It doesn’t matter how often you do it, be it three times a week or once a month; we all clean our houses, we all use soaps and gels to wash ourselves with and we all wash away what we have used down the sink. Not everyone has the same idea of clean, but if like me, your idea of clean is sparkling then you probably clean quite regularly. As a parent I appreciate the importance of dirt and building a healthy and strong immune system, however I also appreciate the need to not live in a hovel. And therefore I clean, and I will always clean to a high standard.
“Research has shown young children who aren’t exposed to allergens and germs in their early years face a higher risk of developing asthma and allergies later in life.”
As part of my journey to becoming a little more environmentally minded I have been looking into reducing and changing the chemicals I use within my cleaning products. No matter what some people say it is not possible to become “Chemical Free”. Everything is made up of chemicals. The air we breathe is formed of chemicals, the water we drink is chemicals, the body we live in is made of chemicals. Chemicals are a fact of life, but not all chemicals are the same. It would be easy to assume that all natural chemicals are good and all man-made chemicals are bad. That also isn’t true. Apples pips, for example, contain something that reacts with our digestive system and turns to cyanide. They may only contain a trace amount and certainly not enough to kill someone (unless you eat approximately 20 apple cores), but it is there and it is naturally occurring. It certainly puts a new spin on the Snow White story.
Using Good Chemicals
So with all of that in mind, it is more about finding products that use chemicals that are less environmentally damaging and, if possible, as few chemicals as possible. There are of course, recipes out there for homemade cleaning products such as lemon scrubs and vinegar washes. But I am not at a stage where I want to use that approach to cleaning. So I have, instead, found a couple of products and brands that help to reduce the amount of nasty chemicals we wash down the sink.
Eco Friendly Household Cleaning
It is easy to underestimate how many different cleaning products we use on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. But you only have to open the cupboard under your sink to see. Mine contains glass cleaner, kitchen cleaner, antibacterial cleaner, dishwasher tables, air-freshener, laundry detergent, fabric softener, furniture polish…. And that is just the kitchen cupboard, there are more products in the bathrooms.
Granted I could wash up by hand. I fully admit that, however that isn’t likely to happen. We have a new dishwasher that is very energy efficient and even has an eco wash setting that is quite effective. So that is one environmental hurdle down, next is the dishwasher tablets. I recently discovered that Ecover do various dishwasher tables that contain and all in one formula. This means that there is no need to add salt or rinse aid to the dishwasher as it is included in the tablet. My one gripe with these tablets is that they are all individually wrapped in little plastic wrappers. Truthfully I am currently weighing up how much of an issue this is for me. I am only just beginning to tackle the single use plastic issue in our house and I think these may have to go soon. If anyone knows of an alternative eco friendly, plastic free dishwasher tablet then please let me know.
Kinn are a new cleaning company on the block and they produce various household cleaners for the kitchen and bathroom and a few things in between. Founded by a mother and daughter team Kinn’s ethos is all about clean living and beauty (oh yeah they do great beauty products too but that is a whole other post). None of their products contain colourants, natural or otherwise so there really isn’t anything added that doesn’t need to be. I have been using their sweet orange washing up liquid and their lavender glass cleaner which work superbly. Because Kinn use essential oils to scent their products they really do smell amazing and they are kind and gentle on skin and less likely to cause the allergies and asthma of other cleaning products. Now they are available at Waitrose they are even easier for me to source and purchase in the future.
Palm oil is a hot topic and a hugely controversial one. Production of Palm Oil is huge and it is responsible for the illegal removal of indigenous tribes and loss of habitat vital for wildlife such as orangutang’s. On top of this it is one of the biggest causes of deforestation which has a huge impact on global warming (watch out Trumpians, there is some Fake News here). Palm oil, or conflict Palm oil as it is called, is used in so many products it is safe to assume that you will find it in almost every room of your house.
“Conflict Palm Oil production is now one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction.”
It is in peanut butter, chocolate, bread, ice cream, soap, shampoo. The list goes on and to make it even more complicated it isn’t always openly called Palm oil. Some companies use different names so you wouldn’t always know. Check out this list of other names for Palm oil. If you want to learn more then The Cornish Life has a few posts on the Palm Oil issue that are worth reading.
As with many farmable products Palm oil doesn’t have to be such an issue. There are companies that use organic and fairtrade palm oil in their products. This means that the crops are grown organically so large amounts of dangerous pesticides aren’t used and it is farmed responsibly on land specifically for it’s production. Tribes are not being murdered and evicted from their homes and the habitat of many endangered species isn’t ruthlessly destroyed.
Clean & Fair
Clean & Fair are a company that produce eco cleaning products using fair trade, organic palm oil. The cleaning products themselves are fantastic and work just as well as those rammed with unethical and environmentally damaging chemicals. The lavender soap is a particular favourite of mine as it is one of my favourite smells, but I have absolutely no complaints about the products and the laundry detergent cleans brilliantly, as a mum of two that is really important for me.
The more I delve into my environmental journey they more I am learning and the more appalled I am at my previous naivety. Companies such as Clean & Fair are leading the change and thank goodness they are there to help all of us create a better planet for our children to inherit.
Be The Change
For so long we have all lived with our heads in the sand, believing what we are told by politicians and pharmaceutical companies. It is time we took things into our own hands and be the change we want to see. We don’t have the same financial agenda that they do so we can and should be able to make informed decisions about the products we use. The planet can’t survive our demands if we don’t start putting back what we owe and removing what we shouldn’t have put there. I know that change won’t happen over night and I know it isn’t possible for people simply alter how they shop and what they buy instantly, but by making a few changes a week or month, then over time a huge change will happen. Companies and supermarkets will start to listen because providing what people are after is vital to their business survival.
The chemicals we use and the waste we produce can be reduced. All it takes is each of us to be a little more mindful about our habits, the brands we trust and the changes we can make for ourselves before we have to answer the questions of our children. “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” because right now I am asking myself, why haven’t we done this sooner?
*I was kindly sent some of the products in this post for free. This was not for the purposes of reviews but because they fitted my requirements of eco friendly cleaning products. All thoughts and opinions on these products are my own.