what is potentially lurking under their sink, gah!)

Just like when my son was a baby and I had to figure out all the fancy names for “milk” and check for artificial colors and preservatives in food ingredient lists (I wrote about that in my healthy home post), I realized awhile back that I needed to take our health safety even further and really question the products we had in our home.

Fortunately technology is making it easier for us as consumers to learn what toxic chemicals are potentially in our products and the research on what those chemicals could mean to our health. This knowledge should make you mad, for sure, but the good side is it can help us all to take action.

The “Think Dirty” app you can add to your phone is one of the sources that has been so eye-opening to our family over the past year when it comes to learning more about our home and personal care products. Note that this post is not sponsored by the app, it’s just one of the resources I’ve personally used for at least a year.

On the app you can scan or search many common household products to find out the chemicals and ingredients used, learn which chemicals are potentially harmful to you and why (a 1-10 overall “dirty rating” is given, ten is the worst, broken into three categories, carcinogenicity, developmental & reproductive toxicity and allergies & immunotoxicities), and there are links to research articles and findings that support the rating.

It’s interesting to research this type of information, even for me as a non-medical non-scientific person. :) Keep this in mind, I’m not a doctor stating scientific facts or prescribing any sort of panic, I’m just a mom who cares about her family and home.

Let me show you the “Think Dirty” ratings on a few of the products I had at one time (or a long period of time) in my supposedly “clean” house. Even if these brands have explanations for their poor ratings, the results are eye-opening and motivated me to question what we brought into our home.

This is the baby shampoo I trusted to clean my kids’ hair. I PUT THIS ON MY BABIES’ HAIR! So there are carcinogens and developmental toxicity in a baby shampoo? Why? I truly don’t understand this.

We put baby powder in baby diapers so they’d be clean and fresh. This is a product marketed to moms with babies.

This is the face cleanser I thought was safe and gentle enough to put on my skin every day for years. Our doctor recommended it to me for my girls who had sensitive skin.

This was one of the deodorants in our bathroom years ago.

Refill your hand soap dispensers with….what on earth? WHY is this even OK.

This soap says its 99.94% pure clean and harmless so we have stacks of it in our house right now, but, OH MY GOSH! Developmental and reproductive toxicity doesn’t sound clean to me.

This is one of the shampoos we were lathering up on our HEADS while singing in the shower! Yikes? This doesn’t make me happy one bit.

Goodness, we squeezed this soap ON OUR DISHES to get them nice and clean. WE PUT THIS ON THE DISHES THAT WE PUT OUR FOOD ON! I feel no joy in this at all.

I lit candles and spritzed synthetic sprays around our home to make the air in our house smell good. I am a sucker for yummy smelling products and words that sound refreshing like “spring” and “renewal” and “air.”

When you see the word “fragrance” listed on a product, the company isn’t required by law to disclose what ingredients are used to produce that fragrance. Many fragrances actually contain “phthalates” and preservatives which are harmful, but each substance doesn’t have to be listed individually on the label. As I understand it, the word “fragrance” could include toxic chemicals that don’t have to be specifically identified other than “fragrance”.

Even if a label says a product is “natural” it doesn’t necessarily mean it is all good. We would need to investigate further the practices and policies of the company and know the exact chemicals they used to know what “natural” means on the label.

I’ve been working on creating a healthier environment for my kids since they were little (as I shared in my health story). We weren’t as “crunchy” or as diligent in label reading as we should have been, I can see that now, but we tried to be careful when we knew of and believed in the dangers.

I’m so relieved that we were as conscientious as we were considering where we could have gone wrong, but it does make me feel sick that we were still so unaware of many potential dangers under our own roof. For everything we knew and did right, so many other things didn’t even cross our mind! I’m sure you feel the same way.

But every year I try to learn more. And every year I’m more appalled at what is sold to us, mad at what is swept under the rug, and frustrated by what I didn’t know or change in our home as quickly as I should have.

These products were not just in our house, but quite possibly in yours, too. It’s hard to process that even while trying to be the best mamas and home-makers we could be, we may have been unknowingly bringing such harmful products into our own home.

Over time, those toxins build up in our homes and in our bodies, potentially causing cancers, diseases and conditions.

So believe me, at our house the entire meaning of a clean home is being turned upside down.

It literally makes me sick to even think about how many toxins could be in our home even now. It’s not pleasant to talk about, but it’s too important to our family and to anyone who cleans or beautifies their home, bodies, hair, dishes or babies to just “sweep these toxic secrets under the rug”.

We can’t pretend this isn’t real, it is real. 

Those dangers have been right under our noses, brought into our kitchens, placed under our bathroom sinks, sprayed on our counters, used on our dishes, gently wiped onto our babies skin, put in and on our bodies, on our clothes, in our hair.

People are literally getting sick in their own homes due to toxins in the products they use to clean and beautify all the things.

I feel terrible when I think about what I didn’t know or  “should have known” or ” should have done.”

But guilt doesn’t change the past, does it? And there are no guarantees of perfect health, even if we got it all right.

So we need to let go of those regrets and not live in fear or panic; those things don’t serve anyone well. This knowledge should propel us to make changes as we go and commit to learning all we can about moving forward with wellness. I know there are many other things that will likely need to change in time, but we have to start somewhere. Anywhere is better than not at all.

We need to get back to what God intended for our wellness. Our bodies are amazing at healing when we give them what they need to be well. Good healthy food from organic farms, plenty of clean water, exercise, and plant-based products, not toxic chemicals, will promote wellness.

But it’s true, any of us can KNOW or believe something isn’t right and still not take steps to change it.

Some people still roll their eyes when “wellness” conversations come up, and then will go right back to spraying chemicals on their bodies and dishes and inhaling them every single day as though they don’t want to believe the risk! Ack!

You can research these toxins and risks yourself.

It’s hard to unsee or not take action once you have that kind of knowledge.

In my home, we are redefining what a truly clean home means. Our home may sparkle. It may shine. It may smell good, but it won’t be because we fake cleaned it with chemical toxins.

So what do we use? We use plant-based methods to clean, truly clean, our home. Plant-based cleaners not only clean your house well, but they contribute to wellness and a better quality of life for your family.

It’s NOT hard to get rid of all the junk under the sink. Yes, we spent hard-earned money on those carcinogens. It’s true, we invested funds in those hormone disrupters and reproductive and developmental toxicities.

This is one time we definitely don’t need to get our money’s worth before we replace products. Toss those toxins out and never look back.

It’s not too expensive or time consuming to be healthy, it’s actually way more expensive and time consuming to be sick! We absolutely have to redefine clean. It’s not what we’ve been told; it’s not what we might have believed. Clean is healthy. Clean is safe.  

Tomorrow I’ll share some of the changes we’ve made in our home. I’ll offer some great DIY recipes and specific ways we’ve replaced harsh chemical products for a healthier home.

If you are ready to ditch those toxic chemicals immediately and don’t want to wait, I don’t blame you. I applaud you for taking action. I’m happy to encourage you in this journey and give you some tips and product ideas so you can truly clean your home for good.

Here is a link to some wonderful and effective plant-based products my family has trusted and used for the past three years, plus find out about my private Facebook community and how to learn more through wonderful educational groups.

This journey to a healthier home will be eye-opening and inspiring!

See you here tomorrow for helpful tips on really cleaning your home.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and nothing written in this article should be taken as a scientific fact, a prescription or as medical advice. This information reflects my personal observation and experience.

**Click here for simple changes you can make for a cleaner home!**

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