• Kate Markovitz

Clean Up Well: Home Product Edition

Usually, I'm rambling on about makeup and skincare, but figured I was long overdue to share about home cleaning product makeovers, too. Let's create a home that is filled with products you feel GOOD about using.


ICYMI, I have 2 previous posts in this series: How to Ditch + Switch to Nontoxic Products and Clean up Well: Personal Care Edition.


Truth is, it's 2020. We are all spending a lot of time indoors these days, which gives us the perfect opportunity to ditch our toxic products and chemicals and clean up the air we are continuously breathing once and for all. (A great resource from the EWG can be found here).


It's JUST AS important for our health as having proper hygiene. At the start of the COVID19 pandemic, I did a short IG story about cleaning, soaps, hand sanitizers and had some women reach out to me who made connections why their asthma was flaring or their eczema was suddenly worse - all the sanitizing and fragrances from the products they were dosing themselves in an effort to "protect" their health. It's a balancing act and unique for each of us.


You can MAKE all of these products yourself and they will work just fine. Of course, if you are like me, you may prefer the convenience of pre-made clean products (and supporting another business, especially if it's a small business). I'm a big fan of concentrates that can be used to create many of the products you use in your home.


Note: there are some affiliate links and discount codes for you in this blog post. It does not cost you any more to shop through these links but it supports this blog and my family. I truly appreciate your patronage!


I'll cover the following categories:

  • Cleaners & Concentrates

  • Kitchen

  • Bathroom

  • Laundry

  • Air Fresheners

  • Outside


Cleaners & Concentrates


A note on concentrates: I always thought they would be "annoying" vs. just buying individual products but concentrates have been a game-changer for me. I love concentrates SO, SO much. Way easier to have it on hand and just make the product as you run out than buying individual products.


DIY

For a do-it-yourself version, you can use 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water, lemon rind and rosemary springs and just mix it all together in a spray bottle. I suggest letting it marinate and infuse for about a week before using - but if you are a DIY-er, this one is for you!

Note: acidic cleaners are NOT to be used on granite countertops.


Branch Basics

I'm a blend of DIY and already done for you. I'm a big fan of Branch Basics and have been using their products in my home for many, many years now. I use it as all-purpose, bathroom, window, + laundry detergent! It can also be used for hand soap, which I swap in and out.


For $10 off your first Branch Basics purchase, click here!



Force of Nature

At the time I'm writing this, we are deep in the COVID19 pandemic. As a result, many people are worried about disinfectants and finding more powerful products than soap/water. A great, clean/safer option is from Force of Nature, a natural cleaner and disinfectant approved on the EPA's List N. It is a capsule that makes a 12 oz cleaner that lasts 2 weeks. Can be used at home or business. Check it out here.


From my community:

Dr. Bronner's, Young Living Thieves / Doterra OnGuard, Aunt Fannie's, Sal Suds, Trader Joe's All Purpose, Better Life, Vinegar/Baking Soda, Norwex


Kitchen

A lot of kitchen options contain fragrances (phthalates - my #1 easy ingredient to avoid - more here if you want to learn why!), sulfates (create "suds and form" but are skin irritants and make cause more serious issues, such improper eye development in children and cataracts in adults).


DIY

A popular recommendation for kitchen cleaners (counters, appliances, etc) is 4 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart of warm water. It's a natural deodorizer and can shine stainless steel.


Dish Soap

As mentioned above, Branch basics can be used to make a foaming soap, as well as any of the concentrates! We've liked and used Aunt Fannie's Microcosmic Probiotic Dish Soap.


From my community:

The Honest Company, Dr. Bronner's, Better Life, Seventh Generation, Rebel Green, Puracy, No Tox Life, Norwex, Sal Suds, Unscented Co, Sonnet


Dishwasher

This has been a challenging one for me! We use Seventh Generation, and I would give it a 7/10. I'd like to find pods that work better (going to try Dropps below), but these get the job done. I do prefer pods over liquid dishwasher detergent.


From my community:

Thrive Market, Doterra lemon + Onguard concentrate (DIY), Dropps pods, Norwex, Ecover, Nature Clean Tabs


Wipes

Again, in the world of COVID19, disinfectant wipes may be an easy grab and go. I've been keeping Aunt Fannie's on hand in the car for wiping down periodically (though very vinegary). I've tried the Seventh Generation and I really couldn't get over the smell of these either. Maybe I'm a little too sensitive here.


Bathroom


Washing our hands is a hot, hot topic amidst the pandemic, and goodness, this is important right now. If you aren't going to take soap around with you (I'm not there really either, I do have a travel set of BB in my car - though if I worked in an office I would!), at least make sure you have safer options in your home.


From my community:

Branch Basics, Thieves, Norwex, Puracy, Doterra, Sonnet


Hand Soap/Cream

When washing my hands (especially during COVID), I've discovered I'm a snob and have a Goldilocks formula. It can't be too thick, and not too thin, and definitely not anything that makes my skin feel like sandpaper. I prefer Beautycounter's hand soap and hand cream.


However, for Charlotte (3 y/o), I like foaming soap and keep Branch Basics in the bathroom she primarily uses.


Hand Sanitizer

I've used a lot of different hand sanitizer's throughout this time. Right now, I'm carrying Dr. Bronner's spray and Primally Pure spray in my purse/car (which is usually the only place I use hand sanitizer).


Shower Cleaner

Branch Basics has a bathroom blend that you can use for the shower and toilet below (which is what we use). I also have a Pure Haven Scrubbing Cleanser that smells really lovely and works well!


Laundry


This is one I became highly aware of when I had Charlotte. I get very passionate about this topic as I cannot believe the crap that is in baby laundry products. It disgusts and saddens me. Since we have our clothes on our skin and breathing in the smells all day, I REALLY avoid fragrances and skin irritants.


Detergent

Again, I'm a Branch Basics fan in this department! I've tried a lot of other laundry detergents and this has been my favorite... however my community had a ton of recommendations here.


From my community:

Branch Basics, Biokleen Powder for top loader, Thieves, Seventh Generation, Better Life, Molly Suds, Norwex, Charlie's Soap, Boulder Clean, Dropps Pods, ECOS, Blur


Stain Remover

I use the Branch Basics Oxygen Boost and for the most part that is enough, but I do have to soak and scrub with C's stains - she's one with dirt. I'll use it in combo with Biokleen mentioned below.


For the dryer: Wool Balls

This is my only recommendation here as dryer sheets are really just a sheet of chemical crap. I do think they have "safer" options on the market now, but wool balls work fine!


From my community:

Biokleen Bac-Out, Branch Basics, Buncha Farmers, Molly suds, Doterra onguard + 1/2 doterra detergent, Folex, Norwex, Puracy, Honest Co (may not be sold anymore)


Air Fresheners


I beat up on fragrance, so you can imagine I'm not a fan of conventional air fresheners, candles, etc... but that doesn't mean you can't have a lovely smelling home!


The two easiest swaps are an essential oil diffuser and a safer candle - you can find them now make of beeswax and coconut wax! Beeswax actually produces negative ions that clean the air. (The Beeswax Co, Fontana Candle Co, Woodlot)


From my community:

Squeak (cleaning products available too), Young Living + Doterra oils, WindWix candles, Grow fragrance (air fresheners), Baking soda or Charcoal pods


Outside

Round-up is a KNOWN carcinogen, yet many of us walk around and spray it in our yards!!! This is such a scary one to me as we have so much research now that clearly demonstrates the danger of Glyphosate. In fact, countries and states are starting to ban its use. Mexico is phasing out glyphosate by 2024 and New York voted to prohibit the use by the end of 2021!!


DIY

Most suggestions here really are DIY with a couple of household items.


Weed Killer

My favorite weed killer is vinegar and dish soap. You can add salt or some essential oils, but the vinegar and dish soap has made weeds easy enough to pull up! I'm curious about the Wondercide mentioned below.


Bug Spray

I've not found the need for bug spray in recent years (I've heard this is a Vitamin B deficiency if you get bit - I used to stick my arm out the wind and get eaten alive just 5 years ago!) so I'm going to defer to my community here!


From my community:

California Baby bug spray, Patio egg, Peppermint oil/water for little bugs on plants, tea tree oil for big bugs near doors/windows, Primally pure bug spray, Vinegar dish soap + orange oil, Cedar oil, Wondercide (flea, tick for yard), Green Gobber Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer


I hope this post was helpful and you feel confident with your list of options for safer swaps in your home!

EACH SWAP MATTERS. Slow and steady wins the race. This will take you years to switch out and that is okay. Know that each swap is a step forward!

If you'd like a simple checklist to organize notes, jot down brands you want to try, and CHECK OFF when you have officially found a swap you love, enter your information.

I'm rooting for you, friend - Cheers to safer swaps!

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© 2015 by Kate Markovitz with Wix.com

Affiliate disclosure : Some of links may be affiliate links. Purchasing through these links does not cost you any additional money. When you purchase the product through the link, you are providing me with a small percentage of the sale. Thank you!

Disclaimer: The information on this page are for educational and entertainment purposes only. Please discuss any dietary changes, supplement use, and lifestyle changes with your healthcare providers. Kate does not diagnose, cure, or treat diseases.