“Going green” is not a change that you can make suddenly. It takes time, research, and a change of habits to get started. If you take on too many changes at once, chances are you will overwhelm yourself and all your intentions will be sunk. What the transition doesn’t take is more money. Natural house cleaning and solutions are much, much cheaper than conventional items, both in the short and long term.
My journey started after I became pregnant with my first. I became concerned with all the chemicals contacting my skin, and through me, the little developing body within me. So I started taking a look at all the products I was using on my body. A great resource in this is the Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This site reviews many, many personal care products, and explains those unpronounceable ingredients—what they do and what hazards are associated with them. Their Guide to Healthy Cleaning does the same for cleaning products.
Then I moved to a house with a septic system, where everything that went down my drain ultimately ended up in my yard. It didn’t just go away into the great nether world of a sewer system. So, I started changing what I used around the house.
One of my first switches was with the laundry. This was a really easy one because the cost per load of Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner to conventional detergent was about the same. Plus, the Sal Suds worked better and since it’s fragrance-free, I didn’t need to worry about a separate detergent for my children’s clothes. Soon after, when my curious 2-year old got hold of the bottle of 409, I switched the sprays I use on household surfaces to use an All-Purpose Household Cleaning Spray made with either Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap or Sal Suds. After that, it became a matter of tweaking what I do here and there, and learning more tricks of the trade.
So, make it easy on yourself with one step in front of the other. Which ingredients do you already have on hand? Work with them first. Leave any environmental eco-guilt behind—it’s not a long term motivation. What change do you care about the most? Start there.