Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

Thinking About Being Green and Keeping Clean

It wasn't until I was growing a baby that I even started to think about the cleaning products I bought. I was buying the usual top brands; heavy on the 'clean' scent and often warnings to wear gloves. I didn't have much knowledge about toxins in cleaning products and the impact on my health. It wasn't until my pregnancy with Ben that I even started to think about what I was potentially exposing my body and growing baby to.

My first attempt was to stop cleaning completely and told my husband to do it. You know, for the baby. Since that didn't pan out, I started seeking out more green products to use instead. Even just a few years ago green products didn't always to seem to do the job. In recent years I became a big user of Method cleaning products and felt pretty happy with their green standing and the job they actually did.

This past week I was invited to a blogger event sponsored by Seventh Generation and hosted by Whole Foods. We met up with book author Gillian Deacon, author of 'There's Lead In Your Lipstick', for a tour of a few aisles to talk about toxins in household products. This topic definitely interests me and I was curious about what small changes I could make that would have an impact.

Listening intently to Gillian talk about how to read labels on products. Look for a shorter list with non-synthetic ingredients.

Of course the parts of the tour that really spoke to me were about the products that I use on my baby. From the fancy bath wash, to the scented wipes, and even the special baby laundry soap. Apparently, all those delicious smelling creams and potions are not needed to keep my baby clean and happy. I learned that I need to be a savvy consumer and read labels and opt for more natural fragrances like lavender or grapefruit oil.

A few weeks ago I decided to stop using soap on Josie's little body because she was getting dry rough patches of skin. Turns out, she is still just as fresh and clean with just a soap free soak in the tub. Gillian talked about how babies actually need a lot less products and to always read ingredient labels. Just because something is marketed to be made for a baby, doesn't mean that it is always a good product. A baby's skin is equipped with a great balance of oils that keeps their skin perfect without a lot of product.

Touring the baby aisle with Gillian. An aisle I spend some time in buying diapers, wipes and the usual baby stuff.

Do you buy products based on their greenness? What changes have you already made to avoid toxins in products? Check out the Good Guide to see where your current products are ranked.


Mitzi said...

Thanks Andrea! Love the good guide site and bought seventh gen detergent!

April 27, 2012 at 4:40 PM  

Yeah, I found the Good Guide to be really helpful! Sometimes it can be really confusing if products are genuine or if a really good team of marketers just put fancy labels on something. Hope baby M's skin clears up ASAP!

April 27, 2012 at 6:17 PM  
Dana said...

I've stopped buying cleaning products altogether and 100% use Norwex.  It's amazing! I also cloth diaper my babies and use the Norwex baby cloths on their skin instead of soap.  They still get squeaky clean!

April 27, 2012 at 8:35 PM  
Krista said...

Love it! The David Suzuki Foundation has a great campaign right now on green cleaning:
Lots of tips for make-at-home cleaning recipes (think vinegar) and even a handy wallet card to take with you to the store!

April 27, 2012 at 9:39 PM  

Thanks Krista! I just heard about The David Suzuki Foundation and their current campaign. I totally need to get on the vinegar band wagon.

April 27, 2012 at 10:35 PM  

You got to love it when you find a brand that really works for you and it's also something that you believe in. 

April 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM  
Jasmine said...

Sounds like a fun event to have attended. I'm really interested in what products I bring into our house. I'm with Krista, vinegar and elbow grease can go a long way.

April 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM  
Janemmp said...

Understanding which ingredients are in products is huge - and that goes for food as well as cosmetics! If you can't pronounce it or don't know what it is you should probably think twice about rubbing it on your skin or breathing it in. I am FAR from perfect in this area, but have tried to pick a few chemicals that I know are bad and just delete them from our house entirely. It's good to know I'm helping to keep that stuff out of our groundwater and environment as well as out of our bodies. Every little bit helps!

May 1, 2012 at 8:58 AM  
Sarah M. said...

Yup it's baking soda and vinegar here in our house, although I still find myself buying Clorox toilet cleaner and Lysol wipes for the boys' mess. ;o) 

As for soaps and shampoos I realized after reading your blog that I have no hesitations buying the $8 350ml bottle of Nature Clean Treehouse shampoo for the boys (which still has a lengthy list of hard to pronounce ingredients) but still opt for the regular shampoo that is on sale for myself.  Hmmm. 

I am loving going through the Good Guide, and have promptly bookmarked it.  Hope your household product switch over is a success.

May 1, 2012 at 9:04 AM  
huntersprize said...

I generally clean with Method but I have tried vinegar and baking soda. I like the way it cleans, but I do want to get some essentials oils to make the smell a little nicer! I've actually switched away from body washes to a soap made by a friend and I intend to mostly bath the new baby in plain water to avoid the eczema issues we had last time. But I am guilty of using gels and shampoo/cond on my hair that is probably not good for me or eco-friendly! 

May 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM  
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August 8, 2012 at 8:22 PM  

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