With a baby in the house and a preschooler (and two dogs), I’m often searching for various ways on how to make your home clean. Yet, it is not just about a clean home, but a chemical free home. One with a natural nursery and organic playroom. So here are some reasons I have found for chemical free cleaning and natural living in your home.
Why a natural living lifestyle? Well, when I signed up for a paid blogger sponsorship with Seventh Generation, Stonyfield and Healthy Baby, I learned some amazing facts. Like how 80,000 chemicals are used in products in the United States and over 90% of them have never been tested by the FDA. That the European Union has banned over 1300 chemicals, but the United States as only banned 11. (Kinda makes you wonder what the FDA is doing all day, right?)
Natural Living Lifestyle Tips
Between the FDA and the FTC, I think these people should start focusing on things that really matter, but I digress. It just made me realize that the government doesn’t protect me. That the pretty bottle on the shelf hasn’t been vigorously tested to ensure my long term safety. So I’d rather stay clear of chemicals when I can, since I have absolutely no idea what they really do.
It used to be that living green was for wealthy families (in that they could afford to buy the products.) In the past few years, prices have come down, and more companies are in the marketplace making prices more affordable than ever. While I am probably a lost cause, I can at least strive to have my kids grow up in a chemical-free home or, probably more realistically, a reduced chemically-exposed home. So here are some ways to do that.
1. Take shoes off in the house.
It is a simple thing and costs no money. By not wearing shoes in the house, all of the pollutants that were on your shoes don’t come onto your carpet and hardwood floors. I’ve stepped on gum and dog poo, pumped gas with oil stains on the pavement underneath my feet, walked in the municipal park with pesticides on the grass, and there is residue that stays on your shoes. We even had built-in shelves made in our garage for the family’s shoes (as that is the door we go in and out of the most.) I got a little bench and we pop our shoes off before coming in the house.
2. Buy bedding without treatments.
(Watch out for those stuffed animals too.) Buy organic mattresses when you can as other mattress are treated with chemicals that are released into your home. Plus, can you imagine breathing it all in night after night? Same with the stuffed animals. A lot of the fabric on stuffed animals has also been treated with chemicals – everything from pesticides in growing the cotton, to coating the product before it goes to market.
3. Buy Chlorine-Free diapers.
Cloth diaper your baby when you can. It really is not as daunting as you think. If you don’t want to cloth diaper your baby, or you want to alternate, like I do, then find a disposable diaper that is as pure as can be. Seventh Generation, of course, makes these and are popular so you can find them easily in natural food stores, big box stores, and on (affiliate) Amazon.
4. Use no VOC paint.
When painting a nursery, buy no VOC paint. Not only does it help the environment, but VOC paint can release toxic fumes for years. And the paint quality has improved 100 fold in the past couple years. If you need to watch the budget, consider painting a feature wall, rather than the entire room. Chic and clean!
5. Eat organic.
I think that is an obvious one. But don’t forget that if you can’t eat organic, at least look for food that is free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, and genetically modified ingredients. Think about joining a local CSA (community supported agriculture) for fresh local produce or start your own garden. There are lots of generic organic products that are cheaper than the branded ones, with similar benefits, and there are a lot of coupons available too.
6. Know your Toys.
With kids, we have lots of toys, and many plastic toys now are BPA free. However, do your research and think outside the box. Perhaps buy homemade toys on Etsy, or learn about natural toy brands. Then look into the product. For example, you may think buying wooden toys are best, but were they treated with anything? Is the paint used on the toy non-toxic? The plastic toy may be BPA free, but is it free of other toxic by-products?
7. Use natural cosmetics.
Like baby wash, baby lotion and sunscreen. Basically, if you read the label, and you don’t know what it is, then pass on the product. I use (and love) natural makeup from (affiliate) Jane Iredale, and for the kids, here are five natural sunscreens I like best.
8. Use chemical free cleaning products.
If you can’t, then baking soda, vinegar, essential oils and citrus fruits will be essential must-haves. Here are some ways you can use these things.
9. Use natural solutions for air freshener.
Like opening the window. It is amazing how fresh your home can be, feel, and smell when you open the windows for 15 minutes each day. Otherwise, you can make your own air freshener.
10. Ban the Can.
Canned goods are lined with BPA. So instead of buying canned peas or canned soup, buy frozen peas and soup in a box.
After this chat with Seventh Generation, Stonyfield, Healthy Baby and other like-minded Moms, it reaffirmed my natural lifestyle choices, but it also made me aware I can do more. Lots of these natural living solutions will save you money, but the one thing we can all do is buy less. When we do, we can save more to buy greener things, and cut down on waste generally. It may seem like a luxury, but it’s one we can afford to buy, and can’t afford to not do.
This post was updated May 2018.