Hi lovelies! This is the second post in my Faithful to Nature journey. Since we here in the Western Cape have a water ban, I thought it would be apt to write about my conversion to cleaner, greener cleaning products. It hasn’t been an easy move and its more of a baby steps approach, mainly because I am such a creature of habit and have always associated certain household products with certain tasks. But I’ve known for a while that it was time to make a proper move to greener cleaning tools and taskmasters, and seriously, there is NO time like the present to change our ways.
Did you know that every time you use a cleaning product, the ingredients in that product end up going into our natural environment (sprays and aerosols into the air, and detergents, soaps etc into the waterways)? That means our precious plants and wildlife are feeling the negative effects of nasties like ammonia, petrochemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). By making a small change, you can play a big role in reducing the toxic emissions into our environment. Robyn Smith, owner and founder Faithful to Nature.
We have a grey water irrigation system for our back garden but I am ashamed to say that erm, we’ve been using ordinary soap since we had it installed (runs and hides). I’ve been meaning to make the move to greener cleaning stuff, I really have, but I haven’t prioritized it. Since having Ava I’ve become a bit paranoid about chemicals in products and i am petrified of Charley ever ingesting anything although thankfully she has never even shown interest in the cleaning cupboard but still. Lets not even talk about the state of the environment for our kids if we don’t do something now?! I’ve had my head in the sand for so long, it was just time to make the change. On a more personal note Ava seems to have very sensitive skin – she developed dermatitis from a baby wash I used on her which though organic, had too much fragrance in it, so I’ve had to be very careful with what we wash her clothes in and of course what we use at bathtime.
So here is what has been happening in our cleaning supplies revamp. I’ve listed the first five things that have changed.
DISHWASHING LIQUID This has been top of my green clean switch priority list for a while. We are doing at least three sinks of feeding and expressing bottles a day at the moment and have been using so much dishwashing liquid – you should see how gross my hands are! I checked the ingredients in the one we use – it contains Anionic surfactants (LAS and SLES) which are known for toxicity for both children and adults, Urea, Ethanol, EDTA which are known to cause reproductive and developmental effects in lab rat tests, Citric Acid, Lemon Juice, Preservative, Colour, Fragrance. Basically, it’s not good! Solution: Nu Eco Dishwashing Liquid is a citrus-based product free of parabens, PEG and other chemical compounds that would pose a risk to humans or pets. This dishwash liquid is water course-friendly and safe for septic tanks; plus it’s kind to your skin.
BLEACH when we moved into our house and connected a grey water system to our appliances, I stopped buying bleach. The thought of it going into our garden and Charley bathing in a bath that has had bleach in it totally freaked me out but on the cleaning front, her lovely white onesies were soon a shade of grey. And grey they stayed. Regular bleaches contain a mix of chlorine and caustic soda – which are incredibly corrosive and toxic and which, when they are passed into the environment are obviously incredibly toxic to wildlife and fish. Solution: Londa Bio-Bleach makes white white again – without causing chaos with your clothes or the environment when it’s disposed of – grey water win.
ALL PURPOSE CLEANER We have Caesarstone counters and hardcore all-purpose products like Handy Andy can’t be used on them, the same goes for our stone bath. So we’ve been using dishwashing liquid. Also not ideal since it goes down the drain straight into the water system. Solution: Triple Orange All Purpose Wonder Spray This all-purpose product is one of Faithful to Nature’s most popular cleaning products and can be used in several areas of the home – saving you both time and money. If you’re going to start somewhere in using more eco friendly choices, this cleaner and the dishwashing liquid are as good a place as any to start.
OVEN CLEANER OK people, have you smelt normal oven cleaner? It’s gross! It smells like a paint factory exploded and it scares the daylights out of me, Lord alone only knows what’s in it (the internet says standard oven cleaners include a cocktail of the following toxic ingredients: lye, ethers, ethylene glycol, methylene chloride, and petroleum distillates – it’s not pretty. But the problem is how do you get a really dirty oven clean properly? We use bicarb and lemon regularly but after a marathon cooking session, I really feel like the oven needs something more hardcore. Solution: Greenman Eucalyptus Kitchen Degreaser is what you need! It works like a bomb, is non-toxic (hallelujah!) and you can also use it for cleaning up other kitchen chaos.
LAUNDRY DETERGENT With a newborn, a toddler and often 2 teens in the house, our washing machine works hard. I’ve been using an earth friendly product in it for a while now. But it costs a fortune. Add fabric softener to the mix and its even more expensive, plus what’s the point of using an earth friendly detergent if the softener isn’t? Solution: Triple Orange Bio Detergent is a two in one detergent that leaves clothes smelling and looking great – it’s also 100% biodegradable and is so gentle on clothes, on the water supply and on your garden too if you’ve got a grey water system. Psst…i see It’s currently massively marked down on the site!
Other small changes we’ve made:
Mimu baby laundry liquid is our new go to for washing Ava’s clothes, which are always washed separately, and so far so good. No dermatitis since we swopped (and erm, since I stopped eating chocolate too) and her clothes still smell delicious. Mimu is a South African product, is hypoallergenic, biodegradable and is ideal if your child has eczema or other skin issues. Mimu has a huge range of baby friendly cleaning products (like this dummy sanitiser which is working overtime in our house) too.
Earthsap bathroom cleaner is ideal if you’re a fan of task specific products (I am). It’s a trusted brand, is nicely priced and gets the job done.
I know you shouldn’t go on looks alone but seriously, how good looking is the Eco Diva range of green cleaning products? This local product range has loads of task specific items and also, they have a great kit with 6 products key for just under R500.
I’m pretty obsessed with these E Cloths – especially since they have the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. As you know, I work at Good Housekeeping South Africa – the US Good Housekeeping Institute is based in New York and its sole purpose is to test drive products that make certain claims. It’s like our SABS. If it gets the stamp of approval then you know it really is a quality product. These e cloths are pretty radical in that YOU DONT USE WATER with them! How bizarre/cool/amazing is that?! For those of us who are having water shortages in the Cape, these are big news. This starter pack has a colour-coded cloth for every household task (clever, that) and they are guaranteed for 3 years.
A huge thanks to Robyn Smith, the founder of Faithful to Nature who shared her solid advice on how to get started on this particular journey. Faithful to Nature’s blog also has LOADS of amazing, very well researched articles and I highly recommend you browsing through the ones that are relevant to where you are right now.
For why to clean green, click here
For more on baby cleaning products, click here
All of these products are of course available from Faithful to Nature, South Africa’s number one supplier of eco friendly products for you and your home.