Try This, Not That! Your Safer Summer Product Guide

Summer is one of the most fun-packed seasons of the year. But it’s also a time where you’re almost constantly exposing yourself to products to keep you safe from bugs and sunburns.  Before you reach for that old standby with questionable ingredients, here are some of our top choices for safer natural products this Summer.

Our Favorite Natural Product Swaps For A Safer Summer


This is the big one! We’ve talked about it before (here) 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.

Try This: Check out our guide here, and seek out natural product brands like Badger and Beautycounter that boast mineral-based sunscreen featuring non-nano zinc oxide. (And, for a tinted moisturizer option, try Beautycounter’s Dew Skin, made with a non-nano zinc oxide).

Not That: Neutrogena Sport SPF 50 sounds like the perfect protection for this steamy time of year, but it 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), PEG-30 (an absorption enhancer linked to organ system toxicity) and fragrance! Fragrances may make your sunblock smell refreshing or beachy, but remember that fragrances are linked with multiple health risks including hormone-disruption, neuro-toxicity, asthma, allergies. Yikes. And, while SPF 50 sounds like it should be safer, here’s why you shouldn’t be fooled by high SPFs.

Laundry Detergent

With sweat, sunscreen and grass and dirt stains (not to mention all the ice-cream eating), there’s a lot of laundry happening this season. Ditch the toxic chemicals and ensure your best duds are getting scrubbed by safer natural products with this simple swap.

Try This: 365 Everyday Value 2X Concentrated Powder Laundry Detergent (Unscented) is a safer choice because it contains no fragrance, stabilizers or surfactants. Powders and pods can be safer choices as liquid detergents often contain preservatives like methylisothiazolinone (MIT), so make sure you’re checking labels if you prefer a liquid detergent.

Not That: All HE Free & Clear comes in a nice white bottle and sounds like you’d be “free and clear” of concern, but not so. This formula ranks a big old F for safety from the EWG HEalthy Cleaning Guide due to buffers, stabilizers and fabric brighteners.

For more tips on tackling stinky, dirty Summer clothes, hop on over here. You’ll learn some tips that we’re pretty sure will change your laundry habits (did you know using MORE detergent makes odor worse?).

Bug Spray

Ugh, this is a tough one. 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 due to the concerning nature of vector-borne pathogens like the Zika Virus. Deet and Picaridin are two ingredients that have been studied extensively, so if you’re immunocompromised or pregnant, the risk of contracting a disease may be higher than the risk of wearing an insect repellant. While essential oils and natural substitutes work for some, this is a risk/benefit situation. This is one benefit of working hard to reduce your overall toxic exposure, so that your body is not as inundated with toxins and can better handle the ones you can’t, on rare occasion, avoid. For some great tips on safe insect repellent use and some natural products to check out, see this post.

All Purpose Cleaner

Summer’s many indoor and outdoor activities lead to messes of all kinds, so its tempting to reach for an all-purpose cleaner to handle everything from sticky popsicles to muddy paw prints. Sadly, these types of cleaners are some of the worst in terms of toxicity. Here’s a natural product swap that can handle any mess your pets and kids can throw at it, without putting their health at risk…

Try This: Force of Nature! We’re proud to offer families a truly all purpose, yet family-friendly cleaning solution that’s as effective as bleach but 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 some scary toxins like Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chlorides (C12-16) and Ethanolamine. Fragrance is a buzzword you should seek and avoid across the board, as it is a way for manufacturers to get away without disclosing hundreds of other ingredients (more on this here).

Whatever your summer brings, we’re here to help with tips, information on natural products. and, of course, our  effective cleaning system with no toxic chemicals, Force of Nature.  Summer on!

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