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Let’s talk about the large variety of cleaning products we use in our kitchens, from the dish soap and detergent, to the sprays and surface cleaners. It is quite scary to think about all the toxins lurking under our sinks, just waiting for us to bring them out and wreak havoc with our health, and all in the laudable name of cleaning up dirt and germs!
You might not be ready to take the leap to make your own products yet, and that is okay. Sometimes it is about convenience and time. I can totally relate. That is why I put together this list of eco-friendly kitchen products that I personally use and like.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was a lover of “Clorox Wipes”. Leaving those behind was difficult, but surprisingly not as difficult as giving up some of my other favorite cleaning products. It may take a little “getting used to” green cleaning, but the reward of reduction of toxin exposure is well worth the effort. Most green products do not use heavy artificial fragrances such as that “fresh lemony scent” or that “lovely lavender aroma”. So what your nose detects, if anything, will be subtle and natural. Likewise, green cleaners tend not to lather or suds up as much as their toxic cousins, but never fear, they are still just as effective!
Finding safer alternatives is no easy task. Reading labels is often mind boggling with long ingredients lists. That’s when I turn to the Environmental Working Group. The EWG website and app allow you to search for products that are rated based on the safety of their ingredients. Products with an “A” rating are typically the safest, with the lowest rating as an “F” being very unsafe.
First on my list to replace was my “Dawn Dish Soap”. It is often thought to be safe, because as the ads proclaim, it is used to clean the sticky black oil found on water fowl after an oil spill. Surprisingly, it rates a “D” with the EWG. This is due to the fact that it contains methylisothiazolinone, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, and sodium lauryl sulfate, among others. Yikes, scary!
“Better Life” makes a variety of safer cleaning products. Their dish soap rates an “A’ with EWG. They offer a fragrance -free soap and a “Clary Sage & Citrus” one. Their fragrance is from plant, not artificial, extracts making it much safer. All of their products are non-toxic, biodegradable, not tested on animals and dye -free. They use plant derived ingredients.
I gave up my sponges in favor of a few of my favorite Norwex products. I reach for the “All Purpose Kitchen Cloth” for cleaning dishes. Unlike many dish cloths, this one does not start to stink after a few uses since It is quick drying which minimizes bacterial growth. This cloth is made of microfiber in a waffle-weave design. Dirt and grease are picked up by the cloth instead of being pushed around as with most dish cloths. I wash mine at least once a week in a load along with the rest of my microfiber cloths.
“Spirisponges” are great little scrubbers for all of the stuck on food that the Kitchen Cloth can’t remove. They are durable and safe for use on non- stick pans and glass top stoves per the Norwex website. Don’t use on brushed stainless steel appliances, however. They are also easy to clean because you can stick them on the top rack of the dishwasher the next time you do a load. “Spirisponges” are definitely one of my favorite “Norwex” products.
The biggest problem with my previously favorite dishwasher detergent, “Cascade”, is that it doesn’t disclose all of their ingredients on the packaging. It rates an “F” on EWG for the use of artificial fragrance, artificial colors and oxygen bleach. Replacing this was not easy, though. We tried a homemade version and several other less toxic brands before we found one that works as well as “Cascade”. “Ecover Zero” has been our favorite so far. Our dishes come out clean looking and not cloudy. It rates a “B” on EWG. They don’t test on animals and boast plant based packaging, biodegradable formulas, natural fragrances and naturally derived cleaning agents. Their website is very informative with a description of all their ingredients. I appreciate a company that is honest about the ingredients used in its products!
I have written a lot about my last two favorite products already but, I think they are worth mentioning still in my eco-friendly kitchen products list. I choose microfiber cloths for wiping down my counter tops and appliances. Typically, I use them without soap. As I mentioned in my “Microfiber Cloth” article, they work effectively with just water. But if my kitchen is particularly grimey, I use a bit of “Dr. Bronners Castile Soap”. Remember, a little goes a long way. I also use “Dr. Bronners” to make homemade hand soap and it can be used to make dish soap as well, which is definitely on my “to do” list. It is an amazing product earning a grade of “A” with the EWG.
What are your favorite eco-friendly kitchen products? I am always looking for new ones to try! Can’t wait to hear from you!
Until next time,