Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Germaphobia: Keeping your house and hands germ free

Any which way you turn you are bound to run into something about H1N1, which may have you running scared. I know it has certainly been rattling our cage, and considering that Pooka has her third cold of the season I think it is time to redouble our germ fighting efforts. Luckily for us there are plenty of great products out there that fight germs without exposing Pooka to a slew of nasty chemicals.

The first line of defense in germ fighting is hand washing. You could purchase an antibacterial hand soap, but a regular soap can do the job just as well without using synthetic detergents or chemicals, or drying out your skin. Triclosan, the antibacterial agent found in many soaps and hand sanitizers, may contain dioxin and PCBs that I'd rather not expose Pooka to. My current favorite is California Baby's Moisturizing Handwash which uses ravensura, lemon, tea tree and coconut oil to be naturally antibacterial. It comes in a large 19 oz. bottle and will last for months. It's certainly not the cheapest out there, but it's packed with yummy smelling essential oils and like all California Baby products avoids synthetic detergents, fragrances and other baddies. Use warm water and scrub for at least 20 seconds (I like to go for 30 seconds, and sing the ABC's to be sure I scrub for long enough) to eradicate germs.

Another favorite of ours is the CleanWell family of products. CleanWell claims to kill 99.9% of germs without using Triclosan, toxic chemicals, artificial colors or parabens. At home we use both the All-Natural Antibacterial Hand Soap in zesty Spearmint Lime, and on the go we love the All-Natural Hand Sanitizer. The sanitizer comes in a large size, which we leave next to the changing table, and a travel size that we put in the diaper, stroller, and car. It smells 100 times better than Purell and doesn't contain alcohol. EO brand also makes a great hand sanitizer with organic essential oils and 62% organic alcohol. They have a variety of sanitizers in Lavender, Peppermint or Eculyptus scent, in spray, gel or wipe form, and in a variety of sizes. They even have a canister with 210 wipes that you can use to fill your spare wipes case and keep in your diaper bag.

Around the house there are tons of chemical free choices these days, but I definitely have my favorites. We adore the Dapple line of natural-based products, especially the Toy Cleaner Wipes. They smell great and are moist enough to tackle several toys with just one wipe, or you try the spray cleaner. Don't forget to bring the wipes with you to play group! They also have a great natural Dish Liquid and Dishwashing Powder that really helps get rid of milk residue and doesn't make me panic about how well I have rinse after washing because there are no nasties in the ingredients list. Dapple products are biodegradable, and free of parabens, SLES, phthalates, synthetic dyes and fragrances. You can also keep your toys germ free with Fields Organics. Their non-toxic organic cleaners were designed specifically for homes with children. Their Toy Cleaner is perfect for any surface your wee one has contact with including car seats, strollers, and countertops. Other products for the house include a great Stain Odor Remover that we use to pre-treat clothes and clean breastmilk and spit up from the couch and rugs. We also use their Laundry Detergent for all of our clothes, and they have additional products as well so be sure to browse their site. All their products use organic essential oils for their antibacterial properties and refreshing scent and a portion of the profits from Field's Organics products goes to support the Children's Health Environmental Network.

So arm yourself with these products to keep your dear ones healthy and free of nasty germs chemicals. Now I have to make the time to keep all Pooka's toys and gear squeaky clean!

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