Just a reminder– If you haven’t done it yet, make sure that you visit last week’s recipe carnival to find some inspiration for completing the last Baby Step!

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So far in this Baby Steps series, we’ve talked a bit about toiletries (toothpaste), food preparation (using dry beans), and cooking nutritious food (making a list of healthy, convenient meals)… now it’s time to try a different area.

You’ll notice that I’m going to float around from topic to topic in this series, because I am trying not to wear you out or overwhelm you in any one area. That would defeat the purpose (which is to give you encouragement as you put into practice small, manageable steps towards healthier and more natural living).

And may I just say that to all of you who have been with me so far and have been implementing or working towards these baby steps, you’re all amazing! Each of these steps may not seem like a big deal in and of itself, but with every little change you make, you are further and further down the road to more natural living, less toxins in your home and on your body, better nutrition… doesn’t it feel good???

This week’s baby step is: To choose one household cleaner that you can replace with a less toxic and more environmentally friendly option.

Why this step is important:

To quote from an earlier post of mine on Natural Household Cleaners:

-They’re full of toxic chemicals (why else would they be harmful to drink, breathe in the fumes of, touch, etc.?)

-They can have harmful effects on our bodies, anything from a mild
rash, hives, breathing difficulties, headaches, to more moderate
effects, such as severe burns, to long term effects, such as being
carcinogenic (cancer-causing) or causing hormone disruption

– They can combine with other chemicals in another cleaning product to make even more dangerous fumes and toxins

– Some chemicals threaten water quality, fish and other wildlife

-Many are petroleum based, which further depletes our natural resources

-Most contain dyes and/or perfumes, both of which can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation

How to get started with it:

Below, I’m going to give you a list of links to posts on what different bloggers use for their natural cleaning, as well as the simple cleaners that some of them make. I will also leave links to a few sites for particular brands of more natural cleaners that I know of and/or like to use, and also to some books that discuss more on the topic and that have good information on cleaning using simple, non-toxic ingredients (ie. baking soda, lemon juice, etc.).

All that I am suggesting for now is to choose one cleaner that you use regularly (it could be a kitchen or bathroom spray, windex, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, etc.) and find a replacement for it, whether it be a simple homemade recipe or a store-bought, “greener” cleaner.

Once you have done this and feel comfortable using your new product, you could then try to expand and find alternatives for other cleaners as well. If you are already using some natural products, try replacing any of the remaining items that you haven’t gotten to yet (stain removers, air fresheners, laundry softener, etc.) or try making your own cheaper homemade version of a store-bought cleaner!

Online Resources:

Housecleaning on a budget, Part 1 and Part 2– From Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking, both posts have simple ideas and recipes for making homemade cleaners

Natural alternatives for household productcs–  Also from Lindsay, some of the natural and frugal products she is currently using.

Tammy’s Homemade Scouring Powder– I make this powder and it works great!

Natural Household Cleaners Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3– My own series on choosing non-toxic cleaners, the cleaners that I prefer, where I get them, etc.

Clean and Green– An excellent compilation of natural cleaning supplies, their uses, and recipes or directions for cleaning practically anything (hat tip to Lindsay for finding this site)!

And here are a few brands of natural cleaners– there are many more out there, but this might get you started:

Biokleen– One of the brands that I use the most (I buy mine from Azure, for very reasonable prices)

LifeTree– Another one that I use sometimes

Seventh Generation– A bit pricey, but these seem to be widely available

Country Save– I’ve used and liked their laundry detergent

Shaklee– I haven’t used these myself, but I know many people swear by them!

Reading Resources:

Here are a few good books I know of, if you’d prefer to have a good resource to read and keep in your home.

Personally, I have the first one and the last two (though a couple others are on my list of books I want to buy!), but I’ve heard good reviews of the others.

Does anyone have any other great resources to pass on for this baby step? And as always, I would love to hear about your baby step victories!

(Image from allposters.com)

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