“New Year, new me!” That’s the motto many of us ride with into the new year, right? From losing weight and making more money, to landing our dream guy (or girl), people often look to improve their lives in one way or another — whether mentally, emotionally or physically — come January 1.
There’s something else that occupies people’s minds, too, and that’s health and its many layers, one of which is committing to lead a more natural life — not only for the new year, but long-term, too.
Although I’m all for a good fitness goal and aiming to get bikini-ready, I’m actually referring to the health of our environment and personal space. You know, the products we use (and products we should avoid).
As owner and creator of Honeydipped Essentials, an all-natural self-care product line, I’m incredibly passionate about walking the organic, all-natural route, not just for me and my husband but especially for our four kids.
New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Black children are diagnosed with asthma twice as often as their white peers. After diagnosis, Black children are three times more likely to face hospitalization and death. Toxic household products can play a role. Needless to say, it’s on my heart to share some of my knowledge about the poisons lurking in our lives and the detriment they cause. (And also offer up some suggestions for just-as-effective all-natural products to replace them.)
Toxins Lurking Around Every Corner
The most common toxins found in household cleaners are formaldehyde, ammonium hydroxide and bleach, and according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), over 75% of household cleaning products are rated “poor” and contain ingredients that negatively affect body systems.
A poor rating? Heavy sigh.
From wiping down your dining room table every night to cleaning your bathroom sinks a few times per week, you are probably exposed to these toxins more than you’d care to admit.
The Scary Truth
Even though most of these products are FDA-approved, they can still put the health of ourselves and our families at risk.
Here’s a fresh perspective (no pun intended) about the long-term effects of using toxic products: Think arsenic poisoning. The smallest bit of exposure over a long period of time will weaken your system and make you susceptible to lifelong health problems such as cancer, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, even though you were only exposed to it “here and there.”
“Here and there,” in any situation, creates excess. Whether you store money away, here and there, into your savings account or eat a piece of cake, here and there, over the course of your life – your bank account and waistline are bound to get bigger. Well, the same goes for using toxic products. Little by little, you will experience determinantal health effects.
A Healthier Way
Products used in the home should be free of unnatural preservatives, strong scents, artificial colors, ammonium and bleach.
You’re probably wondering, “What does that leave me with?! Can I really clean without those additives?” You most certainly can. The same level of cleanliness can be achieved with natural, organic products.
My Favorite Products
My cleaning shelf is stocked with all-natural goodies that I’ve sought out over the years. To clean my family’s clothes, I use everything from stain removal to detergent from the Laundress Home Cleaning Line, available at The Container Store. This product line is relatively inexpensive, ranging between 10 and 20 dollars. For a few extra bucks than your usual toxic product, you can scoop a safe alternative and reap the same results.
Method Cleaning Supplies are also a great choice. These products are available on the Method Cleaning website and at Target. (Available for under $10!) Needless to say, you don’t have to break the bank to maintain a toxin-free home. I also appreciate that each Method Cleaning item offers a full ingredient disclosure and 100% biodegradable products.
Everspring is another fantastic all-purpose cleaner. It cuts grease and grime with 100% natural fragrance, and the formula is never tested on animals. Everspring cleaning products are available at Target. My favorite scent happens to be Citrus + Basil. So refreshing!
To clean your home and really achieve that deep clean we all crave, my first choice is – no surprises here – my own product, Honeydipped Essentials Sage + Cotrus Multipurpose Cleaner. It’s got an amazing, light, citrus scent on top of having done its job with ease and environmentally-friendly ingredients. You can use it to power through grease and grime on everything from kitchen counters, bathtubs, toilets, your children’s toys and more.
Ashli Goudelock is the owner of Honeydipped, a popular blog as well as an all-natural Atlanta-based health and wellness product line, the wife of professional basketball player Andrew Goudelock and the mother of their four kids.