Food & Fitness

How to make the switch to all-natural household products

I like to think that it’s inevitable that anyone who begins focusing on improving their nutrition, exercising regularly, being “greener,” and so on will get themselves involved in each of these other things. For me it started with eating better. From there I began to exercise more, and the environmental health came afterward. There are so many types of “health” in the world, from relationship health to financial health to a healthy work-life balance… the list goes on. But if we focus our attention on just one of these types of health, we’re going to find ourselves seriously lacking in other areas.

It’s not just about being healthy in one aspect. It’s about making lifelong, lasting, lifestyle behaviour changes.

Here at Living Healthy in the Real World, I tend to speak to the nutrition side of things most often. But today I want to look at how we can make the transition to household products, too. Most readers are already likely making changes to their food choices, but what about products such as dish soap, or laundry detergent, or moisturizer, or deodorant, or…? Conventional versions of these items are packed with toxins. On average, we expose ourselves to 100 environmental toxins every day. Think of how much we could reduce our environmental toxins by making at-home switches! Here are some recommendations to make the switch to all-natural, gentle, and non-toxic household products without making yourself go crazy:

  • Use baking soda and vinegar as frequently as possible. Combined, these two ingredients are a machine! Even just sprinkling a little bit of baking soda on a tough patch on a countertop and rubbing lightly with a cloth will often make it go away in seconds. You can also use baking soda and vinegar for mopping the floor, scrubbing the bath tub, and just about anything else.
  • Start by making just one tiny swap. Deciding to shift all of your conventional products for natural ones can be overwhelming. Thinking about the amount of cleaning supplies, toiletries, make-up, and other items we use regularly is daunting! That’s why I strongly encourage you to make just one switch at a time, and do it when you’re running low on that product. If you’re down to the bottom of your daily facial moisturizer, go to the nearest health food store and pick up one or two different creams (you might want to try a couple just in case one of them is not for you). I haven’t tried any natural shampoos yet simply because I haven’t run out of my conventional ones. Take your time. It could be months before your house is free of conventional products.
  • Figure out what items you couldn’t live without. Don’t worry about swapping these items (or at least, not yet!). If you make the change for 90% of your products, but decide to keep the conventional versions for the other 10%, that’s still a really big shift and reduction of toxins in your environment! And you might just find that by the time you’ve made all of these other switches, you’ll want to give up that last couple of items that you held onto so tightly at the beginning.
  • Explore. I used to always use Bounce sheets in my dryer, but recently Mr. Science and I stumbled across some chemical-free, unscented, reusable cloth dryer sheets at VitaHealth! I had no idea there was such a great replacement. Already I love them and can’t imagine going back to Bounce sheets.

If you’re stuck for finding products that you really like, check out the Internet for recipes on how to make your own all-natural products. Get creative and have fun with it!

Do you use all-natural household products? Are you interested in making the switch? What changes are the most overwhelming for you? What great finds have you discovered? Share in the comments section below!


  1. Cindy

    I have a steam floor cleaner mop that I have used for years on my hardwood and tile with no cleaning products and it is the best. On the other hand I have one of those steam cleaners you use to clean spills, counters and appliances and it is useless.

    1. Mary Anne in Kentucky

      I’ve heard so many good things about the steam cleaners I really want to try one (die, dust mites, die!) but they seem awfully expensive. They’re not at the top of my list of things I must pay for.

  2. Mary Anne in Kentucky

    As always, I’ll whine about allergies. I’ve never used more than a few cleaning products because they have fragrances or other things I’m allergic to, but of course that includes vinegar! Instant headache, vinegar is. Natural doesn’t automatically mean healthy.
    Dryer sheets? I can’t even stand to touch them, much less the fragrance, but what I’ve never gotten is why use them at all? What are they FOR? I know they keep synthetic fabrics from sticking together (and of course–allergies–I have hardly any) but so what? Pull them apart and shake them out and don’t spend money.
    Dishwashing liquid (fragrance free easy to find nowadays, YAY!), bar soap, bleach for when I want to sanitize or (in the washer) kill dust mites, scouring powder for the sink, laundry detergent (also fragrance free), rubbing alcohol to clean mirrors, that’s it in my house. And because of my dust and mold allergies, I clean regularly.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      That’s so interesting about vinegar – I never would have thought of that!

      I really like hearing your thoughts on these types of things Mary Anne, as I am definitely lacking in the knowledge about allergies area.

      (and I weirdly adore dryer sheets. Maybe because I grew up with them? I don’t know. Pulling clothes apart and shaking them does seem like the logical move…)

  3. Crabby McSlacker

    Love the notion of going bit by bit; some “natural” solutions just don’t seem to work as well as their creepy chemical counterparts, so taking the time to find individual solutions make sense.

    We have some dryer balls that we inherited from a previous occupant; some “only on tv” thing but they really seem to work well instead of any sort of single-use sheet. But they may be made from some sort of plasticky material so I can’t vouch for their greenitude.

    Great tips, thanks!

  4. Barbara

    Love this post. Do you know that the Environmental Working Group has a whole list of products and how they are rated with regard to toxins and such? They do that for cosmetics which you will never use if you see the actual contents. You can check almost any product online to see how it is rated. So, if you have one that you absolutely hate to give up, you can find out how toxic is truly is on their website.

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