You don't always have to spend hundreds of dollars on cleaning equipment — sometimes the budget-friendly products go a long way. Check out some of these cheaper options that may make a huge impact on your home life!
When there's a foul odor coming from my kids' bedrooms, the first place I look is the pile of stuffed animals that sits near their beds. While some parents consider stuffed animals to be little more than dust collectors, in our home, they are a necessity, helping soothe my kids to sleep each night. But cleaning them has always been an issue — I fear the day one of their loveys is destroyed in the washing machine and we have to suffer through nights of inconsolable children.
That's why my interest was piqued when I heard about Teddy Needs a Bath ($15). Basically just an oversize, eco-friendly laundry bag with a serious zipper on it, Teddy Needs a Bath keeps stuffed animals safe during routine washings, ensuring that they can be returned to their rightful owner looking the same way they did earlier — only cleaner and germ-free! What do you think?
Keeping a clean and healthy home is a priority for many moms — so much so that it is the number one thing moms think they are judged about — but what they clean with may be doing more harm than good. Even products labeled as "green" and "kid safe" can be causing allergic reactions or contributing to long-term health issues.
Healthy Child Healthy World has teamed up with Women's Voices For the Earth to share the results of a surprising study about hidden chemicals in household cleaners. An independent lab tested 20 of the name-brand cleaning products and found allergens and toxins in bottles, detergents, dryer sheets, and air fresheners from some of the most popular companies around. Take a look at which products landed on the list, and see what to look out for before buying your next cleaning product.
Parents need to know that the room where their lil one rests her head is peaceful, safe, and clean. Anywhere that diapers are being changed and accumulated needs serious freshening up on a regular basis. As tempting as it may be to reach for that jug of bleach, there are better options for keeping a nursery sparkling clean.
- Munchkin Arm & Hammer Nursery
Wipes ($3): These handy little wipes safely clean changing tables, cribs, high chairs, shopping carts, and any other surface your tot might come in contact with. Alcohol free, the wipes kill germs on contact without leaving harmful residue behind.
- Aussan Natural Nursery All-Purpose Cleaner and Nursery Odor Eliminator ($8 each): Aussan Natural takes the concept of natural cleaning products very seriously. It's partnered with the Environmental Services of Melbourne, Australia, to develop a truly safe, eco-friendly line of products that actually work as well as their non-natural alternatives. The odor eliminator isn't an overwhelming scent at all — it really just neutralizes the diaper scent that just seems to waft around the house no matter how many times you clean the diaper pail.
- Dapple Toy Cleaner Spray ($6): This nontoxic spray is ideal for cleaning anything that tots get their little hands (and mouths) on. It uses only natural ingredients like baking soda and leaves no nasty residue.
The kitchen is the center of the home, and for families with young kids, it's generally a very messy center. From sinks filled with bottles to floors (and walls and ceilings) splattered with toddlers' leftovers, parents spend as much time cleaning up after their children, as they do feeding them. How parents clean it up takes on new meaning once kids are in the home — both for the health of their tots, and for the good of our planet.
- Bon Ami Liquid All-Purpose Cleaner ($4): Bon ami was making natural products far before natural was something to aspire to — since the 80s, the 1880s. Made with recycled and recyclable packaging, this all purpose cleanser works without phosphates or chlorine, and without leaving any residue.
- Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($3): It's not the sexiest cleaner available, but in terms of green cleaning, plain old Arm & Hammer baking soda is pretty tough to beat. The uses of this ubiquitous household staple go far beyond protection against a funky smelling fridge. Baking soda is perfect for safely cleaning dirt and residue off fresh fruits and vegetables, and for cleaning counters, stainless steel sinks, cutting boards, microwaves, plastic containers, lunch boxes — even for polishing silver.
- iQ All-Purpose Cleaner Starter Kit ($4): Though the word innovative is overused, it really is the only way to describe iQ products. Made from plant-based and ecologically sustainable ingredients, the line of household cleaners allows users to reduce plastic waste by 80 percent. Instead of buying a whole new container of cleaner, iQ comes in concentrated recyclable cartridges. To make a bottle of cleaner, consumers just fill the re-usable iQ bottle with their own tap water and drop in the cartridge.
- Dapple Dish Liquid ($6): Parents are very conscious about using baby friendly detergents on their tots' tiny clothes, but not everyone pays such close attention to the type of dish soap they use. Not all dish soaps rinse completely clean, and lingering suds can wind up right in your baby's mouth. Dapple Dish Liquid is designed specifically for households with babies and children — made using natural-based ingredients, with no harmful SLES, parabens, phthalates, dyes, or synthetic fragrances — and it really works to remove all traces and odors from food, breastmilk, and formula.
Everything changes when a baby comes along, especially parents' perspectives on safety. Every decision is made with protective goggles on as parents want the best bottles, the healthiest food, and household products without toxic chemicals. This is especially important when it comes to washing tots' tiny clothes and cloth diapers. What's good for baby is generally what's good for earth, and detergents made with irritating petrochemicals are harmful to both. Check out these products that are both eco and baby conscious.
Clockwise from top left:
- Vaska Spotoff Advanced Botanicals Spot Remover ($10), and Vaska Herbatergent Light Lavender, 48 oz. ($12): Vaska products earned recognition by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment Program as they break down quickly to non-polluting compounds. The natural lavender scent actually smells like lavender because it is — unlike most brands which use manufactured scents.
- Rockin' Green Classic Rock Laundry Detergent ($15): One of the most popular brands used to clean cloth diapers, this detergent was developed by a parent whose kids had very sensitive skin that broke out with every cleanser they tried.
- Seventh Generation Liquid Laundry 2x Ultra Concentrate, Baby, 150 oz. ($22): Seventh Generation products have been a go-to for eco-conscious mamas for a while. The liquid is super concentrated so a little really does go a long way.
- Biokleen Laundry Powder, 5 pounds ($22): This nontoxic, biodegradable powder is gentle while strong enough to launder cloth diapers — and everything else. The price is also right so customers don't have feel like they have to choose between green (eco) and green (money).
- Method Baby Laundry Detergent, Sweet Pea ($15): When Method launched a line of laundry detergents in 2010, it was an instant hit with fans of green, clean laundry. The cleverly designed pump bottle means multitasking mamas can do laundry and hold the baby at the same time.
When I'm trying to motivate myself to go to the gym, I always find a new workout outfit jump-starts the process. The same can go for Spring cleaning. Maybe all you need to get excited about vacuuming the house is a cheery yellow vacuum? (Check out my review of another colorful Dyson!) Possibly some apple-red rubber gloves would be reason enough to scrub the toilet? Perhaps you would be so enamored with your seafoam green mop that you'd forget you were doing housework? And the best part is, next time you open your cleaning supplies closet, you'll be greeted with a rainbow of options. See the colorful tools, below.
Now that you know the household uses for white vinegar, I thought you might like to know how you can expand its use to your garden. As you may remember, white vinegar is an eco-friendly product, and it's also cheap: You can buy a gallon of white vinegar for less than $3.
The word "vinegar" is from the French term
To find out how you can use white vinegar in your garden, read more
Mrs. Meyer's has just released a new collection of basil-scented aromatherapeutic household cleaners, including shower cleaner, window spray, automatic dishwashing liquid, scent diffusers, bar soap, and toilet bowl cleaner. Prices range from $4.99 to $34.99. What could be sweeter than having a house that smells as fresh as your garden? Mrs. Meyer's is known for its environmentally friendly cleaning products, which gives them bonus points in my book. I'm a big basil fan so these products are right up my alley; how about you?