Firstly, apologies all round. As some of you will have noticed, i’ve been MIA over the past couple of weeks as i’ve been sunning it up in the UAE. Too much pool time, not enough work time. So I apologise.
I’ve been pondering about writing this post for quite a while but what really spurred me to get my toosh into gear was my time in the UAE. When I was there, I was having our laundry done by the hotel and every time it was returned to our room, it had the overbearing smell of washing powder and not-so-fresh flowers. You know the smell i’m talking about? Like my cotton pyjamas had just returned from a private tour of a world-renowned artificial jasmine and gardenia farm. Delicious…….ly toxic. Further, some of them had shrank (or I’d had too many mocktails by the pool) and the fibres just felt absolutely rubbish to the touch.
I like to think the people who read my pages care about a number of things. In particular, their own personal health, the environment and the sentient beings we share our planet with. These things are very important to me. However, when people talk about their health, they often talk about the foods they’re eating, the exercise they’re doing and what products they’re using on their skin. And when they talk about the environment, they often refer to how much they’re driving and if they recycle regularly. One thing that is often not considered to be important and is brushed over regularly are household cleaning products, which most people use every single day and are a staple of nearly all households. Why not more attention is paid to them, I have no idea. Choosing the right cleaning products is not only crucial for your health but also the environment.
Image: Follow Green Living
Over the years I have seen countless people only buy organic produce (for example) but who will happily place their pesticide-free fruit and vegetables down on their bench top which has just been sprayed and ‘cleaned’ with a toxic household cleaner. I have also heard many people complain about having sensitive skin, only to ask what they use in their laundry to which I receive a response along the lines of ‘Oh, I use (insert toxic laundry powder here). Is that bad?’. To make matters worse, most of the well-known supermarket stocked household cleaners and laundry detergents available are tested on animals. Thousands of animals every single year. I’m not going to name any names. *Cough* Windex* Cough* Spray ’n’ Wipe* Cough, Cough* Cold Power* Cough.
However, before you get your knickers in a knot and decide to revert to the old washing method of a tub of hot water, a wooden washboard and a bar of soap, let me introduce you to one of the good guys, Ecostore. Ecostore is a range of household cleaning products that i’ve been using for almost a year now. It was founded in 1993 by New Zealander Malcom ‘Ecoman’ Rands and his wife Melanie from their home in a fully sustainable eco village (which they co-built) in the rural area of Northland, New Zealand. From there, Ecostore was created around the idea of providing affordable everyday household cleaning products that would enable people to live a healthier lifestyle without the use of conventional toxic cleaners.
According to Malcolm, there are more than 84,000 chemicals in existence for commercial use with over 1000 new chemicals being developed each year around the world. Legislation can’t keep up with chemical development and chemicals are being released into the market and everyday products before the links are made between some of these chemicals and health concerns like allergies, hormone disruption, asthma and even cancer. Recent studies have shown that the levels of harmful ingredients indoors are on average three to five times, but up to as much as 1000 times greater than those outdoors, even in the most polluted areas. (1) Do you want these chemicals around your children? Your home? Your food? No, I didn’t think so.
Ecostore believes that their products must not only be good for your health but good for the planet as well. Their products and packaging are made up of recycled and recyclable materials in a bid to minimise waste. So much so, that when I received my first package from Ecostore I thought it was filled with styrofoam only to find out that it was actually biodegradable pieces of padding, so that went straight in the compost. Clever!
Every single ingredient is listed on the Ecostore products and packaging so there is no confusion as to what you are exposing yourself too. They use only essential oils to fragrance products and there is never any hidden nasties – there is a guide on the Ecostore website about every single ingredient and what it does. While Ecostore isn’t entirely vegan (they use goats milk in some soaps and manuka honey in others) they are an accredited cruelty-free company that only tests on human volunteers.
These are some of my favourite products and ones I use regularly in my own home:
Soaker & Stain Remover
Delicates & Wool Wash
Multi Purpose Spray
Bathroom & Shower Spray
Glass & Surface Spray
Auto Dish Tablets
Research continues to prove how harmful chemicals can be for both our health and earth and Ecostore believes that choosing chemical-free products should be considered by all consumers. The Ecostore range is available in over 2000 supermarkets and independent stores across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea as well as some supermarket chains in the US, including 150 stores in New York. The full product range is also available online at www.ecostore.com.au.
While there are many companies that claim to be ‘natural’ and good for the environment on the market today (most of them actually aren’t), Ecostore is one that i’ve continually turned to for my household cleaning products. They have something for everything. If you have any questions about any of the Ecostore products, feel free to contact me. Alternatively, Ecostore are very active on their Facebook page and are always happy to answer any of your queries.
Happy spring cleaning!
(1) Scientific American via Chemicals in the Home: http://chemicalsinthehome.com/category/toxic-household-cleaners/