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Life Detox Part One: Household Products

Life Detox

Welcome to my Life Detox series!

What is a life detox, you might ask?  I explained it last week on my series introduction in this post, but basically, I’m evaluating seven aspects of my life and cleaning them up.  From the products I use in my house and on my body, to being more mindful of my every day habits and food choices.

The first area in my life was to clean up my household products.  While I thought this might be a pretty straight forward topic to address, it turns out there’s more to finding safe and nontoxic products than just finding the labels that “look” the cleanest and most natural.

In addition, when it came to any of the products that I chose as my household cleaners, I really wanted to find ones that were convenient.  Isn’t that what we all want – convenience?  I don’t want to have to special order my laundry soap when I realize that I’m out and need to do five loads of laundry.  Same goes for my dish soap bathroom cleaner.  So I turned to the trusted EWG.org (Environmental Working Group) site and tried to find some products that I recognized.  I also downloaded the EWG.org Healthy Living app that makes shopping for safe household products seriously SO much easier.  

EWG Healthy Living App

I also used to the EWG’s Healthy Living app to go through my current stash of household products (and beauty products – but that’s for next week) to get rid of the ones that were no good.  You simply scan, and hopefully the product is listed in the app.  I definitely ran across a handful that weren’t listed but used my judgment on whether to keep them or not.  When it came to deciding which products that I kept and threw out, I had a couple of simple rules.

Household Products Detox Rules

  1. Get rid of anything that is graded C or worse.  Like that Windex that gets our windows super shiny?  It’s a D.  Sad day!
  2. Keep things ranked a B to use the remainder of, but look into safer options that are graded A.
  3. However, if there was concern for cancer or reproductive and developmental toxicity in the grade B products that I owned, I tossed them.

What I’ve learned after looking through probably a hundred different products and their grades is that grade B products aren’t always awful.  A lot of the products that I already owned were grade B, like the Mrs. Meyers line.  I wanted to be smart about the products I used, but not completely wasteful.

Here’s what I ended up with.

Laundry Detergent

Life Detox Laundry

Since having Lars, we’ve used some kind of unscented laundry detergent, usually whatever was on sale, to avoid the strong scents that can be irritating to babies.  While good smelling laundry is super nostalgic for me, I figured it was best to go without.  However, even going with the “Free & Clear” version of Tide or the Target brand, I found these rank F and C respectively.  Even the Mrs. Meyer’s laundry detergent is ranked a C.  

Even worse, the Babyganics laundry detergent was graded as an F.  Yikes!

Luckily, the EWG makes it really easy to see what laundry detergents rank the best.  

When I set out to buy an EWG approved laundry detergent, I didn’t have the app downloaded yet, and just wrote down what I found from the website.  I ended up with Seventh Generation Unscented Laundry Liquid Detergent (pictured above) instead of the powder (which I meant to buy…just didn’t write down “powder”…doh!) The liquid detergent ranks a C because of environmental and allergy concerns while the powder is an A.  Since I had a full container of the liquid and had already used it on a load when I figured it out, I decided to keep it.  Once it’s gone, I’ll switch to the Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Packs or Powder, both of which rank A.  This goes to show how helpful the app can be when it comes to making decisions while shopping!  

Other good option for laundry detergent: Honest Company’s Free & Clear Pods are rated an A on EWG.org.

Laundry Fabric Softener

Alpaca Wool Ball

Instead of the traditional liquid fabric softener or the sheets, I’ve been using Alpaca Wool Balls.  This one is a little “out there”, but I have my mom to blame for that 🙂

Alpaca Wool Balls are an excellent environmentally friendly alternative to the chemicals of fabric softeners or dryer sheets for softening clothes, reducing static and wrinkles.  Also, they can be reused over and over again making them economical as well!  For a little scent, I drop a couple of drops of orange or eucalyptus essential oil on it.  

There were very few fabric softeners that were ranked an A or B, which made just switching to the alpaca wool ball even easier.


Household Cleaner

Life Detox All Purpose Cleaner

While doing my searches for all of these different products, I kept coming across Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap in different categories.  For laundry, for all-purpose cleaning, even for body wash.  While I tried it as body wash (more about that in my skincare post), my favorite use for it is diluted in a spray bottle as an all-purpose cleaner.  

As a household cleaner, you dilute it anywhere between 1:40 for light cleaning to 1:1 for deep cleaning.  I went in the middle and did 1:20 and actually found it a little heavy on the soap side, so I added more water after using about 1/4 of the spray bottle.  I also bought these spray bottles (affiliate link) off Amazon to put my cleaner in.  This was definitely one of the easiest switches I made.  Plus, you get a huge bottle for less than $20 and dilute it out a LOT.  I can already tell this is going to be a pretty economical switch as well.  

Note: I was previously using Mrs. Meyer’s All-Purpose Cleaner, which was graded a C.  I was sad to say goodbye to my beloved Honeysuckle scent, but happy to have a safe and nontoxic cleaner for important surfaces like our countertops and kitchen table!

Dishwasher Detergent and Dish Soap

This is definitely a product that I never really gave a second thought to.  I always bought whatever brand of dishwasher pods were on sale, and went on my way.  But when you think of it, this is the soap that’s cleaning the surfaces we EAT off.  I looked up a couple of the past products I had bought, which were the up&up brand of dishwashing pods and Cascade pods, both which had a few varieties which ranked either C or D.  

This is another Seventh Generation win.  Both Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs in Free & Clear OR in Lemon ranked an A.  I found the Free & Clear at my Target so it was a no brainer.  While it might seem like this entire post is sponsored by Seventh Generation, I promise, it’s not!  It just so happened to be a brand that was readily available at our grocery store/Target and ranked really well by the EWG.  

For dish soap I have been using Mrs. Meyer’s All Day Dish Soap, which ranked a C so I knew this needed to change.

Bathroom Tub and Tile Cleaner

Tub and Tile

Mrs. Meyer’s Tub and Tile Cleaner.  I have been loving Mrs. Meyer’s products for a long time – from their Honeysuckle Multi-Surface Cleaner Spray to their Geranium Hand Wash.  I just love their scents!  Most of their products are rated a C (although their fabric softener is a D), but I was super happy to find a couple of them ranked B, including their Tub and Tile Cleaner.  I tossed every single one of our toxic bathroom cleaners in favor of this and it was another super easy switch that we made because it can be found at Target!

Biggest Surprises

I have to say, I feel like while a lot of these switches were pretty easy, both financially and convenience-wise, it did take quite a bit of work to research the products.  Like I said earlier, the EWG website makes it easy, the app makes it easier, but it does take an extra step to figure it out.  However, when it comes to the health and safety of my family, it’s a couple of extra steps that were completely worth it.  And now that I have my base of household products that I’m using, I think it will be easy to stick with these products (all of which I’ve been using for a month and have been completely satisfied with!), and hopefully buy them when they’re on sale.

I’d say my biggest surprise was products that look safe, but really are not.  Like I’ve mentioned, since having Lars I’ve tried to be more mindful about the products I buy, especially for him.  I have been super surprised to find that a lot of the products that are labeled as safe (or rather, packaged to look safe – aka “green washing”).  

For example, I bought Babyganics Laundry Detergent a couple of months ago, planning to use it to wash all of Lars and the baby’s clothes with, only to look it up on EWG.org and see it was graded an F.  An F!!  Not even just a C…an F.  Without a doubt, this product will be thrown out.  I’ve mentioned before that some of the products I’ve used earned B’s and C’s, and I plan to mostly use those up until they are gone.  But an F?  I just can’t.  

So lesson learned – just because it looks safe and natural, doesn’t always mean that it is!

Next week I’ll be talking about my skincare and makeup changes that I’ve made.  In addition, I’m going to break down the cost of switching my household and skincare products, all for under $300.  I thought about doing it this week but wanted to bundle it with skincare and makeup, so you can see the investment overall.

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  1. Great post! I’ll have to check out that app as I am also a Mrs Meyers user. So sad. Do you know if the app also tells you about animal testing??

    1. Thanks Christine! That’s a great question. I looked into it and as far as I can tell, the SkinDeep section of EWG.org does have information on animal testing. It looks like it’s easiest to search for this on the website, as opposed to the app, as the SkinDeep section has an advanced search feature that you can find information on PETA data for animal-derived ingredients. Hope this helps!