When we become moms, we start to question the safety of everything around us, from the air we breathe and the food we eat to the clothing we buy and the cleaning products we use. At least, I did. Pre-kids, most of us didn’t think twice about that cheap bottle of all-purpose spray we picked up from the dollar store. Now, we scour through the ingredient list of pretty much every brand (and natural cleaning product) we buy from to make sure there are no harmful chemicals lurking inside that could pose even the slightest health risk to our little cherubs.
If you’re one of the moms wondering if it’s worth it to spend an extra couple bucks on a greener and cleaner product, the answer is a resounding yes. “While sterilizing chemicals found in most cleaning products arguably do a good job at cleaning, the side effects are potentially far more dangerous than whatever it is they’re trying to clean in the first place,” explains Layla Samra, mom and founder of FizzWizz Crystal Clear Laboratories, LLC.
Thankfully, the last few years have seen more interest in sustainable cleaning without the side effects, which Samra believes is owed in part to the rise of social media and open access to information. “It’s been a tremendous help in educating consumers about the dangers of every day cleaning products and harsh cleaning ingredients,” she says. “Clean is important, but so is our health and environment, so we need to pay more attention to what we’re using and make more responsible choices.”
Oh sh*t. It could be time to really kiss that dollar store Windex goodbye. When selecting cleaning brands that are truly safe for your family, you want to aim for all-natural, plant- and mineral-based ingredients. Samra recommends staying clear of parabens, SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate), and Chlorine. There are all-natural cleaning ingredients that actually work, including baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and citric acid. In her FizzWizz Cleaning Tablets, Samra uses protease, an enzyme derived from mushrooms that serves as a powerful cleaning ingredient. “Look for labels that say all-natural, but don’t stop there,” she adds. “USDA-certified food ingredients and biobased products are also helpful in knowing the chemicals you’re using are safe and not hiding behind a poorly regulated ‘all-natural’ claim.”
Not quite sure where to begin shopping for cleaning products that fit the “clean” bill? Read on for a list of some of the most trusted, family-friendly natural cleaning products and brands on the market.
CLEANS BOTTLES BY DROPPING A TABLET IN WATER
Invented by Samra, these FizzWizz tablets and wipes make cleaning bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, and more a breeze for parents. The best part? They’re plant-based! For the tablets, all you have to do is drop one into a baby bottle with some water, shake, and rinse! Ditch the heavier chemicals from liquid soap and the extra energy it takes to wash the bottles with a brush.
KILLS 99.9% OF GERMS
Force of Nature is super cool — they use electricity to convert salt, water, and vinegar into a natural multi-purpose cleaner that’s just as effective as bleach (without the toxic chemicals, dyes and allergens). It’s allergy-approved and deodorizes, disinfects, and kills 99.9% of germs including Salmonella, Staph, MRSA, Norovirus, Influenza A, Listeria and more.
A ONE-AND-DONE MULTI-PURPOSE SOLUTION
What you get when you purchase Branch Basics is one core product that can be used for a myriad of different cleaning products (as well as reusable containers for each of those that you can pour the solution into). The multi-purpose, non-toxic concentrate can replace everything under your kitchen sink by diluting it with water — we’re talking laundry, foam hand wash, glass cleaner, all-purpose, and bathroom cleaner.
CAN BE USED BY THE WHOLE FAM
Your baby might have his own laundry basket, but he doesn’t need his own detergent when you’re using this! It’s dermatologist-, allergist- and pediatrician-recommended. It’s hypoallergenic (removes 99% of every day and seasonal allergies) and clinically proven to not irritate skin, which comes in handy for extra sensitive little ones.
A ONE-AND-DONE MULTI-PURPOSE SOLUTION
As the family maker of non-toxic household cleaning products powered by citric extracts, Lemi Shine makes products for every busy mom to make sure her house is sparkling clean. Lemi Shine’s dish detergent pods work extra hard with a powder and gel combo to remove grease, stains, and stuck-on food from dishes. The pods use citric extracts to make your dishes shine, making them eco-friendly and safe to use around your whole family. (Fido included!)
CONTAINS THE ADDED BENEFIT OF PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are pretty much in everything these days — and your household cleaner shouldn’t be an exception. Counter Culture Cleaners actually use a probiotic-based powder that’s loaded with good bacteria that effectively tackles and breaks down dirt, grime, and grease as well as odor. They proudly do NOT kill 99.9% of bacteria, but rather replace harmful bacteria with beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that won’t put you, your kids, pets, or anyone for that matter, in harm’s way. Yeah, it’s like Kombucha for your bathroom mirror.
SMELLS LIKE CITRUS AND FALL
If you’re a fan of fall, you’ll want to dive into a bottle of one of Thieves cleaning solutions. Also from a practical and ethical standpoint, you’ll become a fan real quick. Their solution is entirely plant-based and made from a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary (hence the ridiculously delicious citrus-spice aroma). Zero harsh or drying detergents are used so you can feel (and smell) good about the cleaner you’re using. It’s rumored this blend of essential oils was used to fight the Bubonic Plague back in the day.
ACTUALLY REMOVES PET HAIR AND DANDER
You love your fur-baby, but the shedding of hair and dander is a total buzzkill, especially when you have a little one to worry about. Enter FurZapper: an easy solution to removing pet hair from clothes, pet bedding, blankets and more. All you have to do is toss one of their reusable, paw-like discs into the washer and dryer with your laundry and fur, hair, dust and debris is gently removed from your clothes as they tumble through the cycles. It’s non-toxic, re-usable, hypoallergenic and 100% made in the USA.
CLEANS LIKE GRANDMA USED TO
Vinegar has been used as a cleaning ingredient for centuries — and it’s still extremely effective. Aunt Fannie’s cleans like your grandma used to, but smells a whole lot better thanks to the use of plant-based essential oils like fresh lemon, eucalyptus and lavender. It’s as safe as your own DIY mix but works harder and you don’t have to make it yourself.
TACKLES EVEN THE WORST CAR SEAT SPILLS
Kid Proof is the ultimate protectant for car seats, house furniture and much more. The super power behind its ability to work without using harsh chemicals hides in its nanotechnology. It safely seal your cloth and leather from strawberry milkshakes, gummy bears and whatever else your kids spill in the car. Kid Proof doesn’t use fluorocarbons, acetone, or naphtha, but instead, nanotechnology-based ingredients that actually bond to the cloth or leather creating an impermeable barrier. Safe for babies and fur-babies.
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