Toxic to Clean: Kitchen

What do we do in the kitchen? We prepare food, eat it, clean up…repeat.

Hopefully the water rinses off the food AND the cleaning products we use. I began questioning the “tried and true” commercial cleaning methods when my middle son was a newborn.

At about 3-4 weeks old he was diagnosed as colic.

He screamed…. so much. It was exhausting, heartbreaking and terribly hard on my family.

I went into research mode, as one does. By 6 weeks old he was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, which was causing his pain, the blood in his stool and the rash on his face, neck and chest.

During the hours of shushing, bouncing, pacing, swaying, sings, crying (both of us) — I would hold his pacifier in my mouth. Don’t worry… the back end!

One particular moment, I noticed the taste of soap in my mouth. We used regular dish soap to clean all the things, but his pacifier had not been properly washed off! It got me questioning what exactly was in the soap and cleaners we use in the kitchen.

Are they really all that healthy for us to ingest?

There are helpful apps and websites out there to help you determine what products to use or not use in your home. I encourage you to look up your products and make an informed decision for yourself. Synthetic ingredients to read about and look out for are:

  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • 2-Butoxyethanol
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phenols

I feel like the research on this topic should be done individually — it’s an important part of the process. A beautiful friend of mine once said,

“Know better, do better.”

Let’s all grow a lot more aware of what exactly is in the products used in our home.

My goal is help make it easier for you to make the switch. If you find yourself feeling very opposed to the topics I share, please be kind. Know that I’m here if your path ever bends in this direction.

Toxic to Clean Kitchen Wishlist

Here are the items currently on my kitchen wish list. The items crossed off, I have found a great solution for. I am working on sharing those details with you – stick with me! I will come back and link each topic as I publish the articles.

Every other item on here is in work-in-progress mode. I have tried a number of alternatives, but do not have enough success yet to share with you. I won’t share anything I haven’t tried for at least 3 months with success. That’s a promise!

Make your own wishlist with our free Toxic to Clean Wishlist download.

  • Dish soap
  • All purpose cleaners
  • Food storage – containers
  • Food swaps (I highly recommend the lovely EvolveWell with Stefanie)
  • Ziplock <– so close with this one!!
  • Packaging
  • Sustainable food source (gardening) <– total fail this summer… learned a lot to move forward with
  • Paper products
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Dishwasher rinse aide <– soooo close!!
  • Grocery bags
  • Produce bags
  • Proper food storage to reduce waste
  • Cookware
  • Hand soap

Toxic to Clean Kitchen Basics

Here are the 4 basics that have proven to be effective for our family without the risk of toxic chemicals entering our bodies.

All Purpose Spray

The labeling of “all purpose” spray found in the grocery store is a bit misleading to me.

It’s not necessarily for windows, maybe you could use it in tubs/sinks – but I always had something else for those things. I didn’t use all purpose sprays on my floors or walls either. Not so much for all the purposes! Thieves Household Cleaner is the most all purpose household cleaner I’ve come across (besides water).

Even better… it has a wholesale price tag of $22 for a 14.4 fl oz bottle of concentrate. Follow the mixing instructions on the label: 1 part Thieves Household Cleaner into 30 parts of water for general cleaning.

Thieves

We are a family of five. I mixed my first few very wrong (I did 30 capfuls instead of 1). It’s been just about a year, and I just finished the bottle. If I mixed it correctly, I’m sure we would still have some left. That’s $22 for at least a year of all-purposing. I was spending roughly $5 every 3-4 weeks prior to using Thieves. Having a refill right in the cabinet is also a great perk!

White Vinegar

When I was pregnant with my 3rd son, I joked about Apple Cider Vinegar being the My Big Fat Greek Wedding Windex – cure all. In the cleaning world, white vinegar is my hero – my go to. I spend under $3 for 5 liters (1.3 gallons) at our local Costco. It goes a LONG way! Vinegar has some excellent cleaning power. While I would love to get into the details of why and how it’s so great – that information left my brain. I encourage you to do some digging on white vinegar to find out if it’s right for you!

Vinegar_Kitchen

Baking Soda

Baking soda is right up there with white vinegar with a long list of uses around the house. I used it to kill off some crab grass in an effort to keep my husband from calling on the pesticide man!

Guess what? It worked! However, I worried about killing off the good grass. I have signed myself up for hand-pulling all the crab grass in the yard, because pesticides scare me that much.

It will take time.

I do this task here and there while the kids play in the yard. More on that along the way… here are the ways we currently use baking soda in our home:

  • Laundry Soap
  • Cleaning tubs and sinks
  • In the pits!
  • Bath time
  • In the refrigerator
  • Deodorizing rugs/carpets
  • Crab grass destroyer
  • Baking (rare)
  • Cleaning the toilets

Essential Oils

Using essential oils for cleaning turns the chore of cleaning into a surprisingly easy and delightful task. A couple pennies per drop, and typically you only need 1 or 2 drops – cleaning has been much more enjoyable, economical and safe.

I UNsuccessfully cleaned with poor quality essential oils before getting turned onto the good stuff. Here are the essential oils I used most in the kitchen:

  • Lemon
  • Tea Tree
  • Purification

Now what?

The initial publish of this article will have you thinking, ‘well now what?’ I am busy compiling all my notes, drafts, images, recipes, and further information about every darn thing listed above. If you’re intrigued and willing to Green UP your kitchen, go ahead and follow these first simple steps:

  • Follow Green Up Well.
    • There is a “FOLLOW” button all the way down at the bottom on each page on this site. Doing so will alert you when a new blog post is published!
    • Social media links are at the tippy top of each page
  • Make your own wishlist.
    • Think about how you would like to Green UP your own kitchen, and write it down. If you feel overwhelmed, remember that this is a process. Slow and steady!
  • Research.
    • Do a little reading on the dangerous synthetics listed above. Know better, do better… for YOU and YOURS. The more we shift our spending to natural, safe and effective alternatives — the companies that are currently more interested in your pocket than your health will need to adjust as well.

I’m truly excited to help you Green UP Well.

Peace, love and kindness.

Keri

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