Summertime activities mean we tend to apply many more personal care products – like sunscreen and bug spray – directly to our skin (and often reapply them multiple times over the course of a day!). This kind of product is the perfect place to start replacing with natural products instead of chemically-based ones that can be loaded with toxins. To help, we’ve put together our quick and easy natural product swaps for replacing your summer go-tos with family-safe versions.
4 Easy Safer Summer Natural Product Swaps
Start here! We’ve covered non-toxic sunscreen and we love the Environmental Working Group’s yearly Guide to Safer Sunscreen, but to give you a quick comparison, here’s one natural product swap that you can take with you to the beach this summer.
Not That: Don’t be fooled by high SPF! High SPF “sport” formulas, like Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF 100 is an example of a product worth thinking twice about before buying. Its convenient spray formula may seem like a perk, but in light of its propellants and other chemicals you and your kids can inhale, you’ll want to check out other options. It also contains ingredients like oxybenzone (an ultraviolet light absorber and filter that’s linked to a host of health problems like hormone disruption and low birth weight) and fragrance, which is an umbrella term that can hide hundreds of chemicals that are associated with health risks like hormone-disruption, neurotoxicity, asthma, allergies.
2. Laundry Detergent
With all the laundry happening in this sweaty, popsicle-filled season, your detergent is a power player in your non-toxic, natural cleaning product arsenal! Make sure you’re not exposing your skin to toxic chemicals by wearing them daily. And, get some more non-toxic laundry tips to find out how changing your laundry habits could help kick odors and stink to the curb, for good!
Try This: 365 Everyday Value 2X Concentrated Powder Laundry Detergent (Unscented) and Attitude Little One’s Fragrance-Free are two safer choices that contain no fragrance, stabilizers or surfactants. Check your labels, as even “natural” brands can use sketchy ingredients, such as preservatives like methylisothiazolinone (MIT) which is a common ingredient in liquid detergents.
Not That: All 2X Ultra Oxi-Active Laundry Detergent HE, Waterfall Clean – yikes! Where do we even start? This product scores an F on the EWG Healthy Cleaning Guide due to surfactants, stabilizers, fragrances, colors, preservatives, and fabric brighteners all of which (you guessed it!) are linked to health issues like respiratory issues, hormone disruption and more. You wear your clothes right on your skin, which can absorb the chemicals it’s exposed to.
3. Bug Spray
Insect repellent is an interesting product category because we have to weigh the consequences of it not performing, leaving us susceptible to some pretty nasty vector-borne pathogens like the Zika Virus. While we are all about natural products and solutions, this is one area where even the Environmental Working Group is coming down on the side of conventional bug spray and recommends two ingredients, Deet, Picaridin and IR3535, chemicals that have been studied extensively for safety. If you’re immunocompromised or pregnant, the risk of contracting a disease may be higher than the risk of wearing a chemical insect repellant. This is definitely one to ask your doctor about.
It’s important to note, as well, that just because a product is made with essential oils or “natural” ingredients, it is not automatically safe. For example, it’s not recommended that children under 3 use products that contain Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, a refined version of the naturally occurring PMD, which is classified as a biochemical pesticide.
If you’re not in a high-risk group, then it may be worth experimenting with some essential oils or natural products, but, first, do a quick search on the EPA’s site to find the right type of bug spray for you. And, keep working to reduce your overall toxin exposure so your body can better handle the ones that you have less of a choice about using.
4. All Purpose Cleaner
From muddy paw prints from fun in the sprinkler to watermelon drips and melted ice cream on car seats, summer’s many happy messes leave you reaching for the cleaning supplies often. Unfortunately, those brightly colored spray bottles that claim to clean things up can pack a pretty gross punch of toxic chemical exposure for your family.
Try This: Force of Nature! We’re proud to offer families a truly all-purpose, yet family-friendly natural cleaning and deodorizing solution that’s as effective as bleach, yet gentle enough to spray on your baby’s high chair and pacifier! Using simple water, vinegar, and salt in the correct proportions, our system creates electrolyzed water, a powerful cleaner that’s been used in the commercial space for decades for everything from wound and veterinary care to ophthalmological uses and, of course, disinfecting and cleaning.
Not That: 409 is a well-known all-purpose cleaning solution that contains toxins like Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chlorides (C12-16) and Ethanolamine, corrosive ingredients that are associated with the potential for respiratory effects, general systemic and organ effects and nervous system effects. And, don’t forget, as mentioned above, Fragrance is a buzzword you should seek and avoid across the board, as it’s a way for manufacturers to get away without disclosing hundreds of other ingredients.
Whatever summer dreams up for you, we’re always here to help with tips, information on natural products. and, of course, our effective cleaning system with no toxic chemicals, Force of Nature. Have a great summer!