At the beginning of 2012 I became more interested than ever in eliminating and removing chemicals from my home. You can read about that decision HERE. Since we are now well into 2013 I thought I should post an update.
Towards the end of 2012 I really slacked off on this but I now have a couple of friends and my sister who are all excited about going chemical free and it has made me want to recommit myself to this lifestyle. It’s a lot more fun to have people to talk to about the stuff we make/buy and compare results. The picture above is actually some of the chemical free items a friend of mine recently bought for her home.
Chemical Free Successes
– I replaced my deodorant that contained aluminum with baking soda and then eventually with Tom’s of Maine Apricot deodorant. The baking soda worked really well but it wasn’t as convenient to apply a powder as it was to use a deodorant stick.
– I replaced my toothpaste with Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and it actually helped me with the chronic canker sores I have gotten since I was a child.
– I switched to a green cleaning spray and now switched to a spray bottle of vinegar that I use when cleaning around the house instead of Lysol or other chemicals.
– I received a cast iron skillet from my brother for Christmas and I LOVE it! We use it all the time for cooking instead of Teflon.
– We used vinegar to scrub the mold/mildew off of the walls and ceiling in our bathroom instead of something stronger and so far it has worked well.
– We have stopped heating up anything in plastic in the microwave.
– I made my own homemade weed killer out of vinegar and salt and it did work!
– I also recently found The Environmental Working Group’s Cleaning Products search engine which allows you to search for your cleaning products and see how harmful they are on people and the environment. This just makes me want to throw away all of the non-chemical free products in our house, which I am slowly doing as I replace them with chemical free options.
Edit– You can also go to The Environmental Working Groups Search Engine Skin Deep to search for all of your personal care products and makeup. I searched for all of the products I use frequently and I was in good shape except for my hand cream, which I now need to replace.
Chemical Free Mixed Results
– We have a couple of stoneware items to cook with which were very nice gifts. I should use these more often.
– I got a great deal on some green works cleaning spray and I used it for about half a year and I liked it a lot. Now I have switched to vinegar which is cheaper and even more chemical free.
– We tried organic coffee and rainforest certified coffee this year and we liked it a lot but I can’t say we noticed a difference from regular coffee. It is just so much more expensive that we haven’t continued buying it unless we get really great deals on it.
– I got a good deal on Method dish soap at target after coupons and I tried the cucumber melon scent and I loved it. I didn’t have as good of luck with other Method products though. However, I have had good luck recently getting dish soap for free so I found it hard to justify buying natural dish soap. If I have to buy more then I can see buying natural/organic dish soap if I can get it for cheaper. Also apparently Method products aren’t rated very well as far as green products go.
– I was excited to get Botanical cleaning wipes for free at Winn-Dixie and they work but unfortunately they smell so strongly and strangely that it makes me not want to use them. But we do use them on occasion.
– I thought that the Physician’s Formula Organic mascara we tried worked well but when my eyes watered it burned my eyes in a way that my non-organic mascara never did.
-I tried natural motion sickness medicine. It did seem to help a little bit but just not as much as Dramamine. I did however find that ginger chews seemed to help for shorter trips.
– I used vinegar and baking soda to clean our toilet and it actually worked really well except for around the bottom flush area. So this result was mixed.
Chemical Free Failures
– I was able to buy Yes to Tomatoes shampoo and conditioner at Walgreens on sale for about $2 each, which is really cheap for Organic/Natural personal care products, but every time I used them they gave me a really bad headache. I ended up giving them to another family member that wasn’t bothered by them.
– I got some free Yes to Carrots hand cream after a coupon. It burned my chapped hands and turned them red. I ended up getting rid of it. I haven’t had good luck with the Yes To brand of products so far. I don’t know if I will buy any more.
– I bought some Method Laundry detergent and cleaning spray right around the time that I broke out in horrible full body hives. I can’t say for sure that either of these items contributed to the hives but I just can’t be sure so I got rid of both of them. Also. as I mentioned before. apparently Method products aren’t rated very well as far as green products go.
– We have really liked most of the Organic/Natural food products we have tried but we find them to be a lot more expensive than regular food products. We still buy them when we find good deals but it would be impossible to stick to our $200 a month grocery budget if we only bought Natural/Organic foods.
– We have bought some glass food storage containers but I wish we had more. They are just a lot more expensive than our stockpile of plastic food containers that were mostly free.
*Even though not everything we have tried has worked, I’m still glad that I have kept going and made progress*
What I’m working on (See the above picture)
– I purchased Dr Bronner’s castile soap and I’m hoping to use it to make cleaning and household products.
– I already used the Dr Bronner’s castile soap to make 2 ingredient hand soap which is supposed to be a lot less harsh on my always chapped hands. So far so good. We have had great luck with turning this into foaming hand soap that we now use all over our house. Click HERE for the recipe.
– I have also been sick and haven’t had any luck with antibiotics so I’ve decided to try some natural medicine, saline spray, vitamin C and apple cider vinegar. I’m actually feeling a lot better, but I had already been sick for a while by the time I started it so it’s hard to say if the virus just ran its course. I actually do think that the natural medicine helped because I was still really sick when I started with it. Edit– I am now entirely better in about 4 days after almost two weeks of being sick. Next time I get sick I’m going to start this right away to see if I get healthy faster.
– I just bought some Gud (by Burt’s Bees) natural shampoo and conditioner and hopefully I will have better luck with that than I did with the Yes to Tomatoes products. So far so good and it smells excellent. Edit– I don’t think the conditioner is as good as the non-natural but it still works.
– Our garden is still in the early stages but I’m hoping we will be able to get some nice veggies out of it.
– I made some baking soda body wash (mix baking soda and water until moist) this morning but I haven’t been able to try it yet. Edit– It works great so far!
– I would really like to try making my own natural hand cream but this seems to require more cooking and ingredients than some of the simple recipes I’ve tried so I’m going to keep looking until I find a recipe that I really like before I attempt it.
– I bought some essential oils to use instead of perfume (which is full of chemicals) but I’ve been so sick I haven’t tried it yet.
– We also figured out how to make natural/organic downy wrinkle releaser. Click HERE to see how.
If you are interested in seeing my Natural / Organic and Chemical Free adventures in the coming year click HERE or simply click on the Organic / Natural tab in the top navigation bar.