Are you tired of using chemicals in your home? From the harsh [sometimes toxic] smells to the space they consume, I’m honestly fed up with chemicals! I started my minimalist journey knowing changes would occur in my home, and becoming chemical-free is one of them! If you are like me, you think it sounds great, but aren’t sure how to replace the chemical induced products, no worries! I have asked Cassie from DIYJahn.com to shed some light on the matter at hand. She is going to give us all the information we need to start switching over to safer and more environmentally conscious products! So let’s see what she has to share with us today!
We use chemicals on a daily basis – probably more than we each realize. We wash our clothes, our hair, our dishes, our counter tops, our bathrooms, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, we don’t always realize what a toll this has on our lives – our minds, our bodies, and even our wallet. Yet it’s something we deal with on a daily basis. The need to become chemical-free has never been more prevalent. I’ll explain, don’t worry!
When you think of healthy living, does the image of your cluttered bathroom shelf enter your mind? You know the one I’m talking about – where you’ve shoved bottles upon bottles of bleach, laundry detergent, and disinfectants. The one that gives you anxiety whenever you need to clean the kitchen or scrub the shower down. I’m sure you can picture it.
You can picture it, but is it really what you picture when you think of healthy living? I’m guessing it’s not.
My wife and I have just recently begun our journey toward a healthier life. In fact, it all started back in October when my wife and I first calculated the amount of debt we owed. We were blown away by the number and we knew that things needed to change.
Since then, we have paid off over $30,000 in debt, become healthier, freed our minds, and began decluttering. In fact, we are taking the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge this very month and you can check out our progress over at my blog, DIY Jahn.
I digress, though. The point is, when we began to get our finances in order, we realized that working toward paying off debt was more than simply paying off debt. In other words, by creating healthy finances, we were finding healthier ways to live all around.
Creating a Healthy Lifestyle by Changing Our Finances
How did we change our whole lifestyle by thinking more about our finances? Simple:
- We were exercising more because we could save money by walking rather than driving places.
- We stopped snacking as much because we wanted to save money on grocery budget.
- We started making things from scratch because it was cheaper to buy ingredients than pre-made food.
- We quit drink soda because the expense was too great.
- We started taking more time to relax and spend time together because the costs of going out added up quickly.
- We learned about the importance of mindfulness because we needed to stay motivated and centered.
- We began our minimalist lifestyle because we found that decluttering could help us save significant amounts of money.
And during this journey, we realized that some of the things we thought were healthy, weren’t quite what we expected. The most significant, in my opinion, was that of cleaning and hygiene products.
Why We Choose to be Chemical-Free
If you label them as chemicals, your mind immediately thinks of them in a negative light, right? But what is actually included in this list are things you probably use every day. You probably don’t think of them in a negative way at all. In fact, I would imagine that most of you probably don’t even realize that they could be replaced with healthier, cheaper options.
- body soap
- toilet cleaner
- glass cleaner
- laundry detergent
- floor cleaner
- and the list goes on
Each of these by themselves doesn’t sound too horrible, but let’s think about the effect these have on our bodies, our minds, our budgets, and the environment.
An article on Home Guides, SF Gate, posits that “the chemicals in many cleaners are common pollutants that contribute to smog, reduce the quality of drinking water, and are toxic to animals.” Now, I know what you are thinking: it’s only bad if I don’t recycle.
While I love that you want to recycle, the nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia that are produced by these chemicals either during production or during use can easily enter our drinking water and our environment where it begins its negative effects. Unfortunately, not all of the effects of these chemicals can be removed during water treatment processes, according to Home Guides.
Our Bodies & Minds
Not only should you be worried about your kids accidentally discovering your cleaning cabinet and getting into the chemicals, you should be concerned about using them on yourself. Many products contain dangerous chemicals that can have negative effects on your body.
Some of these that should be watched for are listed by Experience Life as Phthalates, Perchloroethylene or “perc,” Triclosan, Quarternary Ammonium Compounds or “quats,” 2-Butoxyethanol, Ammonia, Chlorine, and Sodium Hydroxide. That’s not all, though, these are only eight of the many dangerous chemicals included in cleaning and hygiene products. How scary is that?
And when our bodies aren’t working right, our minds can’t work right. When these chemicals start to effect our bodies, we become unhappy, stressed, and anxious.
Finally, the costs of these products is what threw us over the edge and helped us to choose to become a chemical-free home. When my wife and I replaced shampoo and conditioner with our “No Poo” recipe, we saved over $8 per month. Now, I don’t know about you, but having almost $100 extra each year is definitely a bonus for changing only one thing.
Then we started to see what else we could change. We swapped out our disinfectant, our disinfectant wipes, our glass cleaner, our toilet bowl cleaner, our floor cleaner, our drain cleaner, and even our sidewalk salt (for melting snow) with new, chemical-free ideas. Overall, we have saved hundreds of dollars by switching to healthier options for cleaning our homes.
How You Can Be Chemical-Free
If I haven’t convinced you yet, then you’re probably worried about whether it’s even possible to become chemical-free with your busy schedule. I know that that was one of my biggest concerns, too. I was worried that I wouldn’t have time to make all the right things and to search for recipes, etc.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t take as much time as you think to be a chemical-free home. In fact, it’s pretty easy – it’s probably easier than being a chemical-full home. Why? Well, most of my cleaning products are made of exactly the same things!
My wife and I use baking soda and vinegar for almost everything. We like to add essential oils in every once and a while, just for kicks, but even that is an easy addition.
To make your life even easier, though, I’ve included a few of my recipes below to get you started.
Shampoo & Conditioner Replacement
Baking Soda and Vinegar. No really, that’s what we use. We mix some baking soda in a cup of warm water – I like to use a little more than a tablespoon. Wash our hair with that. Rinse. Then pour about half a cup of vinegar on our hair (apple cider or white) and then rinse. Done.
If you’re concerned though (as many are) here’s a whole post on how we do it, why we do it, and the results! Simply click HERE or copy and paste this link into your browser: http://diyjahn.com/why-we-took-the-no-poo-challenge/
One Part Vinegar & One Part Water. This one is so simple. Why? Because vinegar has disinfecting properties built in! If you are concerned about the smell, don’t be – once the solution dries, the scent disappears. If you’re still worried, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to help your house smell clean and fresh – plus it helps to keep the mice away!
Drain Cleaner Replacement
One Part Baking Soda, One Part Vinegar, and a LOT of hot water. How this works is pretty easy. Pour in some baking soda, pour in an equal amount of vinegar, and then let it sit for a minute or two as it fizzes and eats away at any clogs. After that, top it with a ton of hot water. The more the better. Complete a few times until the drain is unclogged!
Creating a Chemical-Free Home
Now, I’ve give you a ton of information here. We talked about how my wife and I got into our mess, why we started living a healthier life, why we chose to be chemical-free, and then how we did it. We also talked about how you can implement this in your own life.
I want to leave you with one final link for a few more chemical-free recipes that you can use for cleaning your floors, making disinfectant wipes, cleaning stainless steel, and more. Click HERE for our Homemade Cleaning Products post.
Above all, though, remember that like everything else in life, becoming chemical-free is a process and it won’t happen all at once. Don’t be discouraged if you fall back on chemical products once in a while, but don’t let that stop you either.
Remember that each step you take in the right direction brings you a little bit further. Try one or two of these products to start and then begin adding more in as you are ready. We are in this together.
Cassie Jahn is the author of a DIY blog devoted to living life to the fullest on a frugal budget. DIY Jahn began to help Cassie to stick to her plan to aggressively pay off her student loans, in hopes to inspire others to do the same. Find tips on saving money, paying off debt, earning money online, yummy recipes, and DIY projects like this one at: www.diyjahn.com OR follow our social media accounts!