When Whole Foods announced their new 365 household products, including for laundry, household cleaning, and kitchen, we were thrilled.
Whenever possible, we seek out green options.
They provided us with some samples to review for their eco-friendly and green dish soap.
Until recently, when it mysteriously disappeared, I was loyal to my Method Dish Soap in Pink Grapefruit.
Sure – the bottle was a little awkward – but a bottle would last a really long time and was relatively inexpensive.
I would have preferred dye-free dish soap, but I loved the pink grapefruit smell.
But it’s gone, and we were in search of another green dish soap when Whole Foods told us about their new line: 365 Dish Soap.
365 Dish Soap Review of green dish soap Whole Foods
Green Dish Soap Price
The 365 Brand Dish Soap comes in three options: unscented, Mandarin Ginger, and Citrus.
Strangely the Mandarin Ginger was priced higher than the other two for the same quantity so we opted for the Citrus.
Whole Foods picked up the tab for the bottle, but since I wouldn’t likely spend more of my own money on a different scent I wasn’t going to spend theirs either.
It was priced competitively with the Seventh Generation dish soaps.
Scent and Texture
The citrus smell has a slight citrus smell to it and is not overpowering in anyway.
It’s much closer to being un-fragrance than to being over-fragrances.
It is dye free and doesn’t leave the hands too dry.
Crucial for those of us living in cold and dry winter wonderlands.
I do not want to have to slather my hands with lotion — more chemicals oftentimes — every time I do dishes or scrub a pan.
How Well Does the Dish Soap Work?
The 365 Dish Soap is extremely effective.
It removes both the grease and eggs from our stainless steel cookware as effectively as any other green dish soaps we’ve used.
My only complaint is that the soap is either extra runny or the hole is too big.
Resulting in more dish soap coming out of the bottle in one squirt than is actually needed.
When you turn the bottle over the soap comes pouring out without even having to squirt.
This reminds me of when I buy certain salad dressings and some of the brands and lids have a small hole from which to dispense the dressing and it comes out slowly and others do not have any plastic covering over the lid/hole and out pours more than you could ever eat.
I like that the bottle is not overly large because I don’t like, nor do I have room to store, large quantities of anything in my modest-sized home.
I am never someone who is going to mix together my own “recipes” for chemical-free cleaning products or buy a large quantity of the solution and have to dilute with water.
So when I can find some eco-friendly cleaning products that work, I’m happy.
I’m doing whatever I can to eliminate chemicals and toxins from my home so it is important to consider products you use most often, and then get the best and “healthiest” of those products whenever possible.
Update since reviewing this green dish soap Whole Foods:
One way to find healthy products is to look for the Environmental Protection Agencies’ new “Safer Choice” logo on the product.
After a lengthy and thorough process by EPA scientists, over 1,000 products have been deemed safe from potential health and environmental risks.
Another great place to check is the GoodGuide.
Overall, if you are a Whole Foods shopper, it is definitely worth checking out the 365 Brand of green products, including household cleaning supplies and their green dish soap.
The brand is competitively priced and work as well as their brand name counterparts.
Spring cleaning in easy steps
The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the house is covered in a dull film of winter.
It’s spring, and it’s time to spruce up the home front with a good purge and scrub.
Clean faster and better with these tips for spring cleaning in 8 easy steps.
Guide to Going Green for Busy Mothers
As you dive into spring cleaning, be sure to follow these simple steps to make your cleaning low-impact and more environmentally friendly.
The first step of any spring cleaning is to get rid of the junk you accumulated in the last 9 months.
And the stuff you haven’t missed all winter and therefore, can probably live without.
When you’re purging, you might be tempted to trash everything, but resist the urge.
There’s are greener ways to deal with your unwanted items.
Re-Use or Repurpose Unwanted Items
Don’t get rid of anything you know you’ll use again.
This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s tempting to throw everything away and start over again.
This is your chance to be creative.
Think about ways you can repurpose unwanted items.
Recycle the Recyclables
For belongings and boxes that are beyond reusing, make a recycling pile and a trash pile.
Double check your city’s list of recyclables, then get to work sorting through your trash.
Some progressive cities have drop-off bins for cardboard and other easy-to-recycle materials.
Have a Yard Sale
A garage sale is one of the easiest ways to purge your house of unnecessary items, and it has the bonus of bringing in some cash.
Immediately take whatever doesn’t sell to your nearest Salvation Army or Goodwill or other secondhand store.
Whatever you do, don’t bring the items that didn’t sell back into your home and garage.
If a yard sale is too much work for you, post your belongings on Craigslist or freecycle.
These things all take time. Sometimes you want stuff gone immediately.
In these cases, take it to an organization for their upcoming rummage sale, or drop your things off at Goodwill, which makes it very convenient.
Take your books to the library.
Bring school and office supplies to your local school.
Basically, anything decent deserves a home.
Now that you’ve decluttered your life, it’s time for the real hard work — cleaning.
Before you rush to the store to stock up on cleaning supplies and paper towels, read these tips to save money and the environment.
Use or Make Green Cleaning Products
If you’re into store-bought cleaning products, check out greener brands like Method and Seventh Generation.
But if you’re up for making your own products, you can save a lot or money.
My favorite natural cleaning products are baking soda and vinegar, but there are tons of ways to use other non-toxic cleaners.
Check out Non-Toxic Home Cleaning for ideas.
Forgo Paper Towels for Old Rags
Paper towels are terrible for the environment.
According to Care2, their production kills 1.4 million trees every year.
So pass on the paper towels and opt for reusable rags made of old towels, t-shirts, socks, and any other cloth you find lying around.
Give New Life to Walls with Low-VOC Paint
If painting your walls — or anything else — is on your spring cleaning list, go for low-VOC paint.
It’s less smelly, better for your health, and better for the environment.
Plus, the quality of low-VOC paint has gotten better over the years and now it’s just as good and the non-eco alternative.
Prepare the Yard for Spring
If you’re feeling ambitious enough to take your spring cleaning outside, follow these simple, eco-friendly tips to get your yard ready for spring.
Compost Your Leaves
The best way to get rid of those leaves left over from last fall is to throw them in the compost bin.
If you don’t currently compost, you can build your own compost bin.
At the very least, be sure to use paper leaf bags instead of plastic garbage bags; many cities require them now and they’re better for the environment.
Skip Weed Killers
Yes, dandelions can be pests.
I spent a good 5 hours last year with a manual weeder uprooting the pesky weeds, but it was worth it.
The chemicals in spray weed killers are bad for your health, your children’s and pets’ health, and the environment.
If you really want to use a weed killer, opt for a natural alternative.
Install a Rain Barrel
Prepare your yard for spring by adding a rain barrel or two.
That way you won’t waste water when you water your plants.
Instead, you can reuse rain water.
Consider setting up a rain garden as well.
What are your green spring cleaning tips?
By using these spring cleaning in 8 easy steps ideas, you will be on the way to a more organized and less cluttered home.
Green Spring Cleaning Checklist
In most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, spring has arrived!
Time to throw open the windows and let some fresh air into your home.
It’s also a great time to organize, recycle unused items, and yes, clean.
We created this green spring cleaning checklist to help you get started.
We’ll start with my least favorite of the three: spring cleaning.
There’s no reason to use harsh chemicals that have the potential to hurt your pets, children, and the environment.
We’ll show you how to get your spring cleaning done in a green spring cleaning manner for eco-friendly homes.
Here are The Top Green Cleaning Products, Click here for Pro Tips on How to Clean Your Home
Guide to Going Green for Busy Mothers
Vinegar and water are your friend!
And if that’s the only thing you remember from this post, you’ll be in good shape.
Vinegar is a primary green cleaning solution for multiple uses.
To dust all household surfaces, mix a few tablespoons of vinegar with a bowl of water, soak a dishrag, wring it out, and dust.
The water will clean the dust off, and the vinegar will help the furniture surfaces repel dust in future.
Don’t forget to take books out of bookshelves to dust those surfaces as well!
Walls and ceilings:
Use your vacuum extension to clean corners, walls, and around the corners of ceilings, then use a damp cloth (water is fine, or your vinegar solution) to wipe down walls.
Baseboards are an often-forgotten part of the wall that gets the dirtiest!
Draperies and curtains:
Most drapes and window treatments are machine washable, which makes the hardest part about cleaning them climbing up on a step ladder to get them down.
Don’t do what I do, and teeter precariously on a chair.
Run them in a delicate cycle with eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Carpets and rugs:
This is the time to deep clean your carpets with a steam cleaner.
They are available to rent, borrow, or buy, but instead of filling the cleaning compartment with the chemical stuff, use — you guessed it — water and vinegar.
This time, however, you’ll want equal parts of both ingredients.
Use the steam cleaner as directed, washing and rinsing (with plain water).
When the carpet dries, the vinegar smell will disappear.
Aren’t bathrooms the worst?!
Clean them with a solution of borax (which can be found in your supermarket for a fraction of the cost of heavy-duty commercial cleaners) and water with lemon juice.
Be patient: it will take juice longer to cut through grease and grime than you’re used to with chemicals, but it will get the job done.
Organizing Green Spring Cleaning
Now is the time to go through your kitchen cupboards and organize pots and pans, your closets to sort clothing (especially if you have kids who rapidly grow out of sizes), and your garage.
Perhaps to finally make room for the car?
With all of the great organizers out there these days it can make this whole process go pretty smoothly.
Additionally, spring cleaning is a great time to check or organize the following:
Defrost your freezer, and clean your refrigerator:
It’s not a fun task, I know, but you just might find a pint of Ben & Jerry’s you’d hidden from your spouse and kids in the process.
Plan ahead for freezer defrosting, eating your way through frozen items in the weeks beforehand, or making room for them in a smaller freezer.
Clean your fridge with the same water and vinegar solution you applied to your dusting efforts.
Check smoke detector batteries and replace incandescent light bulbs with energy saving bulbs.
You may also consider purchasing a carbon monoxide detector while you’re at it: they’re affordable, plug in to a wall outlet, and save lives.
Spring marks the start of yard sale or tag sale season, and now’s the time to get ready by identifying and reserving those household items you wish to recycle.
Maybe it’s time to go through the old DVD collection now that your stream your movies, or perhaps your kids have outgrown toys that now add clutter to their rooms.
Sort outgrown clothing and household items, and box them for a future yard sale, or consider donating them to a children’s shelter or Goodwill (you can even get a tax deduction for donating).
Another option that allows items to be reused: list them as free on Craigslist.
We’ve met a number of nice families in our communities by paying it forward with items we no longer need.
According to Martha Stewart (we might as well ask the expert!), you’ll need to tackle the following on your spring cleaning to-do list.
Using a green spring cleaning checklist will make you feel good about cleaning.
What’s on your spring cleaning to-do list?
Share your green cleaning solution tips!
Natural Moisturizer: Best Eco-Friendly Natural Lotion for Home and Travel
I’ve spent many hours researching non-toxic alternatives to traditional lotions and facial moisturizers.
I’ve tried quite a few options in the way of natural moisturizers.
My two criteria in my search for great lotion are:
It’s safe – something I can feel good about using every day
Not ridiculously expensive.
Here are the best natural, organic lotions around.
Bring your eco-friendly lotion with you wherever you go — even on vacations.
It’s a great way to helping you to green your hotel stay by not using the toiletries there, and you can continue to use products you know are safe.
Best Natural Lotion – Hand and Body
Burt’s Bees Naturally Nourishing Honey & Orange Body Lotion
Burt’s Bees has long been known for its commitment to creating healthy products and keeping its environmental impact low.
All products are paraben, phthalate, petrochemical, and sulfate-free.
This lotion has a refreshing, natural scent and is a great hand and body lotion.
Kiss My Face Olive Oil & Aloe Ultra Moisturizer
Kiss My Face is another company that’s committed to creating non-toxic personal care products.
This lotion is fragrance- and paraben-free.
It’s also fairly light and thin, and it’s not greasy at all.
Their Olive Oil & Aloe Moisturizer is great for the summer.
If you’re looking for a heavier, winter-ready lotion, try Kiss My Face Peaches and Cream Moisturizer.
California Baby Super Sensitive Everyday Lotion, No Fragrance
California Baby was making natural lotions before it was trendy to make natural lotions.
Their products focus on children, but they’re safe for babies, they’re safe for adults.
This lotion is free of fragrance, as well as nut oils, gluten, soy, oat and dairy.
It does contain 0.15% parabens as preservative.
Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion, Unscented
Like other Alba products, this lotion is full of natural, organic ingredients and paraben-free.
Plus, it’s unscented. It’s a lighter lotion, so if you’re looking for something to battle dry winters, you might want something thicker.
But at under $14 for 32 ounces of lotion, the price is right.
Hugo Naturals Red Tea & Ylang Ylang Body Lotion
Although the manufacturer (Hugo Boss) is a bit of a surprise, this lotion is free of artificial fragrances and colors, parabens, and petroleum by-products.
It also claims to be cruelty-free.
Natural Moisturizers – Facial
Natural Moisturizer – Facial Alba Sea Moss Moisturizer with SPF 15
Alba’s moisturizer isn’t tested on animals, contains certified organic ingredients, and is free of parabens and synthetic colors.
A plus for me is that the scent is very mild and it’s less expensive than similar facial moisturizers.
Nature’s Baby Organics Organic Face and Body Moisturizer
This fragrance-free lotion is made with 70% certified organic ingredients and is paraben and propylene glycol-free.
It’s also 100% vegan.
Plus, you can use it for the whole family, and the price is right.
Amazing Basic, Natural Face Moisturizer with Organic Honey and Vitamin E
If you’re willing to spend a little more on your natural facial lotion, this is the lotion for you.
It contains certified organic ingredients, is paraben-free and biodegradable, and is free of artificial fragrances, colors, and petroleum derivatives.
But its $36 price might be a turn-off.
100% Pure Caffeine Eye Cream, Organic Coffee Bean
This unique eye cream is free of parabens, petrochemicals, and artificial fragrances.
It uses caffeine-rich coffee and tea to reduce swelling and puffiness around the eyes.
It’s also made in the USA and not tested on animals.
Have you tried a great lotion that’s not on the list?
Do you bring your lotion and toiletries with you when you travel?
Share it in the comments below!
Hidden Toxins in Homes and How to Get Rid of Them
Hidden toxins in homes?
We’ve already eliminated the lead paint and asbestos… are there still more toxins?
Over the last several decades there has been an increasing awareness of them.
These toxins in homes reside in our everyday products, in everything from our food containers, pillows, toys, cleaning products, furniture, and more.
With so many of our everyday products being manufactured overseas, there is often less quality control.
However, with information now so readily available, it is important to seek out the research done by the experts.
There can be safer and healthier alternatives to some of our beloved products.
We’ve done the work for you… read on!
Top toxins in our homes and safer replacements
Bottled Water & Water Bottles
We can find disposable water bottles everywhere because they are so convenient and affordable.
We often select bottled water thinking it is the healthiest choice.
Some consumers buy caseloads of single-serve bottles, and use them exclusively.
Others use them as an easy to-go source when they are out and about.
Still others may buy them for guests, parties, and kids’ lunches.
Then of course, water bottles, the second type, may be used by the more environmentally-friendly consumer.
He or she is trying to do well by the earth and uses a plastic refillable bottle.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in some plastic water bottles and can leach into your water.
This includes bottled water you purchase as well as reusable plastic water bottles that you refill.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor linked to early puberty and cancer.
Drink water from the tap (see below) and drink it from a glass, not a plastic cup.
Buy a reusable glass water bottle or stainless steel water bottle.
Both are always free of BPA.
Food Storage Containers
The situation: So many people are happily and proudly forgoing plastic bags, especially in their children’s and their own lunches; however, they are replacing them with plastic food containers.
Yes, that saves on thousands of plastic bags filling our landfills, but the reusable plastic can harbor toxic chemicals.
There are also plastic storage containers used for leftovers, etc. in the home.
In addition, remember the plastic food containers that prepared food often comes in, as in frozen meals.
As with plastic water bottles, plastic food storage containers often contain the endocrine disruptor BPA.
For lunches, opt for stainless steel containers, like the LunchBots Quad Stainless.
They are dishwasher safe so you can safely clean them without toxins leaching out.
For left-overs at home, choose glass storage containers, like those made by Pyrex, instead of plastic.
If you do use plastic, never microwave it or use it to store hot food.
Click the following to learn about stainless steel lunch containers,
Nonstick pans are wonderful in that you don’t need to add extra oil or use chemically-derived, non-stick sprays when cooking.
Nonstick cookware contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical linked to cancer and liver disease.
Opt for stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead.
More info: Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set Showdown
We know vacuums are wonderful at removing dirt, lint, pet hair, and dust.
Their job is to make your home cleaner.
It is so important though, to be using the right kind of vacuum cleaner.
Rather than removing dust and toxins from your home, your vacuum cleaner may be stirring them up so you breathe them in.
Buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which will trap small particles and remove more toxins from the air.
Bonus: HEPA filters traps more allergens, too.
Personal Care Products
Most of us use personal care products everyday.
Most of the time, the products we use are ones we have bought for years, routinely — never questioning, much less thinking about — the hidden toxins and ingredients in them.
We go to the store, and we put them in our cart without ever thinking about their chemical makeup.
Personal care products like deodorant, toothpaste, makeup, and shampoo are very loosely regulated in the US, which means they often contain harmful chemicals.
The fix: Do your research with Good Guide and Skin Deep and buy products with fewer (or even better, no) harmful ingredients.
Or, if you have the time or interest, make your own personal care products.
Two surprises for me were two of my favorite products:
Dove bar soap and Off! insect repellent.
I love the white, unscented Dove bar soap.
I like that it doesn’t contain perfumes and dyes, and it always seemed hypo-allergenic as I never experienced any symptoms after using it.
I fully expected it to score at least an 8 or a 9 out of a possible 10 points for health/safety on Good Guide and was surprised to discover it scored a meager 4 points for the health concern of the ingredients.
It contains butylated hydroxytoluene, which they consider to be a “medium health concern.”
I usually buy Off!
insect repellent and was surprised to learn that within the same product line there so many differences when it comes to the “Health” of the ingredients.
Surprisingly, this was true of most brands of products I use.
For example, Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent Towelettes scored an 8/10 in Health.
However, the Off!
Family Care Insect Repellent Towelettes with Aloe Vera, Light & Fresh scored a frightening 0/10 in the Health category for the following reason: “This product contains problematic, banned, or contaminated ingredients.”
I would have assumed the “family” version was safest choice.
Going forward, I plan to check Good Guide for all of the healthcare products my family uses. I want to find out which ones score “10.”
If they don’t, I will look for alternative products.
More about looking up products on Good Guide
What is also very helpful in the Good Guide site is that they rank the health and safety of the products’ ingredients.
They also take it steps further by giving each company an overall grade to include the company’s environment and society rankings.
As stated above, it is remarkable how many differences there are in ingredients within the same brand and same type of product.
Do your research!
Have you ever considered what you may be drinking and cooking with every single day?
Another everyday toxin in homes may be your water.
Your tap water might be contaminated with dangerous pollutants.
Note that bottled water is not the answer; it’s often just tap water put into a wasteful plastic bottle containing BPA.
Bottled water makers don’t fully disclose the source or purity of their water.
Filter your water, either with a simple filter like a Brita pitcher, or with a reverse osmosis system.
How to Choose Healthy Water Bottle – 34 Resources
Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle Review BPA-free Bottles
Glass Water Bottles: BPA Free Water Bottles
Best Water Bottle with Filter
Filtered Water Bottle Review
Green Guide Plastics Cheat Sheet
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Plastics Cheat Sheet:
Baby Toys, Bottles & Personal Care
Chances are when it comes to baby, most of the things you are buying you have purchased new.
Many, if not most of them, are probably made from plastic.
Even more alarming, most of these newly purchased, plastic items are made in China and other countries with less-strict regulations.
When it comes to babies and children, it is so important to eliminate toxins in homes.
Teething toys and bottle nipples can contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates.
Bottles are often made with BPA.
Baby shampoos, diaper rash ointment and lotion can be chock full of harmful chemicals.
Formula cans can be lined with BPA.
Do your research.
Buy products made in the United States.
Buy natural baby toys made of wood, silicone, and rubber.
Use glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free baby bottles with silicone nipples.
Seek out options other than the standards sippy cups and plastic straws.
Look up your baby’s lotion, shampoo, and other personal care products on Skin Deep or Good Guide.
Another side note that cannot be overlooked: It is important to realize there can be BIG differences in the products you choose.
When I looked up Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly Jar for Baby, Creamy Formula, Enriched with Vitamin E, it scored a 10/10 in the “Health” category.
Yet Vaseline Baby Pure Petroleum Jelly Jar, Fresh Scent, scored a 6/10 for Health because of “insufficient ingredient information.”
More info: Best Natural and Green Baby Products
Pillows and Mattresses and Carpeting
The situation: When considering this category, I would have thought the hidden toxins in home pillows and mattresses would be the fact that I’ve kept them for too long, and that they would be filled with dust and dust mites.
Little did I know….Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and other toxic chemicals are widely used to prevent the spread of fire and are likely to be found in dozens of products in the home.
They have been used in products since the 1970’s in plastics; fabrics; foam in cushions, couches, beds and pillows, padding under the carpet, etc.; and electronics, including TV screens.
Since 2005, the PBDEs in foam furniture is no longer legal in the US; however, if you have products from before then — and most everyone does — you could be at risk.
Again, these would include everyday items that aren’t generally replaced, including mattresses, mattress pads, couches, easy chairs, pillows, car seats, carpet padding, and more. PBDEs were also used in vehicle seating, car seats, and office furniture.
The threat: Not many of us have replaced our mattresses and couches since 2005.
These, and our pillows too, all can contain PBDEs, which are chemical flame retardants linked to thyroid problems.
Exposure can be especially bad for babies and kids. PBDE can be passed to a baby through breast milk.
The fix: Buy and use pillows made from natural foam, wool, natural latex, buckwheat, organic cotton, or another natural material.
Buy an organic mattress.
Buy a new crib mattress.
Research the materials used before purchasing new couches and upholstered furniture.
Look for carpet pads that are certified for low VOC emissions and made with 100% new materials.
Ask about PBDEs and other hazardous materials.
Many carpet pads are made with waste and scrap materials so it is important to get information from a reputable source.
Natural fibers such as jute, horsehair, and felt and 100% sheep wool are generally safe.
Use caution when removing old carpet, and clean afterwards with a mop and quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
More info: Shopping Tips for Green Products
Household Cleaning Products
We use them to make our home and living environment cleaner and healthier.
How can it be that this is another area that we have to wonder about and even worry about?
Have you ever thought about what you are spraying?
What are you and your family breathing in when you clean?
Cleaning products from dishwasher and laundry detergents to all-purpose cleaners are virtually unregulated.
And companies that make those products aren’t required to disclose their ingredients.
Which means that many contain harmful chemicals.
Buy natural cleaning products from eco-minded brands you trust.
Use the Guide to Healthy Cleaning and Good Guide to check your products.
Or learn to make your own green cleaning products.
It is fairly easy to do.
Easy to remove most hidden toxins in homes
The remedy for most of these toxins is education.
Research your favorite products, buy glass storage containers, buy a water filter and a stainless steel water bottle, make your own cleaning products.
When you are armed with information, it will become easier to almost permanently remove the harmful toxins.
Overhaul your home with simple changes
Make a list of what you can change and start to remove hidden toxins in homes.
Others you may not be able to change as easily, like the carpet padding.
However, perhaps you can purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Overall, the goal is to live healthier.
Make simple changes like using a stainless steel or glass water bottle instead of buying plastic throwaway bottles; buying safer and more environmentally-friendly health care products, like toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo; and using glass storage containers instead of plastic for leftovers.
Remember that many hidden toxins in homes can be easily replaced with safer alternatives.