Why I Switched Our Cleaning Supplies

Household cleaners and soaps are some of the biggest offenders of toxins in homes and they can routinely expose us to chemicals that can affect us to varying degrees ranging from minor skin irritation to hormone disruption or cancer. If you’re cleaning up what you’re putting IN your body, you should care what you put ON your body, and what you put in your environment. Period. There are safe cleaning products out there.

Most every household contains traditional cleaning supplies that are laced with toxic chemicals that are harmful. We’re exposed to them routinely — from the phthalates in synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven cleaners. Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity. According to the Environmental Working Group, using them just once a week can have a harmful effect.

Why I Switched Our Cleaning Supplies

How Toxic Are Your Cleaning Supplies?

Toxic chemicals in conventional household cleaners vary in their severity – from immediate hazards such as skin or respiratory issues, chemical burns or watery eyes to long term major problems such as cancer, fertility issues, ADHD, compromised immune system and more.

It can be overwhelming to to start to realize how many toxic chemicals are in our home, and I’m not saying we can avoid exposure to toxic chemicals altogether, but it is possible to reduce it, and significantly decrease our risk of illness. Some chemicals build up and can cause enough harm in our bodies over time, that can trigger harmful effects. So knowledge is power.

How Do I Find Out What are Truly Safe Cleaning Products?

Here’s the thing: there’s so much we cannot control, but for the things we can, and use daily, why wouldn’t we do a little research and make safer swaps for our families? At the very least, we should be aware of what is in them! I use two resources in our home to identify how toxic our products are. One is EWG.ORG/SKINDEEP and the other is the Think Dirty APP. Both are apps that you can use to scan barcodes in your home, and see how toxic your current products are. Pretty cool, right?

It can be slightly terrifying when you start scanning your products, but remember: make small changes and do the best you can. I’m not advocating you throw out every product in your home right now, but rather once you are informed you can try to make the best choices you can going forward.

What are the Harmful Chemicals in Household Cleaning Products to Avoid?

Here are a few to look out for:

1. Phthalates: Often found in many household products with a fragrance, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper. Because of proprietary laws, companies don’t have to disclose what is in their scents, so you won’t find phthalates on a label. If you see the word “fragrance” on a label, there’s a good chance phthalates are present.

2. Perchloroethylene or “PERC”: Often found in dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.

3. Triclosan: Found mostly in liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.”

4. Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”: Fabric softener liquids and sheets, most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”

5. 2-Butoxyethanol: Often found in window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.

6. Ammonia: Find them in polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewelry; also in glass cleaner.

7. Chlorine: You’ll find this in toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whiteners, household tap water.

8. Sodium Hydroxide: An ingredient often in oven cleaners and drain openers.

Why I Switched Our Cleaning Supplies

A Note on “All Natural Cleaners”

This might surprise you, but many “all-natural” cleaners found in grocery and health food stores still have harmful chemicals and may even score worse than conventional cleaning products. This is where those handy apps above come in handy. Again, do your own research!  

What Safe Cleaning Products are in my Home:

I avoiding conventional household products as much as possible and have found great alternative, safe swaps for cleaning products, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and air fresheners. Here are some options for you:

  • You can make your own DIY household cleaners: LCK Food Editor Kelli uses a mixture of Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap, Water, and Essential Oils for almost all cleaning tasks. For heavy duty jobs she also will add in baking soda.
  • All-Purpose Cleaning Products: I use Branch Basics for my Bathroom, All-Purpose Counter Cleaner, Glass, and hand soap!
  • Laundry Detergent: Again, I use Branch Basics. I also use their Oxygen Boost for my Whites. I’ve also heard Molly’s Suds is a good brand, but haven’t personally tried it!
  • Dryer Sheets: I use Dryer Balls (see this post).
  • Air Freshener: I use this home spray by The Laundress or safer candles by Phlur.

For me, Branch Basics is literally magic. Their multi-purpose concentrate makes cleaning simple, affordable and sustainable. The products are refillable and they’re significantly less expensive than similar single-use products. You dilute The Concentrate with water, and then it’s ready for any cleaning job around the house, even dirty laundry!

A word from the Branch Basics team:

“We’re not fans of shipping water. Our multi-purpose concentrated cleaner makes cleaning simple, sustainable, safe and affordable. Just dilute with water in our spray and foamer bottles (complete with marked fill lines) and you’re all set to effectively tackle every room in the house and your laundry too! Our kits come with everything you need to get started or you can purchase the concentrate in whatever size it best for you.”

Safer Cleaning Products

Discount for you:

My friends at Branch Basics let me give you 15% off starter kit with code LEXI15! The starter set includes one 33 oz. Concentrate, three empty spray bottles, one Foaming Wash bottle, one Laundry bottle, and then I add the oxygen boost and dryer balls to my order.
 

I was not paid to write this post, though it does contain affiliate links. Here’s my promise to you. While I make a small percentage on sales used through my code, this is the brand I TRUST. I PERSONALLY use them in my home for my family, and no super small amount of commission is worth compromising your trust. So please trust me when I say I would never promote a product that I don’t fully stand behind.
Safer Cleaning Products

Ways to Reduce Plastic

We have been working on ways to reduce plastic in our home this year, so I thought I would share some of what we are doing. When you really start to pay attention to how much plastic we use/buy/bring into our homes on a daily basis, you start to see and realize what a major issue it really is! From the grocery store and take-out, to coffee shops, cleaning supply bottles, and ziplock bags — it’s A LOT. Here are some major changes we try to make, why it’s important, and how you can join in! Made in partnership with my friends at Ello Products.
 
Ways to Reduce Plastic

Ways to Reduce Plastic

Now I am not an unrealistic person. It’s going to be nearly impossible (sadly) to really reduce plastic usage fully, but with some effort, we can make changes that we feel good about and ones that are do-able and realistic for our lifestyles and our families!
 
I do love that others are taking action: many grocery stores are no longer doing plastic bags and are switching to paper, and many coffee shops and states are actually getting rid of the use of plastic straws! Bravo! Now, let’s do our part!

How Can You Reduce Plastic Use

  1. Reusable water bottles
  2. If you buy plastic water bottles because of the quality of your tap water, purchase a high quality filter and install it on your sink
  3. Glass or stainless straws
  4. Silicone bags
  5. Opt out of plastic produce bags in the grocery stores, and bring your own grocery tote bags
  6. Opt to buy cartons or glass versus plastic when possible
  7. Switch to glass food storage containers and glass mason jars
  8. Avoid plastic containers or plastic bags of food
  9. Use cloth napkins or reusable towels in the kitchen – to avoid extra trash (plastic garbage bags)
  10. Reusable coffee mugs or a mason jar to the coffee, juice or smoothie shop (bonus: you often get a discount when you bring these
  11. Purchase and eat less packaged foods (bonus: you’ll be eating less processed foods along the way)
  12. Seek out or find local “Buy Nothing” groups to pass on your unused stuff to avoid waste
  13. Make your own household products like cleaning sprays, body scrubs, etc.
  14. Shop in the bulk section of the grocery store with your own reusable bags

What I Personally Use

Ways to Reduce Plastic

Why is Plastic Bad & Why It’s Important

  1. Plastic can release harmful chemicals into our planet. Which can then seep from the soil into groundwater or other surrounding water sources and the ecosystem.
  2. Our environment is seriously impacted. 91% of plastic isn’t recycled and over the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
  3. Toxic load. I work hard to reduce the toxic load in my environment for a many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that Mike and I both have the MTHFR gene mutation and don’t detox properly. So when I’m exposed to plastic and heavy metals, they hang in my body unless I work hard to detox and remove them. The amount of toxic load we are consuming and putting in our body is alarming, detox issues or not!

How YOU Can Get Involved

  • JOIN ME! Tag me with what you’re doing and using to make changes! I can’t wait to see what you’re doing to reduce your plastic consumption!!!
  • Remember: Be prepared! Before heading off to work, grab your reusable water bottle and coffee mug. Meal prep in glass containers to avoid take out. Remember your tote bags for the grocery store!
  • Gift it! This Holiday Water Bottle/Travel Mug (2-pack) is an awesome gift for family members, friends, co-workers, or a neighbor!

Win a Holiday SET for YOURSELF!

  • Win this Ello Holiday Water Bottle/Travel Mug (2-pack) – available in Target!
  • Comment below 1 way you reduce plastic in your home or want to!
  • Bonus entry: Tag a friend in this Instagram post! Don’t forget to check out Ello Products and where to buy them on their website here.

Ello Holiday Gift Set at Target

P.S. There are other things I’m doing in my home to create a healthier environment, like removing harmful ingredients from products we use, like PEGs, Parabens and Phthalates. These ingredients that we’re exposed to in makeup, shampoos, home cleaner and more contribute to human and animal illnesses and environmental pollution. Parabens, for one, are in almost every topical product and contribute to everything from hormonal disruption and rising infertility rates to water pollution. Read here about other swaps I’ve made!


This post is sponsored by Ello Products. All thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own! I love the integrity of their products and think you’ll love them too. Thank you for continuing to support LCK and the brands I work with!