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Recently, a study was published in the UK on the effects of cleaning supplies on the respiratory system over the course of 20 years. The results found that frequent exposure to cleaning supplies caused a decrease in lung function over time. At the same time, the CDC and FDA admit that some “approved” ingredients in our cleaning products are not necessarily safe for humans long-term. Today I’ve partnered with Jordan Thomas from The Poppy and Pine Co. to explain some of these cleaning products and to share some essential oil alternatives!
What new research tells us
New data from a twenty year-long study (published May 2018) sheds new light on our cleaning product ingredients and how they affect the human body long-term. Professor Svanes from the University of Bergen and senior researcher on the study stated that,
While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are becoming increasingly well-documented, we lack knowledge of the long-term impact.
This impact on the lungs is compared to that of smoking 10 cigarettes a day for 20 years.
Yet we come into contact with approximately 10-20 toxic cleaning products per day.
What’s in our soap?
Today, most hand soaps have about 18 ingredients. These include red dye (linked to cancer and hyperactivity), triclosan (admitted by the FDA to have unknown effects on human health), and phthalates (chemicals in perfumes that have been shown to “affect the reproductive system” of lab animals) to name a few. Over half of the other ingredients, you cannot even pronounce.
What about the cleaning products you use on your clothes, your dishes, and your surfaces?
Some toxic ingredients in your cleaning supplies
Quarternary ammonium compounds (quats)
Found in multi-purpose cleaning sprays – Upon inhalation and skin contact, this chemical can cause damage to red blood cells and liver in animals.
5 Essential Oil Alternatives to Cleaning Products
Now that you know a little more about what’s in your products, let’s talk about some alternatives! In my post on safe essential oils for kids and babies, I explained how essential oils can trigger responses in the human body just as plants can trigger responses to their environment.
Some known antibacterial essential oils are tea tree oil, oregano, lavender, and peppermint. Using essential oil blends and affective carriers, you can create your own safe, healthy alternatives to common household cleaning products!
(All oils mentioned in this post are available for purchase through Jordan Thomas from Young Living)
Well hi sweet readers! I’m so very excited for this opportunity to partner with Emily in bringing you some easy recipes to help you kick toxins out of your home and to give you the peace of mind that what you’re using on or around your family is safe.
Before you start, an excellent tool to see if the products you have in your home are good to use is an app called “Think Dirty.” When I first downloaded it, I went running through my house like a madwoman seeing what I needed to slowly change over to a non-toxic alternative vs. what needed to be thrown out ASAP.
The app rates products on a toxicity scale of 0-10, 0 being totally clean and 10 being toxic. I appreciate this app because it tells you exactly what’s in it and what the risk of using those ingredients. Don’t be discouraged though if your home is filled with Clorox and Lysol, because mine was filled with lots of icky chemicals before I made the conscious effort to be aware of what toxins were in my home and how those toxins were affecting my body. Making the switch is a slow process, especially if you’re trying to do it on a budget!
Why Young Living?
My first step in switching over to a non-toxic lifestyle was investing in Young Living essential oils and it has made making the switch MUCH easier for me. I truly believe these little plant powerhouses are affective and do benefit me. Therefore they were worth saving up and budgeting for. I chose Young Living because I trust the purity, and I wanted to be totally sure that I wasn’t building my new non-toxic cleaning and personal care products with ingredients that are also toxic, as a lot of store bought oils can be.
Do your own research and if Young Living is something you’re interested in doing, follow this link. I would be thrilled to have you join my team and introduce you to a whole community of like-minded individuals who are all pursuing non-toxic living and want to come alongside you to encourage you towards that end.
5 Essential oil alternatives
Below is a list of five of the products I felt were the most important to switch over to non-toxic alternatives. Follow along on my Instagram page @thepoppyandpineco and let me know what you try out!
1. LAUNDRY DETERGENT
This was the first product I felt was important to change over since, like most people, I wear clothing daily and whatever I wash them with is coming in contact with my skin 24/7. Store bought laundry detergent is so nasty and full of chemicals, including some that Emily mentioned above. Below is the recipe I use and it is soo easy. It smells amazing and always leaves my clothes feeling so fresh and clean!
- Bring 5 cups of water to a boil
- Pour washing soda (2/3 cup) into a glass bowl then slowly stir in 2 cups of water until washing soda is completely dissolved.
- Add one tablespoon of baking soda at a time while stirring constantly in order to fully combine the mixture. Total amount of baking soda should be about 3-4tbs.
- Stir in ½ cup Castile soap and then slowly stir in the remaining 3 cups of boiling water. I added 10 drops of Citrus Fresh essential oil at this point but you can use any essential oil of your choice.
- Cool to room temperature. (Mixture should separate)
- Combine separated mixture by using a blender or mixer (we have a nutra-bullet and this worked GREAT!)
- Store detergent in glass jar (I use a large mason jar) and use about 1/3 cup per load.
2. DRYER SHEETS
As a follow up to Laundry detergent, I believe that fabric softener or softener sheets should not be allowed in ANY home because they are so full of chemicals and this switch is SO easy and cheap. There are many amazing DIY recipes for dryer sheets but I think easier is best with this one! I use wool dryer balls and add a couple drops of Lavender Essential oil to freshen my laundry. I’ve had the same set forever and they work great! Here are some great wool dryer balls from Amazon!
3. MULTI-PURPOSE CLEANERS
Before Young living I had different cleaners for everything. One for the kitchen, one for tables, one for glass, one for windows and one for bathroom surfaces. Now I just use Thieves household cleaner for EVERYYYYTHING. I buy this from Young Living and IT. IS. AMAZING.
I got my starter kit from Young Living months ago and am still using what I got from the sample packet that comes with it. It goes SO far which makes it super cost affective! This cleaner retails at 28.29 (wholesale is 22.00 if you sign up with the link I provided above) and to get the equivalent in Clorox Green Works (a “natural” cleaner) you’d have to pay $52. $52 to get it to go as far as Thieves cleaner! OR to try to get the same amount in Lysol, you would need TWENTY bottles, which would total nearly $80!
This cleaner smells like Christmas and makes cleaning for me actually enjoyable because the essential oils in it are therapeutic grade. I LOVE the way it smells. The whole situation is really a win win.
4. SINK SCRUBS (COMET, BAR KEEPERS FRIEND, ETC…)
These. Are. Nasty. I used to have to open every single window in my house on cleaning days because the fumes literally made me feel like dying. This hack is SO easy and so much better on my lungs!
- Sprinkle any surface you would use a scrub (sinks, oven trays, pans, etc…) with baking soda.
- Wet with apple cider vinegar to create a paste-like consistency.
- Use a LEMON instead of a sponge and scrub away!
THAT’S IT! Soo easy and so much easier on your lungs!
Again, this is another chemical that I just can’t deal with on cleaning days and again, the switch is SO easy. I used this the other day to bleach my white sink and it got all the stains out like magic!
To make a large batch:
- Combine 12 cups of water, ¼ cup lemon juice and 1 cup hydrogen peroxide.
- Put in a mason jar for laundry loads or add to a spray bottle for cleaning!
Thanks so much for reading through these and for giving thought to what you allow into your home. I hope this encourages you to take some steps towards non-toxic living and overall wellness. Please feel free to message me over on Instagram with any questions you may have!
wife, dog mom, believer, young living consultant
Hi friends, I’m Jordan! I’m a wife to Josiah, dog mom to Oak, and follower of Jesus. My husband and I live in Lubbock, TX in an old home with lots of built in shelving and lopsided doorway. We spend most of our time rating local restaurants by their chips and queso and playing outside with our dog. I began this journey towards non-toxic living in an attempt to pursue wellness on a more broad spectrum for mine and my husband’s health. I think it’s so important to have a grasp on how toxins affect our bodies and emotions and to diligently find ways that we can limit them with just a little knowledge and discernment.
I’m super passionate about making this lifestyle doable and affordable and would love to have any of you come alongside me as I learn the best ways to pursue that!