For the past few years, I’ve been on a quest to “go green” in how I clean, what I put on my face, and how I eat. I try to eat organic as often as I can and have slowly been switching my cleaners and beauty products to “clean” brands or just making them myself.
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While every year more experts are recognizing the negative effects of chemicals and hormones on our lives, I only had to look more closely at my own to see how they were affecting me. Too much sugar, processed food, or even chemicals in my cleaners and beauty products always cause me to break out. But when I stop using these things? Voila – clear healthy skin. This is not just a coincidence; the health of our skin and hair can be directly connected to our overall health, too.
I then decided I want to get back to the basics in daily life as far as my cleaners, beauty products, and food.
I’m a big proponent of making simple changes in our life rather than drastic ones because I believe we’re more likely to stick with them then. Know what I mean? (I’m looking at you New Year’s Resolutions.)
So here are 5 pretty simple ways to go green in your home today.
1. Go Green In Your Beauty Routine
Replace chemical-filled beauty products with cleaner or homemade versions. Quick trivia question: Do you know the largest organ in our body? And the answer is…our skin! Did you also know that everything we put on our skin immediately gets absorbed into our system? And there’s no digestive system here to help funnel the bad stuff out.
For me this means I am extra careful about what I put on my skin, whether it’s face wash, toner, moisturizer or makeup. Good news: many companies recognize that customers no longer want chemical-filled products and are offering many that are “sulfate, paraben, and silicone free.” Unfortunately, many are still filled with other WORSE chemicals, or just disguising the name.
The best way to feel good about what you put on your skin is to do your research – check the labels and look up the ingredients yourself. Or better yet, make your own products. That way you know exactly what goes in them.
Looking for some inspiration? Here’s my natural skincare routine.
2. Go Green in Your Cleaning Routine
Replace chemical-filled cleaners with green and/or organic products. In college, I used to clean bathrooms at a KOA campground near Niagara Falls. Not surprisingly we used a lot of chemical-filled cleaners. (Which, let’s be honest, bleach was my friend there.)
But after two years my skin had acne on top of acne because of the harsh chemicals in the cleaners. Not to mention I went home feeling like I couldn’t breathe. To save my health and my skin I’ve slowly transitioned over to green and clean household products. Oh, and it’s better for your furry friends, too!
Here are a few of my favorite green cleaning tips to get you started:
- Ditch the bleach! In full disclosure, I do keep a bottle of bleach under my kitchen sink. Why? Because I got the norovirus last year and I ain’t playing around after that. If my household gets hit with a serious virus I will pull out the bleach. OTHERWISE, it stays put because there are so many other ways we can clean and disinfect without it.
- So instead of using bleach on your clothing or household items – throw them out in the sun. The sun not only whitens but disinfects.
- Keep a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in the shower. I’ve wasted so many hours sitting in my tub scrubbing it with chemical cleaners. No more. Now I just keep a magic eraser in my shower and while my conditioner does its thing I scrub the place down. YOU WILL BE AMAZED. It gets off absolutely everything with no noxious fumes and no need to waste another Saturday morning doing it. TRY IT.
- Microwave cleaner. Put an Angry Mama in the microwave for 7 minutes filled with vinegar, lemon, and water. This concoction breaks up stuck on food in your microwave so you just have to wipe it away when it’s done. Plus, it smells delightful.
- Stick your kitchen sponge in the microwave for two minutes to kill bacteria.
RELATED CONTENT: 5 Tips to Make Spring Cleaning Easier
3. Clean Up Your Laundry Routine
So I’ve read horror stories about people trying to make their own laundry detergent and it just not working. I still want clean clothes! However, the cute little packets we throw in are not only filled with chemicals but can cause itchiness or more serious problems for people with skin issues like eczema.
Years ago I switched to soap nuts. Yes, nuts. I just throw my little bag of them in every load and away they go. I won’t go into too much detail about them because I already wrote a post 5 Reasons I Wash My Clothes with Soap Nuts that you should go read if you want to learn more. If you miss the scents of traditional detergent you can always buy Mrs. Meyers Laundry Scent Boosters (like peony) to lighten things up.
And instead of buying chemical-filled dryer sheets try using wool dryer balls! You can also add essential oils to these to make any scent you want.
4. Use What You Have on Hand
I recently cut up all my husband’s old undershirts and have an almost unlimited supply. I keep washing them, but if I clean ups something particularly gross, for instance, cat puke, I can just throw it away without any guilt.
5. Go Green In Your Eating Routine
Eat real food. Better yet – grow it yourself.
Since I occasionally suffer from digestive issues I have to be very careful about what I eat to avoid a flare-up. I also know the days I eat better…I feel better! Sometimes I eat so many fruits and vegetables in a day I FEEL like a gigantic vegetable. (And sometimes I eat too much peanut butter and chocolate and feel like a giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, which in theory sounds nice, but it’s not.)
When possible I buy organic, grass-fed meat (Aldi’s has great prices for organic meat and products!) I also like to limit my sugar, eat foods with natural probiotics, and beef up on those fruits and vegetables.
Oh, and here’s an updated list from the Environmental Working Group on what fruits and vegetables you need to buy organic, and which ones are okay not to.
I then take those fruits and vegetables and make awesome good-for-your-health AND skin juices, like this one I cleverly named Sarah’s Healthy Green Juice.
If you have a little plot of land you should be growing your own fruits and vegetables too. It is so rewarding to grow your own knowing where they came from and that you helped bring it about. You don’t have to have land to grow fruits and vegetables either. I use a self-watering and grow lamp system to grow all sorts of things like cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs.
I hope I’ve inspired you to start to go green in your life. If you already are, what are some tips I didn’t include?