Yes, this is normally a beauty/lifestyle blog… but since I’ve been on this clean journey for the last (ALMOST) two years now, I wanted to share how the clean living lifestyle has extended beyond my beauty products. In fact, my clean journey STARTED with these products. Beauty was the LAST thing I switched. We’re talking self tanners, home disinfectants/all purpose cleaners, cookware, food storage, utensils, laundry and more! Let’s get to my favorite clean living products.
My journey to living a cleaner lifestyle started with my infertility challenges. You can read all about that here.
But back in 2015, we started struggling with infertility and my health providers all advised me to make many of these changes.
The main reason was to start to avoid toxins in products, excess hormones in foods and yucky chemicals in household materials.
For me, it began with food. I was living in North Carolina in the middle of nowhere and shopped for my groceries at a small Food Lion or Walmart. NEVER anything organic. Whatever was cheapest.
I switched to purchasing organic produce when available, especially the dirty dozen.
You can choose traditional to save money on these clean fifteen produce items (think: things with thick skins… like pineapples, melons, etc Even avocados and onions don’t have to be organic – yay for saving $!).
I choose organic, pasture raised, sustainably farmed meat nearly at all costs. I do not need to pump my body with unnecessary hormones/antibiotics through the meats I’m consuming. This goes for dairy, too. Try to switch to organic/pasture raised when you can.
Recently, we joined Butcher Box to have our high quality meats delivered right to our door. You can sign up too and get $30 off your first box, if you’d want to try. But a great place to get higher quality meats in bulk is Costco, for sure. They always have great organic options.
The hardest thing is seeing your grocery bill basically double when you start to eat better quality food. I get it. But I decided it was either… watch my grocery bill double or watch my healthcare costs double? You choose.
Next, was food storage. Like many, we used takeout plastic storage containers or those plastic ziplock reusable containers for most of our leftovers. These are loaded with chemicals that can leach into your food… and definitely NEVER reheat your food in these. Big no no. Mainly, these plastic products can contain estrogen mimickers and really throw off your hormones/can lead to carcinogen exposure.
My healthcare providers recommended switching to glass food storage containers and we haven’t looked back since. This was a fairly easy switch and not terribly expensive in the long run. I’ve purchased my containers in 2016 and we’ve been using the same ones since… no need to replace like the plastic ones that get stained and gross.
Now that you have the two big basic cleanser swaps I made in my life, let’s look at the other areas…
After food and food storage, I was lead to household cleaners. After much research (and a husband who works in the healthcare field, so he’s not ok with an essential oil fragrant blend lol), we felt really confident and really enjoy Force of Nature Cleaner.
We have been using this since 2017. It is an EPA registered disinfectant/sanitizer that’s safe to use around kids and pets and kills 99.9% of germs including Norovirus, Influenza A, Salmonella, MRSA, Staph and Listeria.
It also has no allergens, fragrance, dyes, preservatives, skin irritants or respiratory irritants.
We use it mainly all over our kitchen throughout the day. I’ll use it on Savannah’s baby toys, high chair, I’ll use it on her hands/face to clean her up… you can use it to replace a TON of your household cleansers so it’s more cost effective (like bathroom cleaner, etc)… and it also works really well as a laundry stain remover!
After household cleaner, I learned about the yucky chemicals that make your pots and pans nonstick. Most nonstick use Teflon or PFOA/C8 chemicals… so yucky. Just google, “Dupont Teflon Flu,” and read about it if you want to get annoyed. Or don’t. Just listen to me because I already did the research for you 😉
A few different safer nonstick cookware I have used are by Scanpan and Greenpan and most recently, the Our Place Always Pan.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with a well loved/treated cast iron skillet, but I know the convenience of nonstick is very helpful for us non-chef types.
Scanpan was what I used first, and they held up well BUT after 2-3 years, we had to replace them because I accidentally ruined them (see below: cooking utensils).
We then used the cheaper Greenpans from Target. They were fine, but the cheaper version from Target fell apart too quickly. The handles got loose and rusty and that was annoying. So we upgraded to the higher models from Williams Sonoma.
At the time of publication, I admit the Always Pan is totally worth it and me and my husband’s #1 pick/favorite… buttt I know some people say it’s not as ‘clean’ as it says it is because it’s made in China. There’s also talk that the nonstick coating doesn’t last past six months? I don’t know if that’s terribly true. But we use all three of these every single day and love them.
Not much to say here except… if you’re going to invest in safer nonstick pans… do yourself a favor and make sure you are NOT using any metal cooking utensils! They will scratch and ruin the nonstick coating and therefore forfeit your safer investment.
Use silicone or bamboo/wood.
Self tanner was a hard one for me to find a sufficient clean option for because I am not super fair. So I needed something that could give me enough of a glow on my medium/olive skin.
During pregnancy, after the first trimester, I used this Tarte Braziliance self tanner a few times (not regularly… but for special events… baby shower, baby moon, birthday). I know not everyone feels comfortable using self tanner during pregnancy, but if you are going to, choose a cleaner formula.
I really liked how smooth this applied and never made me feel sticky. Dries down really nicely. Also wears off well.
Since then, I have been introduced to the Beauty By Earth self tanner and this is much softer in color – better if you are more fair. It also wears off incredibly evenly. Very hydrating. I’ve been enjoying this one very much and recommend it regularly.
Laundry is another tough area. I’ve tried the ‘very natural’ ones (like Molly Suds) and I’ve tried ones that walk the line of safer but aren’t realllyyy safer (ALL).
For me, I need something cost efficient, gentle (I have a toddler and husband with EXTREMELY dry, sensitive skin), and I really love fabric softener. I know it’s a big ‘no no’ for super ‘clean living’ believers, but I believe in progress over perfection.
…And sorry, I use the wool dryer balls, too… they still leave jeans feeling like cardboard sooo… let me and my fabric softener live!
Anyway! My picks for detergent are both by Seventh Generation. I prefer this one, the Free and Clear Concentrated (how cool is the cardboard packaging?!), but this one is great, too (the free and clear regular). And easier to find in stores.
I am very loyal to this fabric softener from Attitude I get from Amazon. Reminds me of baby smell and that is such a nice, calming scent.
***Recently, some have mentioned to me that they do not agree or support Seventh Generation’s political affiliations. I do not know much about this, but if you do not want to support Seventh Generation, I also have been trying out the Whole Foods 365 brand detergent and softener and both score a safe “B” rating, in my opinion. Plus, it’s nice to have scented things that aren’t harmful to your health. I have had no problems with either of these if they’re easier for you to access.
They also make an unscented detergent option. I usually get these on my Amazon/Whole Foods delivery order.
Ok, I hope those safer swaps help you make some clean routines in your life.
These should make it easy for you to clean up the yucky stuff in your life without feeling like you’re missing out on the stuff you used to use.
Also, go slow. Please don’t panic and break the bank. Every month, make a new swap! Keep it simple and don’t let yourself be mad about what you didn’t know in the past.
I’ve compiled ALL of my safer/cleaner living favorites in my Amazon shop you can find/bookmark here. I update it regularly.
Know better, do better 🙂
If you have any questions, let me know.
Hope my favorite clean living products can find a special place in your home, too.