Gwen Leron: 50 Shades of Green


How to Educate Yourself On Cleaning Product Ingredients

Plus, Three Important Tips For Cleaning With Babies and Young Children Around

How to Educate Yourself On Cleaning Product Ingredients

Like many parents, my "eco-epiphany" happened after I had kids. The overwhelming desire to protect them from any type of danger, including toxins in the home, set in strongly. Making the decision to green everything in the home can be an extremely daunting task, so I took it slowly. I always recommend starting out with small and easy changes and then moving on to the bigger ones. One of the small changes I started with was changing the cleaning products I used, mainly because of how toxic regular cleaners can be to babies and young children, but also because they are much better for the environment.

Nowadays, eco-cleaners are easy to find, they cost pretty much the same as regular cleaners, and they work just as well, in some cases even better. But before we switch our cleaners, the big question many of us face is: How am I supposed to know what type of cleaner is truly green and safe? With greenwashing being so prevalent, this is an extremely valid concern.

How to Educate Yourself on Cleaning Product Ingredients

In my case, I spent many late nights researching ingredient lists and searching for information about every single ingredient in those lists. In some cases, much of what I found was scary—I was really using that product in my home? With my kids around? Some of the info I read was shocking, but the good news is that I took the time to do the homework and make changes. It’s never too late to start. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Many cleaner manufacturers do not disclose their full ingredient list on their labels, so when you are in doubt about something, don't be afraid to get in touch with the company to ask the important questions.
  • The obvious also comes into play when reading ingredient labels. If there are any ominous words such as "Poison" or "Danger," you should steer clear. Other warnings such as the product being a skin irritant or flammable should also raise red flags.

But what if you simply don't have the time to research individual ingredients? Seventh Generation—an eco-company whose mission is to inspire a revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations, and Healthy Child Healthy World—one of the top non-profit voices in children’s environmental health (and one of my regular go-to resources for information), has made it easy for you by launching their Healthy Baby Home Parties.

Healthy Home Baby Parties are designed to enlighten you and your friends with resources and tools to educate yourself on what is safe and what is not. It’s as simple as applying to host a Seventh Generation Healthy Baby Home Party (it's free!) and gathering your friends for a fun learning experience. When you receive your party kit, it will come with product samples, information, educational materials, and party planning tools.

Also included in the kit are helpful tips and facts to empower you when it comes to creating a cleaner and safer home environment for your little ones. Here is a sample of the types of helpful tips you will receive in your Healthy Home Baby Party Kit:

1. Remove your shoes before walking in the house.

Most people don’t usually give much thought when they walk through the house with shoes that were worn outdoors. According to the Healthy Home Baby Party Kit, roughly 70% of household dust, pests, pollutants, and dirt are tracked indoors on the bottom of your shoes. If you stop to think about it, do you really want your baby or young children playing on a floor that contains those things? I don’t. Ask your guests to remove their shoes after they enter your home and place mats around the entrance to encourage them to wipe their shoes. And don't forget to clean the mats on a regular basis.

2. Clean floors with an eco-friendly cleaner.

Little ones spend a lot of time on the floor crawling and playing, so it's a good idea to keep your floors clean with safe cleaners and to vacuum twice a week with a HEPA filter. Doing this rids the home of chemical-laced dust. Seventh Generation sent me their biodegradable and non-toxic hardwood cleaner to try and it's pretty amazing. Don’t have hardwood? They also make an all-purpose cleaner (I have been using this particular cleaner for a few years now with great success!) that is great for any surface in your home, including floors.

3.  Use a Phosphate-free laundry detergent.

Babies and endless loads of laundry go hand-in-hand, so when tackling those never-ending mountains, be sure to use an eco-friendly laundry detergent. Natural laundry detergents do not contain strong artificial fragrances or phosphates. Artificial fragrances are not safe for us, especially our little ones, and phosphates are extremely harmful to the environment when they get into our water system. For tough laundry stains, use a natural stain remover.

The easiest way to start on your green journey is by educating yourself and starting with something easy such as changing the cleaning products you bring into your home. Once take that one baby step, everything else will snowball and it will all soon become second-nature.

Host your own Seventh Generation Healthy Baby Home Party!

The Healthy Baby Home Party program is designed to give you resources, tips, and tools to educate yourself, your friends, and family members on how to take easy steps towards reducing chemicals in your home and in the environment.

Apply today for your FREE kit and you’ll receive samples, plus everything you need to learn how to clean green!