I recently had a wake up call regarding the products we use in our home.
While cleaning the sink with a well known brand of concentrated, highly fragranced disinfectant I knocked the bottle and splashed a small amount onto our new kettle. I quickly wiped it up and thought nothing of it…until I went to make a hot drink and discovered that my cup of tea smelt and tasted of said disinfectant. It was weeks before the tainting wore off and every time I used the hot water I wondered what sort of chemicals had leached into the water and how on earth such a small amount of disinfectant could have such a strong smell. Why was I using such strong chemicals in my home, around my children and on surfaces where we prepare food?!
After this experience the idea for my new year’s resolution was born; to get rid of as many chemical* laden products in my home as possible in 2018.
Those that have been reading my blogs for a while will know I have had an interest in ‘eco living’ for over a decade and throughout the years have tried out many green products and have switched over to many environmentally friendly options which we still regularly use. However, just recently I’ve been in a bit of a rut. Life is busy and (with three children) exhausting so convenience is everything. We don’t live near any organic health food shops and it’s just been easier to fill my cupboards with conventional products, which despite having unpronounceable ingredients listed on the back also smell good and get the job done.
However, there is plenty of evidence around that suggests that the products we use in our homes can be filled with chemicals that not only harm our bodies, but also damage the environment. As the homemaker in our family (and the person who buys all our products!) I feel that I have a responsibility to be aware of what we are using and to try and make the best choices for us and our children. My experience with the disinfectant jolted me out of my rut and I once again became excited at the prospect of finding some new natural alternatives for our home.
So, what is the resolution?
Basically, throughout the year I am going to be doing lots of research and switching up any products I feel are not very environmentally friendly for more natural alternatives. I’ve been doing it half-heartedly for years; using some natural products but still hanging onto my conventional products for convenience, so now I want to fully switch.
To be honest, it’s a mine field isn’t it? A lot of products that market themselves as eco-friendly still contain lots of nasty ingredients so I’ll probably be doing a lot of DIY products myself. I like the idea of knowing exactly what’s going into them, and the stuff I have already tried has been surprisingly easy and cost effective.
Speaking of cost…
A lot of people think that it costs far too much to find ‘alternative’ options, and it’s true that eco-friendly products often come with a high price tag. However, everything that we have comes at a cost, be that financial, environmental, quality or to our health. When making any choice we have to decide what is most important to us. Are we willing to sacrifice one thing to gain another?
I’m not going into this with bottomless pockets or an agenda to switch no matter what. What we come out with at the end of the year has to be in balance to suit our family. However, I’m already finding that some of the DIY options are much cheaper than the ready made ‘eco’ products available in the shops, and also quite often cheaper than conventional products too, so although some things may be more expensive I hope it will work out even in the long run.
I am excited to share the journey with you throughout the year. I’ve already been using some of the products regularly for a while so I’ll be able to share them soon, while others I want to use for a few months before I form an opinion, and others I need to get my head around changing! Here are some of the areas we’re looking into though:
- cleaning products
- air fresheners and candles
- plastics and waste
- bathroom products & make-up
I hope you’ll check back for some updates in the weeks to come, and if you have any good suggestions let me know!
*I am aware that everything is made out of ‘chemicals’ and they are not all harmful, but in the absence of a better description I think we all know what I mean!