Once Upon A Mommy

The Ups, Downs and All Arounds of Raising a Family

Month: December 2016

Detergent – Natural Laundry Detergent (And Brands to Avoid)

detergent

detergent

Detergent – The search for natural laundry detergent and which brands to avoid.

It started with diaper wipes (see previous post) and now I’m transitioning to laundry detergent. I have just begun on this progressive journey of trying to cut out chemical products from my home. My main go-to website to help me navigate this confusing world is EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaners. I often find myself popping a brand name in their search bar to see what kind of results it will get. I’ve been really surprised to discover some terrible ratings for some of the companies that I thought would be good alternatives. As I looked closer at their ingredient lists, I was amazed to see some concern for cancer. I definitely want to stay far away from those ones!!

After comparing a variety of brands, I came to a personal standard to help me narrow down my search. I’m chosing to stay close to the products that have an overall grade of A or B, no cancer concerns and certified green for the environment. Below, I’ll share some of my thoughts and findings for some of the common laundry detergent brands.

 

Tide – GRADE F!

Over five years ago, I used to be an extreme shopper – using coupons to get products for free. I took pride in how many household items I got for free or next to nothing. At the time, I was quite pleased to stock pile several years’ worth of laundry detergent. I’m actually on my last bottle of Purex right now. Over the course of time, I started to notice a pattern. I came to realize that the products that are the worst for us (chemically laden or highly processed junk) were the cheapest to buy because they had the most coupons available. At the time, I thought I was really well for myself. Then I started to stay away from purchasing certain products even if I had a coupon for it and could get it cheap. Knowing what I know now, I had no idea that the product I was using was not only harmful to the environment, but to my health.

Tide coupons are easy to get, but check out the letter grade…a fail!

detergent

Tide Detergent

 

Purex – GRADE D!

I’m currently on my very last bottle of laundry detergent from my stockpile 5 years ago. Because I’m on my last, I’m forced to start considering what new brand I should buy next. Since my values with health and the environment have changed over the last 5 years, I want to be more mindful about what I purchase. Here’s how my current brand rates:

detergent

Purex Detergent

 

Ecos – GRADE C

In my quest to find the next best laundry detergent, my first stop was Costco to see what they offered for natural laundry detergent. The brand, ECOS, was recommended to me as a good choice. I was so close to buying it during my next visit but decided to check it out first. Here’s what I found:

Detergent

Ecos Detergent

While there is no cancer concern and it is green certified, I decided that a grade C was too low for me. I wanted to see if I could do better.

 

Nellie’s Laundry Soda – GRADE B

I was at a baby shower a month ago and saw someone give the mother-to-be a tin of Nellie’s Laundry Soda. Out of curiosity, I inquired further and found out that it was a great “natural” product. I was so convinced that I went to the store and bought a can of the laundry soda and stain remover. I’m not sure why I didn’t look up the product first because when I did, I was shocked! I was surprised to find the bar graph for cancer more so than Tide or Purex!

detergent

Nellie’s Detergent

To be honest, I was confused why Nellie’s received a B grade, considering their concern for cancer, while ECOS was graded C and had no concern. EWG must take all factors into account when rating the products and determining their grade level. Even though the product is not green certified, I did like the short ingredient list. While the ingredients themselves rated well, the concern for cancer nagged at my conscious. Therefore, I returned the product.

Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda -100 Load Tin

Nellie’s All-Natural Oxygen Brightener Tin – 2 lb

Rockin’ Green Soap – GRADE Unknown

I bought a bag of Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent several years ago since it had a good reputation in the world of cloth diapers. While I can’t find the product on EWG, the label sounds promising. Mind you, I’m weary of whether I should trust its claims because other packages say “all-natural” and then turn out to be graded poorly. According to the label, the product is dye free, naturally scented, no fillers, vegan (I like that), and 100% phosphate free with bio gradable ingredients.

Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent Classic Rock Unscented

 

Seventh Generation – GRADED C

I thought I’d add Seventh Generation because I would default this brand to being a good natural option. I think many people consider Seventh Generation to be a safer alternative compared to the array of chemical products on the market. Upon looking at its rating, I must say, I’m actually surprised. I thought it would have done better considering the company promotes itself as a safer choice. Ironically, it is certified as a green product but the bar graph for environmental concern is high. Weird.

detergent

Seventh Generation Detergent

 

Method – GRADED B

When I asked around to see what laundry products friends use, Method came up. I thought I’d show how it rates as well.

I’m happy to see this product rated as grade B. However, I wouldn’t use it because of the cancer concern. I’m also surprised to see some ingredients rated grade D. And the bar graphs don’t look too pretty.

detergent

Method Detergent

 

Green Works – GRADED F!

Green Works is another product that I equate with being a more natural choice. The packaging actually states, “natural laundry detergent.” Well, I guess it just goes to show that we can’t trust the word “natural” from manufactures considering this product was graded F! I guess the “natural” is supposed to refer to the green certification.

detergent

Green Works Detergent

Lastly….the one I chose!

Attitude – GRADE A

Attitude Laundry Detergent


Just like my diaper wipes, I chose Attitude for my laundry detergent. Based on their performance so far, I’ll probably end up choosing this brand again as I continue my journey into soaps, cleaners, etc. Actually, when I purchased my laundry detergent, I bought their dishwasher eco pouches at the same time since they were on sale (the couponer is still in me).

Attitude Dishwasher Eco Pouches Phosphate Free Detergent — 40 Pouches

Notice the bar graphs below compared to the other products I showed. I find it so refreshing! This product gives me a piece of mind. Not only is it grade A, it’s green and has no cancer concerns (according to the bar graph). I understand that I’ll be paying more for this product compared to Tide or Purex, but I’m ok with that. Finding the product on sale has been a bonus and I’ve already started my stockpile!

detergent

Attitude Detergent

So there you have it…my laundry detergent journey that’s taken me 5 years to conclude. I hope some of the information I’ve presented will help you come to your own conclusions about what detergent is best for your family. You may not have the same convictions as me, and that’s fine.

Lastly, I found this resource that I had tucked away in a drawer. It’s a top ten list prepared from Environmental Defence. You can go through the link to download a pocket guide that you can take with you on the go!

Environmental Defence’s “toxic ten” list

  • 1,4 dioxane
  • Artificial musks
  • Coal tar derived colours
  • BHA and BHT
  • Formaldehyde-releasing agents
  • Petrolatum
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Silicone chemicals
  • Triclosan

Film Wrap Leeches Chemicals

Film wrap has changed over the years and poses harm to our health. Is there an alternative?

I always love going to Christmas craft fairs. It’s a chance for me to be without the kids and admire the novel, creative ideas of others.

When I was at the Circle Craft Fair the other week, I discovered a natural alternative to film wrap. It’s called Abeego – a reusable beeswax wrap that breathes. The wrap protects food from air and moisture and lets it breathe at the same time. It’s also safer substitute compared to using film wrap.

It seems like I’ve been on a journey of trying to eliminate harmful chemicals from my home. I’ve started with diapers and wipes, and then soap and laundry detergent. When the opportunity for replacing my plastic wrap presented itself, I was curious.

While I’m not familiar with all the ins and outs of plastic wrap, I know enough to speculate that it’s not a healthy idea….especially when heated in the microwave. I can only imagine the chemicals have the potential to leech into my food within the fridge as well. I’m not willing to gamble with that risk.

From my brief research, I’ve discovered that the plastics used to make film wrap have changed over the years. Originally, plastic wrap was made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) due to its flexibility properties. However, PVC contains phthalates which are hormone disruptors and they are chemical leechers.

In 2006, manufactures changed chemicals the to low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), which are phthalate free. However, they don’t cling as well and they are potentially linked to breast cancer and low sperm count.

Unlike food products, manufactures do not need to include an ingredient list on their products. Therefore, consumers are left vulnerable and at risk.

I was already familiar with the concept of using beeswax to create a version of plastic wrap. My sister-in-law made some for herself. While I like the idea of making it from scratch, I’m realistic enough to know it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Therefore, when I saw the vendor at the craft fair, I snatched up a pack!

Abeego – Set of 3

Film Wrap

I really like the reusable factor – it supports my environmental values and solves the problem of using plastic wrap. I also like the idea of keeping the food alive due to its breathable capabilities. However, to be honest, my only uncertainty towards using the product is my unclear stance on using bee products. I’m not educated enough on the topic and I don’t fully know where I stand yet. In the meantime, this is an appropriate alternative for me.

In the end, I ordered several packages for Christmas gifts. I like the variety pack the best because you get to experiment with 3 sizes. I’m experimenting with the product for now. It definitely doesn’t stick the way plastic wrap does but I’m keeping an open mind. Hopefully, I’ll continue the journey and start moving away from my plastic and Tupperware containers too.

Check out Abeego to see their variety of sizes and demonstration videos.

Brush Your Teeth – Avoiding Power Struggles With Your Children

Brush Your Teeth

www.istock.com

Brush your teeth every day, twice a day, for ideal oral hygiene. While this advice may be easy for adults, how do you get your kids to cooperate?

Brushing teeth with children can often resort to power struggles. I’m often at a loss with how to make this routine the least stressful in order to divert aversion. My goal is to make the experience as pleasant as possible in order for my children to have positive associations with teeth brushing.

I’m not going to lie. There are times when the power struggle has been so strong that I resorted to force out of sheer desperation. I’ve been told by dental hygienists to use whatever tactic necessary, including holding their hands down, to get the job done. However, I’m fearful if I force the experience, they will develop a negative association when they are adults. While there have been times that I’ve held my daughter’s hands while she has a hissy fit, it isn’t my preferred way. As a result, I’m left with trying to find creative solutions to make brushing teeth the most pain free as possible.

When my daughter was younger, it was easier to sing songs and use distraction techniques. Sometimes, I’ve counted backwards or come up with silly ideas like “brushing the sparkles off her teeth.” We’ve talked about sugar bugs and what happens if we don’t brush properly. I’ve even pointed out children with silver teeth to show her the consequences of not brushing properly.

I’ve found that that these strategies have worked well for different ages or seasons of time. I have to constantly reinvent myself in order to keep up with my aging child. She is now nearing 6 years old and I’m having to change my approach, yet again.

The other night, I came up with a new strategy for brushing teeth:

I told Ella if she can brush her teeth before the timer beeps, she can get 5 minutes to play before bedtime. I set the oven timer for 3 minutes, giving myself enough time to brush her teeth plus a buffer so she’d be successful, and then pretended to be in a rush to brush her teeth. I brushed for over 2 minutes and still had 11 seconds to spare! It seemed to work. Hopefully I can rely on this tactic to avoid future teeth brushing struggles.

Below are a few other strategies to use to brush your teeth:

Reward Charts: here’s a Printable Toothbrushing Chart from happinessishomemade.net

Brush Your Teeth

Brush Your Teeth Chart

Brushing Teeth Timer: a sand hourglass with a 2 minute timer

Smile Tooth 2 Minute Sand Timer Assorted colors

Songs: the teeth brushing song from Raffi

Education: a kid friendly video on why we brush our teeth

Below are some basic tips and rules for teeth brushing I thought were necessary to share:

  • As soon as your baby has their first tooth appear, you should start brushing. Even before the teeth rupture the gums, you can run a damp cloth along your child’s gums in order to get them use to the sensations and to develop some sort of habit.
  • By the time your child is 1 years old, or 6 months after the first tooth erupts, take your child to see the dentist. Usually the dentist will give your child a ride in the chair and count their teeth. The main point is to intervene for tooth decay and give your child a positive experience with the dentist to avoid future anxieties.
  • Use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Replace it after 3-4 months or as soon as it shows wear. It is not recommended to share toothbrushes with other people in order to reduce the transferring of germs.
  • Use a small dose of toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice, until age 3. Afterwards, increase to the size of a pea. Brush twice a day in the morning and before bed for at least 2 minutes. The molars should be your biggest priority because this is where cavities are more likely.
  • As soon as two teeth emerge that touch, floss your child’s teeth once a day. I find the floss sticks super helpful for this task.
  • Brush in a gentle circular motion with the brush at a 45 degree angle beside your teeth. The gums are at risk of receding if you brush in a vigorous back and forth motion.
  • At about age 6-7, children have the skills and coordination to brush independently. However, I’d still do a check over to ensure they did a sufficient job.
  • Fluoride can have mixed reviews depending on who you talk to. The American Dental Association recommends it. The Canadian Dental Association “supports the appropriate use of fluoride in dentistry,” which sounds like a broad application. Check out their website for more information.

Here’s some resources from the Canadian Dental Association:

An Egg Experiment – Egg shells and teeth are both made of calcium and are weakened by acid. Try this fun experiment to show your children how fluoride can strengthen your teeth and lock in the calcium.

Canadian Dental Association – information on teeth cleaning, tooth decay, fluoride, Halloween, and pacifiers/thumb sucking

 

 

© 2017 Once Upon A Mommy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)