I'm back from my weekend away and settling back in. Time for the next declutter your home and mind challenge. This week's challenge is to clean out your cleaning supplies! It is becoming more and more clear how many harmful chemicals are lurking in the cleaning products in our cupboard. Time to clean up our health and clean up our environment by cleaning OUT these products!
DeClutter your home and mind challenge day 17-29 (Jan. 17-29)
This week's challenge: Open your cleaning cupboard and look for these ingredients:
A great resource for finding out the safety of your product is provided by the Environmental Watch Group: EWG.org Type your product into the search bar and find out it's rating on the watch scale (from A - F).
If your product is not included on the site look at the list above. Pay particular attention to "Fragrance". Fragrance is considered a trade secret, and therefore this allows companies to hide possibly harmful ingredients under this category without having to fully disclose what it contains.
My cleaning supply clean out
Step One: Take everything out and clean the shelves... Yuck
All I needed to clean this cupboard to a shine was the Norwex Dusting mitt, the EnviroCloth and water. It got all the scuff marks off as well as all the dried on cleaning product that had spilled.
Step Two: Analyze the products and purge
This was not the easiest thing to do because many of the products I had were not listed in the EWG tool. As well many of the products did not even have a list of ingredients on them, so I had to use my best judgement. I knew the Norwex products were safe, so they got to stay automatically. Anything that had the word "Fragrance" in the ingredient list got put in the "to-go" box.
In the end there were 12 bottles of various product that had to go. A few only scored mildly bad, but since they were scented and I had a safer Norwex solution I put them in the to-go box anyway.
A couple of my products had quite a bad safety score.
Here is a helpful list from the Environmental Watch Group: Cleaners Hall of Shame
Step Three: Consolidate
I had three separate boxes of freezer bags, and four containers of Norwex Laundry detergent.
The bags all got consolidated into one box (and moved to a drawer in the kitchen). I made a mental note that these bags may be on the chopping block later in the year as we are trying to move entirely to freezing our meals in glass containers.
As much of the laundry detergent that would fit got poured into the large glass jar I have for this purpose (from the days when I was making my own homemade laundry detergent).
Step Four: Put it all back, organized
The Finished Product
After organizing I actually had room to fit some products that had been under the sink as well.
In cleaning this cupboard I found 2 bonus items that I've also gotten rid of:
1. A bag of suckers, from who knows when. We likely collected them at some parade, or possibly Halloween. Since we are trying hard to reduce processed sugar, my husband will bring the suckers to his high-school students and use them for rewards.
2. A razor that looks about 100 years old. I have no idea where this came from or why we have it. My husband apparently wants it though, so he has taken it to put with his stuff (Too bad it doesn't count towards the quota... yet. Time will tell if it ends up on the chopping block later in the year).
Further Bonus: Found Toys
Made the kid's day because hiding on top of this cupboard was their beloved lightsaber (missing for at least a year - possibly two), as well as their home made volcano which has not been exploded for years. Both have been relocated and the volcano is set to explode tomorrow after purchasing a new bottle of vinegar!
Final Step: What to do with the to-go products?
This was a hard one. No matter what I chose to do these products will end up in the environment. Even just throwing them in the dump will cause contamination.
I thought I could maybe keep them anyway, use them until they ran out and not repurchase, but I did not want them contaminating my home. We already have issues with asthma and allergies here and reducing the use of chemical cleaners in our home has drastically helped with both these issues.
I know that there are many people who are still using these types of products, and will continue to do so even after reading the research against them. I figured the best thing to do was to pass them onto someone else who is still purchasing them (it would save them money, cause them to purchase less product since they'd be using my left-overs, and maybe they will consider why I am cleaning them out of my home and plant the seeds of healthier cleaning in their consciousness as well).
With that in mind I decided to gift my 12 bottles of cleaning products to a wonderful woman I know who runs a cleaning business and has often helped me with my household cleaning as well.
Cindy Stewart is a mom of 5, wife, daughter and owner of Sunbeam Yoga. She is an RYT and has a passion for sharing yoga with children.