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Breathe Easy: Upgrade Your Household Cleaning Products

Rachel O'Reilly

By Courtney Ward

When I found out I was pregnant, I started to modify everything in my life to make sure I was living the healthiest way that I could. Once you know you are responsible for a little human, shit gets real. Good thing I had more than nine months to prepare, because I needed it.

One of the major changes I made instantly was eliminating chemicals in our household cleaning products. It’s incredible how many contain harmful ingredients from brands I thought I could trust.

After I had my baby, I'll admit I may have taken it too far (I’m just going to blame it on the hormones). I made my own baby wipes out of olive oil and paper towels, and bought these fancy little acrylic containers to display them in. Craziness ensued. Thank you to my family and close friends for not calling me out at the time. Unfortunately, these wipes were ineffective, and producing these on the regular was just not sustainable as a new mom. Clearly, I knew nothing about the amount of diaper changes that a newborn requires. It’s all about creating healthy adjustments that are realistic for your lifestyle. I ended up loving these natural wipes and, most importantly, learned to stick to making things I am good at, like chocolate chip cookies!

But, getting back to household cleaners. If you are into DIY and a want a simple, effective, chemical-free household cleaner that will work: Grab a spray bottle and add vinegar, water and lemon oil. It doesn't get much easier than that, and you will feel like Martha Stewart.

This site I found to be useful for researching products, when I had a free five minutes between diaper changes and meal prep, is the Environmental Working Group.

You can search, “laundry detergent” or “baby soap” if you are looking to find a new product and it will display options with ratings. You can also enter the names of your existing cleaners to see how they stack up. I researched my current products, and created a wish list on Amazon, all of which took me less than an hour. This made it easy to make the swap without thinking about it.

Operation: "Upgrade my Family’s household cleaning supplies” started with a slow phase-out of everything as it ran out during my pregnancy, and replacing it with an organic, safe alternative. And you can breathe easy -- oftentimes the alternatives were even cheaper than the name brands I had grown up with.

Here are some of our favorite supplies that are safe and do the trick:

I can’t say that I am perfect when it comes to household products. I still use bleach sometimes when cleaning the bathrooms, and Windex when those sticky hand prints cover our sliding glass doors. But, being a parent isn’t about being perfect, it’s about doing the best you can - and switching out a few products can put you on the path of creating a healthier home and planet.