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These products are some of our household staples!

These products are some of our household staples!

Healthy living doesn’t just look like your fitness routine and your diet plan. There are SO many components to health, including the products you use in your home. Although easy to forget, your skin is your largest organ. Your skin absorbs the products you come into contact with and puts it into our bloodstream. It’s a powerful system and is why products like nicotine patches work so well. Just because we don’t intend for our bleach, Windex, and other cleaners to end up inside of us, doesn’t mean we are exempt from it.

However, I also understand the concern that “healthy” cleaning products don’t work as well as their conventional alternatives. It’s taken our family some time to find what works for us, but here I want to share with you our favorite products for cleaning. While we are always striving to do better, these products are our favorites right now!

General Cleaning: I have just discovered Branch Basics, a company that makes a cruelty-free, plant-based, non-toxic concentrate that can then be used to make dozens of products. You simply alter the ratio of water:concentrate depending on what you are cleaning. This one product could easily replace everything else you have in your house. It can serve as a general cleaner, glass cleaner, floor cleaner, dish soap, body wash, pet shampoo, jewelry cleaner….you name it and you can clean it with this product. It works amazing and I love that I can feel good about using it. It also replaces many other plastic containers that get thrown away if you use reusable containers to mix your concentrate with.

Laundry: we have been through it all when it comes to laundry. Soap nuts? Tried it. Organic powder? Been there. Organic locally-sourced paste detergent? Made a mess with it. We have found that liquid-based detergents serve our needs best. However, we want to use products that will not irritate our skin or use harsh chemicals. Our compromise is to use a combination of Allen’s Liquid Laundry Detergent in combination with a scoop of the Branch Basics Oxygen Boost. Combined, these products have helped to not only clean our clothes exceptionally well, but to keep the fabrics soft and protect their color. Coming from someone who has tried every other natural option out there, I can definitely say these are two of my favorite products for laundry! *I do my best to hang dry all our clothes when possible but if you enjoy using a dryer I would suggest replacing any dryer sheets with reusable dryer balls and essential oils.

Dishes: I will be switching to use Branch Basics to do my dishes soon but in the meantime I’ve been using Meyer’s dish soap. This is not a brand that I highly recommend due to its inclusion of fragrance and methylisothiazolinone. Fragrance is high on your list of ingredients to avoid because it is often used (if not always used) as a loophole to comply with FDA regulations. It began as a way to not list out all ingredients to protect product formulas from competitors but is now a way of hiding cost-effective yet highly toxic chemicals in their products. Methylisothiazolinone is a hard to pronounce synthetic biocide that is linked with lung toxicity, allergic reactions, skin irritations, and even neurotoxicity. Like I said, we’re still trying. After this product is used up, I will be switching to Branch Basics, which is free of both of these ingredients. Adding some essential oils can be a great way to give products a nice scent without the chemicals. This also goes to show that “healthy” brands are not always what they seem. Marketing is a powerful tool, so it is always best to read labels and be an informed consumer. The EWG Guide is a great tool for any beginners to help you understand the nature of different ingredients.

Lemons: Lemons are something I buy in serious abundance. I use them in smoothies, as salad dressings, or as a garnish to brighten up our dinner dishes. Instead of immediately throwing away or composting the leftover lemon wedge after I’ve squeezed out the juice, I like to clean something with it! My favorite use is to wipe down my stainless steel sink with it- it works amazing at removing any stubborn spots. You can also remove part of the peel to freshen up your garbage disposal if you have one. The other awesome kitchen hack is to use the lemon to clean your microwave- simply place two lemon halves in a bowl with 1/2 cup water and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Once the timer goes off, keep the door closed and allow the steam to work its magic for 5 more minutes. After that, you can carefully open your microwave door and wipe out the insides- all the gunk should easily come right off without the need for intense scrubbing. Lastly, if you want to clean off any spots on your blender that develop from hard water and general use, simply blend a coarsely chopped lemon and a little dish soap with several cups of warm water together. Ii will innstantly clean blender in seconds.

Reusable Rags: not only are reusable rags more eco-friendly and cost efficient in the long haul, they are safer to use as well, especially when dealing with food products. Standard white paper towels are bleached to get that sterile color. This is not something you want to be wiping your produce or counter tops with. Instead, I opt for the reusable tea towels that are adorable and work amazing for cleaning everything. I simply toss them in the wash after using them. Side note: we still occasionally use paper-towels for random things but it is always better to opt for an unbleached version to keep in your stash! Seventh Generation makes ones that are sold at most stores.

Glass Bottles: if you plan on adding a few drops of essential oil to any of your cleaning products, make sure you mix them in a dark glass bottle. Essential oils will eat away plastic containers so make sure to avoid that! I bought a pack of 3 on Amazon a while back and have used them so many times over the last several years!

These few products have honestly changed my life and make cleaning so much easier. I love not having to cram my cupboards full of specific cleaning products that only serve one purpose. These things I always have on hand and keep our house sparkling while not breaking the bank or damaging our health.

*if you are interested in trying Branch Basics, feel free to use this promo code to get $10 off your first order: http://branchbasics.refr.cc/caitseppo.