Level Up Your Well-Being with Non-Toxic Spring Cleaning
I have a love-hate relationship with cleaning. I absolutely LOVE the end result of cleaning and how accomplished I feel when I’m done cleaning, especially if it’s a deep clean. But I dread the actual process of cleaning for no real reason other than not finding true joy in the activity. Despite the dread, I never put off cleaning for too long for some very important reasons:
I’m not a fan of bugs and rodents in my house (and if you don’t keep your place clean, especially from food and crumbs, these critters will be attracted.)
Cleaning helps support your immune system by getting rid of germs, dust, and mold (who doesn’t want to get sick less?!).
I don’t know about you, but I feel much less stressed when my house is clean and (relatively) tidy.
Whether you’re like me and clean your home to support your physical and mental well-being, or you are one of those (rare) individuals that cleans for the pure joy of it, or you are just now realizing that you need to embrace more frequent cleaning, I’ve learned a way to level up your clean routine: non-toxic cleaning products. I know it’s not a productivity hack or a secret trick to make cleaning more fun, but this simple change can have a huge impact on your health (and the health of those you love who live with you.)
Check out why you should make the switch to non-toxic cleaning products along with other tips for making a consistent cleaning routine more approachable!
Why Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Products?
One thing I never really considered when it came to cleaning was how it could negatively impact my health, until we talked with Kelly Love of Branch Basics in Episode 63 of the podcast. It turns out that volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds from chemicals used in many cleaning products are constantly emitting (whether or not the products are being used) and negatively impacting the air quality in your home. Studies indicate that air pollutants are up to five times higher indoors. What’s more, there are chemicals in common household cleaning products that are known allergens, carcinogens, neurotoxins, hormone disruptors, endocrine disruptors, asthmagens, etc. (you get the picture; these chemicals are no good!)
In addition to being better for your health, non-toxic cleaning products are better for the environment. This was actually how I first dabbled in non-toxic cleaning products as I was looking for products that were better for the environment. Many of these non-toxic brands have created products that require you to add their soap formulation to water from your faucet into a reusable spray bottle. I love knowing that I’m not adding to the waste in landfills and microplastics in our water. Plus, you’ll find that this often means that you spend less money on cleaning products.
Lastly, I’m sure you’re wondering about how “good” these products are at cleaning (I know I was skeptical at first.) I can say without hesitation that non-toxic products are just as good as the harmful ones. Obviously some are better than others, just as some conventional cleaning products are better than others, but if you read the reviews, you will find quality brands out there that won’t ask you to sacrifice effectiveness for better-for-you products. To make it even easier for you, I have highlighted three brands that I’ve tried, love, and still use.
Brands I Love and Why
While you can definitely find recipes online that detail how you can make your own natural, non-toxic cleaning products, I’ve found three amazing brands with products that work because they’ve done the research and testing to create the best non-toxic cleaning formulas. I love all of these brands because they showed me that I do not have to sacrifice quality and effectiveness for healthy (aka non-toxic) and eco-friendly products.
Branch Basics - I was first introduced to Branch Basics when I was gifted their concentrate and oxygen boost. I honestly intended to use it up and then go back to the other brands that I loved. But I’ve already bought more oxygen boost and will buy more concentrate when I finally get through the bottle. So many things to love about this brand. First, they have done rigorous research and testing on their products, like obsessive testing for quality and effectiveness. Second, they share SO MUCH free information on their website about non-toxic living that goes beyond cleaning and their cleaning products. Third, their products work. And fourth, you get a lot out of the bottle of concentrate; it’s truly impressive how many bottles of different cleaning products you can get out of their one bottle of concentrate.
Blueland - This brand caught my eye when I was searching for eco-friendly and sustainable cleaning products. Their brand story really spoke to me, and their pricing made it easy for me to try them out when they launched in 2019. Their products live up to the hype, and I get a secret joy out of “making” a new bottle of cleaner when I run out because they have fun tablets that fizz when added to the water (it’s the little things.) I’ve even fallen in love with their foaming hand soap (their first personal/body care product), which has made me strangely happy with all this pandemic hand-washing.
Meliora - This Chicago-based brand was what first sold me on the quality of non-toxic cleaning products. I fell in love with their laundry powder and stain removal soap stick years ago when I was looking for an eco-friendly laundry detergent. These products are even better than some of the conventional products I used to use that are advertised as being stain fighters. Once I used it, I realized that I didn’t need or want fragrance in my detergent. Side note: I’ve never used their home cleaning products, but would still recommend them given how effective and safe their laundry products are.
Open your windows. - We learned from Kelly Love in our episode with her that opening your windows for just 10 minutes a day helps immensely with your indoor air quality. It’s even more important to open them up if you are cleaning with any products that have harmful chemicals. Plus, I love doing this while cleaning to get a free, natural freshening up of the air in my home.
Break “Spring Cleaning” or other deep cleanings down into smaller tasks and spread the tasks over multiple days. - When I want to do more of a deep clean that includes organizing closets, cleaning baseboards, washing windows, etc., I will write down all the different “jobs” that make up the deep clean. From there, I spread these jobs across multiple days so I don’t feel like I have to spend a full weekend doing the deep clean. Instead, I feel super accomplished by spending an hour or two a day for a few days and still get the deep clean done.
Set a timer for the tasks that seem never ending and move on when the timer goes off. - We learned this tip from podcast guest and author Erin Ruddy, and it is a game changer when it comes to tidying up. I do this for tasks that either seem too daunting to tackle or I know will suck me in. I set a timer for 10 minutes and do as much of the task (like organizing my junk drawer) before the timer goes off. When it goes off, I stop and move on. It keeps things manageable and keeps me from procrastinating.
Turn on some good music. - This one comes from my childhood. We would always do Saturday morning chores while cranking some tunes. I didn’t realize it when I was young, but I now understand the power of music to turn my cleaning time into a productive dance party.
Toss the toxins. - While you’re cleaning things up, add tossing the toxic products to your checklist. Branch Basics has a fantastic guide on their website on where to start with getting rid of the toxins in your home. Insider tip: if you have conventional cleaning products that you don’t want to throw out/waste, then get an airtight sterilite container and put those products in there (and preferably put the container outside.) This helps improve your home’s air quality. And when you use those products, make sure to open the windows and have proper ventilation.
Get help. - Don’t be the only one in your home doing the cleaning. If you have a partner, give them some of the cleaning duties. If you have children over a certain age, they can help too (I’m half-convinced that’s why my parents had four kids.) And if you can afford it, even consider hiring a cleaning service for help with a monthly deep clean.
I know the health and wellness world can be overwhelming at times. And it can feel like every time you turn around there is something you have been doing that’s bad for your health or a new thing to try to improve your well-being. What I love about non-toxic cleaning products is that this is a relatively small step that can pay off in big ways for your health. Who doesn’t love a small change with no sacrifice and all gain?