By Brenna O’Dea
Clean eats, you know we love ‘em. Something else we also love, clean cleaning! What exactly am I talking about, you ask? I’m talking soaps, scrubs, and sprays that are free of those un-mentionables and un-pronounceables. Triclosan, dioxane, benzalkonium chloride…my general rule of thumb…if you can’t say it, don’t spray it. Sounds cheesy, I know, but I have tried living by this rule and it really does work! Of course, this is easier said than done. It can be tricky to find products out there that don’t have ANY crazy sounding chemicals listed on the label, but we are here to make it just a bit easier for you and your family this holiday season. Because a healthy house is a happy house.
All purpose cleaner: equal parts water & white vinegar
As my ultimate idol and role model, Ina Garten AKA the Barefoot Contessa says, “how easy is THAT?” just shake up this simple mixture of harmless ingredients for a solution that you can spray on any surface in the house. Opt for the lighter distilled vinegar (5%) for a softer cleaner, or stronger vinegars for a more powerful polish. If you are using the former, you could even add a few spritzes to your homemade salad dressing and it would be perfectly safe! Of course, a wine vinegar would taste much better…but we love the idea of a cleaning product that is safe to eat! This is a huge improvement from many of the shelf regulars you see in the store…”keep out of reach of children,” “avoid contact with eyes,” “if swallowed call poison control immediately,” NO THANK YOU.
Stain remover: one part water, three parts baking soda
For a cleaner that is strong enough to solve all your stain dilemmas and disasters (last night was spaghetti night…we know how messy that can get with little ones at the table), try this two ingredient fix. Fresh and natural, you don’t have to worry about any of the scary stuff…bleach, butoxyethanol, say goodbye to the big bad B’s of cleaning. There is one B however, that is still up for debate.
Borax, or sodium borate, is simply a naturally occurring mineral. While it is not known to be as dangerous as man-made, chemically engineered friends, it is not our number one choice. It is certainly NOT safe to ingest, and can cause irritation to the skin or eyes upon contact, especially in young children. However, many homemade laundry detergent recipes call for the addition of Borax to enhance effectiveness, and we say, go for it. As long as you know every ingredient that you are using, and feel comfortable and confident using it in your household, then your loved ones are sure to be happy and healthy.
Toothpaste & Deodorant…give it a try!
Let me tell you, I have tried all the “natural” products out there. I have used a sugar scrub that was entirely edible and actually quite tasty. I have not loved every product I have tried, in fact, I have absolutely hated some. Sometimes you just need something a bit stronger than essential oil and elbow grease. I have found this to be true with two products in particular: toothpaste and deodorant. In these two cases, I just need some good old fashioned fragrance and fluoride. I justify my use of these commercial, not-super-safe products because I do my best to minimize my use of chemicals in every other area of my life. When it comes to shampoo, body wash, hand soap, dish soap, and most importantly…FOOD, I read labels like they are good books, and I try the “less is more” approach. The shorter the ingredients list, the better. But when it comes to deodorant and toothpaste, I have not found a natural alternative that does the trick for me. HOWEVER, there are many marvelous products out there, and recipes that you and the little ones can whip up in just minutes. Try this calcium boosted toothpaste recipe, and all natural deodorant made with one of my all time FAVORITE things in the ENTIRE world…coconut oil.
We believe that what you put on and around your body is just as important as what you put into your body…AKA healthy (and of course yummy) food! We focus on food education. We want to teach your children about where fruits and vegetables grow, how we combine certain flavors to create new ones, and much more. We hope to inspire them to taste new dishes and help you create these dishes right in your own kitchen. But after the cooking and EATING is done, we all know what comes next…the clean up. Make this time a bit more special and safe by making your own cleaning products and inviting the little ones to join in. This might even make them more willing to help out with those dishes knowing that they made the soap themselves! So rest easy tonight…your loved ones have full bellies, chemical free bodies, and soon enough, Santa will be on his way.
(Image by flickr member Lissi Howard licensed under Creative Commons)