It is not only important that I use clean food ingredients when creating my recipes, but it is also important that my cleaning products and personal care products are made with clean ingredients as well. Right after I decided that it was best for my family to live a clean eating lifestyle, one thing I did was start with the products in our home.
Each Friday, I will be spotlighting a guest blogger that has some wonderful information that I think my readers will enjoy and find helpful in their clean living journey.
This week’s guest blogger is Krissie Lenahan with Live Pure Mama. I have known Krissie for about 3 years now and I know how passionate she is about helping families learn more about clean products for their home and life. She has been an absolute inspiration to me and my family and I cannot think of a better person to have as our first guest blogger here on Clean Food Mama.
Mama’s below is an article Krissie wrote that share 4 tips for Green Cleaning that I think you will find useful in your home. In this article Krissie shares some great resources and some DIY recipes that you can make to use in your own home.
It feels so Springy outside lately! It’s almost that time of year when people get the urge (or feel the pressure) to clean their house from top to bottom. Spring cleaning is upon us, Mama’s!
I got the idea for this blog as I was watching the news a few nights ago. The newscaster was talking about precautions we should take to stay safe while sparkling up our homes this season. He suggested wearing gloves, opening up windows to ensure good ventilation, keeping the children occupied safely in another space, and maybe even wearing a mask… WHAT?!?! You’re kidding me, right? I thought to myself, “Why do people clean their homes in the first place?” I think it’s to keep their family safe and healthy so WHY are we conditioned to think that in order to do that we have to hit those nasty germs with toxic chemicals? If our goal is to keep our family WELL, shouldn’t we use products that will actually HELP us do just that?
One typical “fear” is that natural products, that are harmless to us, won’t kill the germs and cut the grime we want to banish from our living spaces. Not true, my friends. The chemical companies would love you to think that, though. In reality, natural products when formulated well, truly can be JUST as effective in cleaning as harsh chemicals and a lot more pleasant and safe to use.
In this blog post, I’ll cover four tips you can apply to make sure your green cleaning is on point AND 5 benefits you’ll actually experience because you’re leveraging safe products!
Tip #1: DIY
I know, I know, you’re BUSY. But, guess what? Making your own products isn’t as complex as you might think. Often-times it takes almost no time to throw together 2-4 ingredients and create a very effective product from scratch. We’re talking about using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards right now. Baking soda, vinegar, citrus… I often share DIY tips and recipes in my Facebook group and website if making your cleaning products is new to you. One huge bonus here, besides being generally safe, is this option is incredibly budget friendly! Check out my Pinterest collection of Green Cleaning recipe ideas!
Tip #2: Read your Labels
Yes, you hear me harp on you all the time to actually read the label on the BACK of the product, not just the front. When we allow ourselves to make decisions about the quality of a product based on the “claims” printed on the front of the label, we’re often victims to “Greenwashing”.
· Greenwashing is a bit like brainwashing but with products… Let me break it down. Brainwashing, as you know, is when someone manipulates you to believe something they want you to believe. Greenwashing is when a company will toss a leaf up on their label or make claims like “No artificial ingredients” or “All-natural” or “Organic” to make you think it is a high quality, safe product. Sometimes this can be a claim about a toxic thing they left out like “BPA-free”. In other cases, they might be highlighting a quality ingredient they put in like “Includes natural aloe”. Either way, you have not even scratched the surface of knowing what you’re about to “consume” till you’ve read and UNDERSTOOD the ingredients list on the BACK of the product.
Side note: did you know that there is NO entity watchdog monitoring the claims on personal care products in our country? Did you know cleaning products fall under “personal care”? That’s right; even though there are regulations in the food industry that determine exactly when a manufacturer can label something “organic”, for example, there is no such organization doing that for the products you use in your home or on your body. The personal care industry is charged with “self-regulating”. (As you can probably guess… that’s, um, not happening.)
Once you are actually reading the ingredients (or, attempting to), take note of these red flags.
· Long chemical names you don’t recognize and struggle with pronouncing in your head. (keep reading to learn how to make sense of these!)
· Artificial colors
· “fragrance” or “parfum” (could be a mixture of any combination of chemicals this industry considers “trade secrets” and are not required to be disclosed to anyone, including the FDA.)
TIP #3: Know & Use Your Resources
Here’s the MEAT, ya’ll. This is everything you need to make wise choices, listed in the order I recommend using them.
1. Download and use the free app, Healthy Living (for android or iPhone). Using this tool, you can literally scan in products AT THE STORE before you buy using the barcode on the product. The app will give you an overall safety rating for that product between 1-10 (1 being safe and 10 being don’t-get-this-near-your-body). This sounds and IS marvelous BUT this database can’t possibly keep up with the number of products pumped out by the personal care industry! I’d say probably 50-60% of the time I scan in products, they’re not in the database. However, I still recommend this resource because, when it works, it’s so fast and easy and I trust the data.
2. If the product isn’t in the app, check it with the Pocket Guide to Harmful Ingredients. This is a list of the most common and most dangerous ingredients found in US products. It’s absolutely NOT an exhaustive list but it’s a great place to start and is about 25 of the worst ones to avoid. Join my email list and I’ll pass you a link to download that for free. I don’t, however, expect you to print this out and carry it in your purse for the rest of your life SO, I created a graphic that lists these chemicals (without all the background info). Save it on your phone and use it as a quick reference when you’re shopping. I’ll put that below this blog.
3. Have a product you’ve been using forever and really like but the top two resources don’t turn up much info in your quest to determine its safety? Ready to buck up and put some time in? I realize you’re NOT going to do this with every product in your home but when you’re really ready to invest some time, THIS last resource is your final “go to” for analyzing product safety like a pro. Click here or Google the Skindeep Cosmetics Database. This is the same database used by the app, BUT on the website version, you can search for individual ingredients and get a rating on EACH one. What you do with that info, however, is up to you. Would you average all the ratings together? Somehow come up with a formula to give higher significance to the top 3-5 ingredients (which are in the product in higher quantities)? Only plug in the “red flags” you don’t recognize and make your decisions as you go? The process is up to you but it’s empowering just to know that all this info is at your fingertips, should you want it. (If you want help navigating this, I do Detox Coaching and would be happy to help. Contact me for quotes and different packages).
TIP #4: Favor Products That Harness the Power of Plants
Mama’s! Products do NOT have to use toxic ingredients to be effective. Nature has TRULY provided everything we need to stay clean, fresh and smell great. Plant ingredients can be made to cut grease, produce bubbles, sanitize, be preserved (maybe not the usual 3-12 years like many products on the shelf at the local big box store, but a solid 1-2 which should be all we need). When choosing products, favor ones that list the scientific plant name and then the common name in parenthesis so you can actually recognize what it is. FULL disclosure is always best! If a company lists “fragrance” and doesn’t include what that’s made of, STEER CLEAR. Ordering products straight from the manufacturer is a good practice because the likelihood you’re getting FRESH products is higher. Fun fact: leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate is a natural preservative made from radish root! It’s also super fun to say 😊
That’s not ALL, my friends. Did you know that besides being effective AND safer there are ADDITIONAL BENEFITS to cleaning GREEN? Throw these awesome pros in the mix and you’ve got a recipe for happy Spring cleaning!
When you clean with safe products:
1. You don’t have to wear gloves! Don’t know about you but this is HUGE for me.
2. Kids can help! You don’t have to banish them to the far reaches of the house, unless you want to.
3. They often smell GREAT and this ISN’T from synthetic chemicals, it’s usually from essential oils which leads me to the 4th benefit…
4. Essential oils and other natural ingredients often have other therapeutic benefits. That’s right! You might actually experience feeling invigorated by the smell of natural lemon essential oil, for example, or calmed by lavender.
5. You’re doing something GREAT for the environment. Natural products are MUCH more kind on our neighboring animal friends as well as our water filtration systems (which are NOT designed to filter the massive amount we’re flushing into them these days)
I hope you actually enjoy your Spring cleaning this year. Open up the doors and windows to enjoy the birds singing and the sunshine, not because you have to in order to be safe. Cleaning up our act is great for ALL of us and our planet.
Don’t hesitate to reach out. If you need suggestions or more info, I’m here.
About the Author:
Krissie Lenahan is a wife, mom, adventurer and high school health teacher turned dedicated natural product advocate and entrepreneur. Four years ago, when she learned about the dangerous chemicals that are in many of our everyday products, she made it a mission to help families decrease the toxins they absorb daily and decrease their body burden. She absolutely loves the educational part of her business and empowering other moms with tools and resources to help them keep their family healthy. She teaches public and private workshops, does home parties, public speaking events and pretty much educates about this important health issue every chance she gets as an Ambassador for Pure Haven (a completely natural product company).
To join the convo on her Facebook Group (highlights a different health issue each month):
Link to this Article on Krissie’s website
Click on this link to watch a You Tube vide of Krissie summarizing the 4 tips.
Thank you again to Krissie for this wonderful article highlighting how best to go about cleaning our homes this summer. These are some great tips that I have personally implemented in my own home and have helped my family tremendously.
Not only do we have a healthier home, but also I feel better knowing that our products are not harming my family. Mamas if you would like to learn more about Krissie and her mission to help families live cleaner lives, you can follow her on her Live Pure Mama Blog.