Engage Your Wellness: Wellness Home Remodel

If you’ve been following along for the last few months, then you probably know that I dedicated the year 2018 to wellness.  I started off by undergoing a complete pantry clean out with Engage Your Wellness, which you can read about here.  I learned about reading labels and getting rid of all of the products that contain harmful ingredients that my family and I were consuming on a daily basis.  I noticed such a change in my overall wellness, that I really wanted to pursue the next phase of the wellness home remodel…cleaning products.
Top | Overalls

When I was pregnant with Charlotte, I remember it being the first time that I actually ever considered changing out some of my cleaning products.  I honestly never thought about it too much before, but once I knew I had a baby on the way, I knew I wanted to create a safe environment for her and didn’t want her to be surrounded by any harmful products.  I remember switching my laundry detergent to free and clear alternatives, and the rest of my cleaning products with what I thought were considered “safe.”  But what I learned after doing the pantry clean-out, was that labels can definitely be deceiving, so it’s always important to do your research…or hire Dabney Poorter so she can do it for you! 😉
I had Dabney over a couple of weeks ago to raid my cleaning cabinets.  I was honestly expecting to get an A on my cleaning product report card, but definitely no less than a B+.  You can probably tell from the photos, but I was shocked when she broke the news that some of the brands that I had been using for the last few years still contained harmful toxins and chemicals.  

When I decided to undergo a wellness home remodel, I knew I wanted to start with the pantry as I felt that it would be the most drastic change.  However, at the time, I truthfully didn’t realize how important the other two phases of the wellness home remodel were.  Your skin is your largest organ.  Think of how many things your skin comes in contact with every single day and how fast those products are absorbed.  

Another shocking fact that I learned during my session with Dabney was that in the United States, there are only 30 banned ingredients in products, whereas in the United Kingdom, there are 1400 banned ingredients.  With much more lenient regulations, it is important to educate ourselves on what these products are and how to identify them on the labels.

Detoxing Your Household Cleaners

Sodium Hydroxide
Perchloroethlylene or “PERC”
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, or “Quats”

I highly recommend that everyone reads this article as it breaks down what each of these toxins are and how they can effect your health.  I think the biggest surprise to me was the affect of Triclosan, which is a pesticide commonly found in hand soaps and dental hygiene products as well.  The use of this toxin can act as an endocrine disruptor as it contributes to the growth of  drug-resistant bacteria.  So all of those “anti-bacterial” hand soaps you have lying around are probably causing you more harm than good.  

I was also really surprised that we had a hard time finding some of the ingredients on the labels…which is your first red flag.  Similar to the labels on many food products, the labels on cleaning products can be deceiving as well.  Just because something is advertised as “free and clear” of dyes and perfumes, it doesn’t mean that it is free and clear of other harmful ingredients.

So what do you do once you toss all of the junk? Well…you do nothing for a few days.  Tell your husband that you can’t clean because you don’t want to increase your family’s exposure to harmful toxins.  Enjoy a weekend lounging around and letting the laundry pile up while you bask in the glory of knowing that you are a considerate wife and mother who is just doing what is best for your family’s wellbeing.  Once you take your weekend sabbatical, or however long you wish…be sure to check out some of these safer alternatives below. 😉
Thankfully  when it comes to finding safer alternatives, there are plenty of options out there to make the switch easy.  Seventh Generation is highly recommended as you can not only find the products just about anywhere, but they are really affordable as well.  They have created a powerful plant-based line of cleaning products, which are highly effective and most importantly…they are safe! Another favorite of mine is this product by Green Works.  I love it for wiping down toys!

I switched from my normal detergent to the Seventh Generation detergent, and instead of using a fabric softener, I started using these dryer balls.  Not only do they act as a fabric softener, but they reduce wrinkles and static, and they reduce drying time by 25%! I add in a few drops of this lavender essential oil, which smells like a dream!

While we are on the topic of laundry, I’ll share another major change we had to make.  As the mother of a 2 and 3-year-old, as you can imagine, we go through A LOT of stain remover. I told my husband that we should probably buy stock in stain remover as we use it so frequently.  I won’t point any fingers but the very popular product we were using had to go as it contained harmful chemicals.  Dabney introduced me to a brand called Branch Basics.  Based out of Austin, Texas, Branch Basics is a company dedicated to providing non-toxic cleaning products that are safe and effective.  Their Oxygen Boost product works as a stain remover and can be used as a pre-wash treatment, or added in with your laundry. 
Branch Basics also has a Concentrate that when diluted with water makes an All-Purpose cleaner, Bathroom cleaner, Streak-Free cleaner and foaming hand-wash.  They also have the cutest spray bottles to dilute the concentrate with that are already labeled for you. I’m a sucker for good packaging! 😉 They offer a starter kit here where you can get a little bit of everything.  Get $10 off your order here!
Bottle | Label

Another cleaning alternative? Thieves by Young Living.  I started getting into essential oils last summer when my sister introduced them to me.  Although I still have a lot to learn, I have tried incorporating them into my every day life and am planning to do a post over this one day.  My favorite would have to be lavender which I use every night before I go to bed.  Another favorite of mine is Thieves which I use anytime I feel like I’m getting sick.  Both Dabney and my sister recently told me about the Thieves cleaner.  It is also a concentrate that you dilute with water and can be used on almost any surface.  The best part? It makes your house smell like Christmas morning…and what’s not to love about that? (You can order here.)

I have quite the selection of cleaning alternatives to choose from now! Who knew I would ever be this excited to clean? 😉

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the second phase of my wellness home remodel.  There are definitely more options out there than noted above, but I did point out that I have two toddlers right? 😉 To be honest, I don’t know how I would have done this without the support of Engage Your Wellness.  It has really helped not only having someone provide the research for you, but giving you alternatives and support to make those changes.  It has made my journey to wellness so much easier and I am forever grateful for that!  To learn more about services provided by Engage Your Wellness, visit their website here.

Happy Cleaning!



Photos by Haley McCluskey and Maria Ciszek

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