Cleaning & Hygiene Product Review

I think that there are way way to many products on the market that we just simply don’t need. Maybe it is my minimalistic side, or my hatred of plastic – but I just dont feel like we need all these products. It is not that I don’t like to shop – i do, and I have plenty of clothing and home decor.. the products I don’t like being sold are the toiletry, cleaning and kitchen cheats products. I prefer a more minimalistic side – I get grumpy when my bathroom cabinet gets to full.

I get many people saying things like “Oh, I am sure it is just a little bad in that, surely it is ok”. Well, I have a few things to say to that. First of all, one of the best counter arguments I ever heard about having just a little of something bad: If you make brownies and take them to a friend, they ask whats in them. So you start to list off the ingredients.. chocolate, sugar, vanilla - at this point they pick on up to take a bite – flour, salt, cocoa powder, dog poo. Of course they are going to spit them out and be like WHAT! But you can say, ‘You know, it is just a little bit’. Still the same, just that little bit renders all that yummy (but gluteny) goodness bad bad bad! I was told this story when I was younger when I had one rather ‘bad’ friend in my group that I kept saying was ok – when they were harming us. The same goes for your body.. you eat and use all these other great, good, healthy, life promoting ingredients to then just add a dab of poo on top.

Secondly, I am working so hard to make sure that I have a clean diet, keep plastics out of my house due to the chemicals they leach – but sure I can just slather my body with all these small chemicals. I want to be chemical free. I want to have healthy kids someday and not worry that I poisoned my body and passed it to them. With the knowledge I have gained in the last few years  I just cant take a little ‘poo’ into my life. I know it is a nasty comparison – but I find it to be the best to drive home the point.

However, due to popular demand I will be sharing with you which products I do use and what I use them for.

Cleaning the body and the house

  1. Pure Olive Oil soap (Castile Soap, any scent/version works)
    • Hand dishes, toothpaste, shampoo, handsoap.
  2. Dr. Bronners Sal Suds
    • Laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, floor cleaner, multipurpose spray.
  3. Baking Soda
    • Deep cleaning of teeth, mixing in multi-purpose cleaner, oven cleaner
  4. Vinegar
    • Mixing in multi-purpose cleaner, Glass cleaner.
  5. Steam Mop
    • Floors, shower, toilet ect.

For washing the body…

Deodorant is still one of those things I am working on. Now that I have gotten my magnesium/vitamin D3 levels good – I don’t need it like I used too (ie. a bottle of the strongest stuff everywhere – an extra in the car, purse, desk ect). Now I put deodorant on when I shower (on average 2x a week) and maybe once more in-between. I have tried many natural deodorants in my time. Crystals, smelly things, homemade ones with baking soda or vodka or witch hazel, sprays, pastes, you name it! They tend to work for a few weeks, then I need to switch them up. One of the best of them was Coconut Oil – it really seemed to work really well and for a rather long time. It might work better for me now that I got the problem better managed.

What I am doing now is rotating a few deodorants. I have two Dr. Hauschka’s and rotate them. I am not sure why it works better when I rotate. The only thing that I think of is how  you build up a resistance to certain medicines – like painkillers or antibiotics – and that after using the same deodorant to long I render it inactive. I think that I will be able to get it down to one, once I have had the good balance of magnesium/vitamin D3 for a few more months. Cheeseslave has been able to get all the way off the deodorants by using magnesium. Which I find very encouraging – however it can take a few months to get to that point.

Body Wash seems to be a big thing with people. They want to smell like flowers next to a waterfall. To be honest, I don’t get that. I am just not a big fan of these smelly lotions and potions. I have a bar of olive oil soap in the shower, and I used it on the pits and privates. Sometimes I will wash my face, but to be honest I feel that every time that I do my face breaks out or gets way to dry. You see I think (and science does too) that you should leave the natural oils on your body. If you were to get really caveman about it.. I highly doubt that they were scrubbing all the oils off them – they probably just used some water and had more of a rinse to get dirt and gunk off. The oils on your skin are there to form a barrier from the gunk we come in contact with in the world and out precious insides. Our skins absorb so much – it is our first defence and in my opinion (and many science papers too) we are harming ourselves by stripping it away every day. So I am a big fan of the rinse aways the dirt and excess oil (if there is any) and get on with life theory.


“Stop scrubbing – your skin is not the bathroom floor.”

So many times people say things about how they have such oily skin or such dry skin and that they are trying this + this + that product to combat it. I have read and seen in friends that when they just stop scrubbing all that natural oil the body is producing that their skin clears up and looks great! It is the same as the hair/scalp (Read my other article about Washing Hair). When you overwash your hair – meaning that you strip all the natural oils away – your body thinks ‘Oh! We must not have made enough oil yesterday, so we need to up the amount we make today.’ Then you get over oily. It is as simple as that. I can not seem to keep count of the compliments I get about how nice my skin is. I am always asked what lotion it is or concealer it is that I am using as my skin looks so healthy and natural. People are always really surprised at the fact that the only thing going on my face is water, coconut oil (sometimes), and for special events maybe a little concealer under the eyes.

Shampoo As you all know from above and my previous post about Not Washing My Hair that I don’t use shampoo. If you read the old article, it is worth reading through the comments to see what I learned and changed along the way. As of the last 9+ months, I have been using a bar of olive oil soap. About once per week, I brush my hair very well to loosen anything stuck in it and wash it with just bar soap – also not with too hot water, that will lead to dried out skin equalling dandruff. I have also, taken the same bar, chopped it up and put it in a liter of warm water (glass jar). Then left it on the counter for a week and it dissolves into a thick ‘shampoo’ like consistency. I have this in the bathroom too.

Shaving cream Well, we have never been friends. I got so much flack when I was growing up for not using it (Mostly due to knicking myself badly when I was learning and getting told shaving cream was the only way to avoid it). I just did not like the feel. I prefer to just use water sometimes a little olive oil soap on the hands and a rub over the legs.. but really water works just fine. When I have used shaving cream in the past, it has given me really dry skin!

I have also heard about people using coconut oil, think that would work great if you needed an alternative to water or shaving cream.

Lotion & Lipbalm Coconut oil! But really, when you let your skin take care of itself (ie. not stripping away the natural oils) there is not to much of a need to lotions. I use coconut oil maybe 3x a month on my skin. I use it sometimes abit more on my lips, if they get abit wind-dry from the cold and windy Norway. Though unless I am eating poorly, I tend to not need it!

Toothpaste & Mouthwash There is a long post dedicated to this. I would just like to add in additon to using soap, I also use baking soda on Sundays. I just picked Sundays becuase it is easy for me to remember. It is nice to use it once a week, it polishes up the teeth and helps take of any tough stains that have shown up. As for mouth wash, when I feel I need it or when some sickness has been going around I take one capful of Hydrogen Peroxide and swoosh it around for about a minute in my mouth. It also helps remove stains from the teeth and is obviously killing the bad bacteria. Be forewarned - if you have never used Peroxide in your mouth.. if foams like crazy!

Now on to cleaning the house…

There are some eco reasons I prefer not to use standard detergents… if you are interested let me know or do a Google search on natural vs. chemical surfactant’s.

Lanundry  I used to use soapnuts.. and while I like them, I wanted to find something 1. easier to get ahold of where I live and 2. abit easier to use. So now I am using Sal Suds, from Dr. Bronner. (More info about Sal Suds below) The downside is that it does come in a plastic bottle, but it is post consumer recycled plastic. The soap itself is super concentrated so it last for ages. I think I might only need two 1 liter bottles per year at this point for the laundry.

Dishwasher Detergent This is one of my newest experiments. Add 1-2 teaspoons Sal Suds to your dishwasher (amount depends on the size you have). Add White Vinegar to the rinse aid. Wash as normal. Sadly this has not worked as well as I wanted it too. It might just be that my dishwasher is not all that amazing or the fact that we cook with fats. The dishes seem to have a odd film and sometimes dirty spots. — so on this it is back to the drawing board, so to speak.

A few words about Sal Suds. Firstly you can buy Sal Suds from my favorite online store  - iHerb! Sal Suds are:

  • Effective-Concentrated-Mild
  • Biodegradable Cleaner
  • 100% Cruelty Free
  • Preservative Free
  • No Added Color
  • Best of all - Complete Ingredient Disclosure

So those Ingredients are:

Water, sodium lauryl sulfate, coco-betaine, decyl glucoside, abies balsamea (balsam Canada) needle oil, tsuga canadensis (spruce) oil, citric acid, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium hydroxide.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This surfactant cuts grease and dirt, generates copious suds, and biodegrades quickly and completely. SLS is made by combining a sulfate group with lauryl alcohol from coconut oil, then attaching sodium. If improperly formulated, SLS can irritate skin, but our superb formula uses coco-betaine and lauryl glucoside to counter this.

Coco-Betaine: Mild and easily biodegradable, coco-betaine is formed by combining coconut fatty acids with betaine (a nature-identical synthetic so-named because it was first discovered in sugar beets). This foam-boosting cleansing agent buffers irritation caused by SLS.

Decyl Glucoside: This powerful grease-cutting surfactant is especially mild and quickly biodegradable, and is made by combining glucose from corn with fatty alcohols from coconut and palm kernel oils. Lauryl glucoside not only works with SLS to cut dirt and oily soils with exceptional ease, but also combines with coco-betaine to give Sal Suds smooth mildness.

Abies Balsamea (Balsam Canada) Needle Oil & Tsuga Canadensis (Spruce) Oil: Pure essential oils from fir and spruce give Sal Suds its wonderful aroma. Most other cleaners use synthetic fragrances or cheap harsh pine stump oil.

Sal Suds is NOT for the skin. It is a natural all-purpose cleaner.

Floors, All-Purpose Spray, Windows, Toilet Cleaner Just a few things will get those 3 covered. Sal Suds or a steam vacuum for the floor. I love my steam vacuum/mop! It has attachments that come off and allow me to clean the shower, toilet, windows, floors and more with it. yay! Also, a little bit of Sal Suds in a bucket of water will clean the floors and more! One tablespoon in a spray bottle with water will work for the counters and such. I have also cleaner counters (wooden) with vinegar in a spray bottle. Then if there is a tough spot – like the stove – I break out the baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda in the over and spray vinegar over it. The chemical reaction will break up all the gunk and make it super easy to clean. Use that same spray bottle of vinegar on glass and mirrors. There is no need to dilute the vinegar. For the toilet bowl, sprinkle in a bit of baking soda and scrub – I think it works great!

That is how cleaning is done in my house! If you have any questions just let me know :) As you can see I am not a fan of anitbacterial soaps. They kill out bacteria – the good and bad. They are also being attributed to low immunity in the US.

9 Responses

  1. Koritt January 29, 2013 / 15:48

    Great post! I love hearing about what other people are using instead of conventional products. :)

  2. August January 29, 2013 / 17:08

    Baking soda can work as a deodorant. I tried it after someone blogged about it, but I didn’t feel I needed deodorant enough to make it a habit.

    Borax has been around forever, and it is a helpful addition to the washing machine and dish washer. It also kills mold, and is a good scrubber for pots, the tub, etc…

    • Fonda LaShay February 13, 2013 / 10:27

      I avoid Borax and am unable to get it where I live – I assume it is because it is not allowed. I do not feel it is safe as the things I am using. The EWG’s Skin Deep Database lists it as a 5-6 (or moderate hazard) and is F grade (HIGHEST CONCERN
      Potentially significant hazards to health or the environment or poor ingredient disclosure). http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/2507-20MuleTeamBoraxNaturalLaundryBoosterMultiPurposeHouseholdCleaner

      Sal Suds has a A grade (Few/no known or suspected hazards to health or the environment. Good ingredient disclosure.) http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/496-DrBronnersSalSudsLiquidCleaner

      “Borax is quite popular online these days. It’s in recipes for everything from children’s craft concoctions to alternative cleaning products and homemade baby wipe solutions. Before you use it, though, make sure you know all the facts.

      Borax, which is also known as Boric Acid and is sold under the brand name “20 Mule Team,” is often touted as safe and natural. While it is a naturally occurring mineral, that doesn’t mean it is without dangers.

      Borax is often recommended as a “safe” pesticide, fungicide and cleaner, but it is officially classified as a poison. Government sites recommend that people who work with Borax use gloves and handle it with caution. Studies have linked it to reproductive problems in some lab animals, as well as a host of serious disorders at higher levels.

      Boric acid is an acute eye and respiratory tract irritant, which is quite toxic if ingested. In addition, it is unavailable in parts of Europe because of concerns that it caused birth defects and problems with the reproductive organs of children. It is recommended that pregnant women and children in particular do not have exposure to Borax.” – via http://www.magicalchildhood.com/articles/borax.htm

    • Fonda LaShay February 13, 2013 / 10:29

      I also tried the baking soda thing for deo too! I really had hoped it would work for me. But I developed a rash from it – after some reading I found this was a common issue with women due to it being like a all day long exfoliate on the skin. :(

  3. Niella February 22, 2013 / 00:00

    Hello Fonda,

    Do you know if there is any way I can buy the Oliva soap online? I really want to try it but it seems like it isn’t available to US residents (so far, the two sites I’ve found that sell this soap are based in the UK and do not accept international orders).

    • Fonda LaShay March 5, 2013 / 18:25

      You can use Dr. Bronners – it is what my family uses in the US. See the end of the article for a link

      • Niella April 5, 2013 / 23:33

        Alright, thanks!

        And one more thing: What concealer do you use?

        • Fonda LaShay April 6, 2013 / 20:56

          I don’t really. I have some old (aka: full of chemicals) concealer that I use a few times in a year. I suggest if you are a daily make up wearer to check out the Skin Deep Database. It rates many thing .. but here is the link for concealer: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/concealer

          If you find a good one that you like, please let us know! I really need to get around to replacing that old one with a good one. :)

          • Niella July 3, 2013 / 01:21

            Okay, thanks! Yeah, I use Revlon ColorStay from time to time, which is not so great. I will let you know if I ever find something good for sure. :)

            …And I have another question (haha): I recently purchased some Hygeia olive oil soap, which is made by the same company that makes the Oliva soap you use. The ingredients are saponified olive oil, water and mineral salts. I want to use this soap as a toothpaste alternative; do you find it okay to use? Are the ingredients in the Oliva soap any different?

What do you think?