How One Mom of School-Aged Children Became a Cleaning Product Convert

Photo courtesy of honest.com

I have a friend who for years didn't want to hear much about my thoughts on the chemicals in our homes. She recently told me that she has swithed out all of her cleaning products and personal care products for healthier options. I was impressed. My friend has seven year old twins. Often parents of older children feel it's too late to make changes or that it will be too much of a hassle. I interviewed this mom to see how and why she finally made the switch:

1. Tell me about your kids, how old are they?
My boys are seven years old.  They love all things sports – in our house, it’s all sports all the time!  Needless to say, they are active kids and as a family, we are constantly on the move!

2. Since they were babies, what type of products have you tried to buy organic?
Since the boys were babies, we always bought organic dairy products.  They drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of cheese and eggs.  We found that buying organic dairy is very easy and it’s the one thing we have been consistent about. 

3. What did you used to feel when people suggested buying organic products was important? Did it seem too expensive, ineffective, unnecessary, logistically difficult?
I used to feel guilty….guilty because our home did not contain nearly as many organic products as I knew it should.  Mostly, I had the mindset that I grew up using certain household products and we’d be fine continuing to do the same. I was also fearful that with all of the germs my kids were exposed to in baby classes, at pre-school and other activities that using anything but the strongest household cleaners would be ineffective and my kids would get sick.  In hindsight, none of my reasons for falling back into the habits of my childhood were valid at all – I can now attest to that!

4. What made you decide to focus on buying natural and organic products for your home? Was it one article, one fact? What struck you as the most important new information?
I can’t recall the exact article that I read but it was something that was written on one of the many, many blogs I follow.  The article pointed to household products impacting growth in children and having carcinogenic effects.  My boys are, let’s just say, not giants.  I immediately hung on to this information and realized that if there was anything I could do to avoid exposing my children to toxins that would impact their growth and do many other scary things to their little bodies, I would.  So, on January 2nd, I got rid of every household cleaning product that was not natural and organic.  I took a quick trip to our local store and found everything we needed to use to clean our house in a safer way.  Now, I can go to sleep at night knowing that at least in our own home I am not exposing my two little guys to potentially harmful chemicals. 

5. What have you since decided to purchase for you home? Do you think it will be easy to continue to purchase this way?
Purchasing natural and organic cleaning products for our home has been a breeze.  We purchase mostly Method, Honest Company, and Seventh Generation products – all of which we can find at our local Target.  We have been using Method Hand and Dish Soap as well as the dishwasher detergent pods.  We also use Method countertop cleaners and bathroom cleaner.  I used to use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for everything.  I’ve since learned how bad that was for our family.  Now, a quick wipe with Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes and I know the job is done – and my kids are safe!  As for Laundry, we use either Honest Company detergent or Method Detergent.  However, when it comes to dryer sheets we use Honest Company exclusively. Our laundry smells just as clean as it once did and our clothing is just as soft.  And, our bathrooms and kitchen don’t look or smell any worse for the wear.  Finally, we also use Honest Company body products for our boys.  They use the Vanilla Orange scented body and hair wash and body lotion as well as the leave in conditioning spray.  The boys often tell me that their shampoo smells like cookies – I think that’s a good sign! These few small changes we made are ones that have become a habit and we don’t see going back to our old ways.

6. Have you or your boys noticed a difference in terms of scents, effectiveness, etc?
My boys are seven – they are oblivious to things like this.  However, I can tell you that they enjoy smelling the different varieties of hand soaps. However, from my perspective, I have noticed a difference – but in a good way.  Whereas I used to think that in order for our home to be clean it had to smell like harsh chemicals, I now know that the delicious smell of some of the products I talked about above are doing the trick.  Nobody in our house has gotten sick more often since January.  That tells me that whatever we are using to clean our home must be working just as well as the products we used to use.  Again, I have noticed a change for the better. 

7. What do you wish you knew earlier? What do you wish other people knew? What would you tell someone else who reminds you of you a year ago?
I’m not one to bug other people about things like this.  I know that I myself still have a lot to learn and many other changes that I know we have to make as a family to lead a more natural and organic lifestyle. That said however, my feeling is that you have to be ready to make a change.  Read about the benefits of natural and organic cleaning products.  I am convinced that once you spend the time to learn about the harmful effects that chemicals found in household products can have on your children (and parents too), people will make a change.  I don’t necessarily wish I knew anything earlier – I think I’ve known the information for quite some time.  I wish I acted earlier though.  Call it laziness, call it habit, call it whatever you want – but I am glad we made the change when we did.  It’s so easy to change brands.  The products we use are easy to find.  I would tell someone who reminds me of myself a year ago just how easy it was to make a change.  Really all it took was a few hours.  I spent an hour gathering my old, harmful cleaning supplies and putting them in a box to pack away and then going to the store and re-stocking our home.  It was smooth sailing from there.  Give it a try!!!