How Do We Know our Household Products are Safe?

I went on a wild goose chase today of research where one discovery led to another and another and another. Surprises around every turn! Simply looking up an answer to a question is not easily achievable. With the amount of knowledge available and the varied opinions, it requires LOADS of research before we can truly formulate an answer for ourselves. Phew.

At any rate, it all started with an email… I have a subscription with a company called Grove Collaborative where I purchase household items on a monthly basis. I have been with them for less than a year, but I love all the clean, effective and sustainable products they offer. It works perfectly with our families move to a cleaner, healthier, less-waste household. Most of them are fairly affordable too. I have replaced our toilet paper and paper towels with a sustainable bamboo type (until I can get better at using less paper towels), I use a scrub brush made with walnuts, I have gotten some of their reusable baggies for my kids sandwiches and snacks, Smarty Pits deodorants and most of all, I love the Mrs. Meyers hand soaps, detergents and surface cleaners. My favorite scent is Geranium. Mmmmm.

Caucasian woman washing her hands

So, today I was excited because I received an email from Grove advertising about their new “microbiome store”. Say what?? Anything having to do with gut health always catches my eye these days as I KNOW how important it is ever since finding my own gut health through Plexus  products. It is definitely a rapidly growing health trend but it’s still not widely popular or accepted. I immediately clicked on the email link to check out what they were sharing and was impressed with the write up about the new product line. They basically mentioned what I already knew – that many cleaners cause damage to our delicate microbiome with certain ingredients. This new line of products kept your microbiome safe. I looked deeper… Basically, it’s glorified vinegar and essential oils. Def clean! But, no thanks, I can make that myself and already do. Sheesh – that’s terrible that some company is selling high end vinegar to people that clearly just buy a pretty label.

I kinda rolled my eyes and then decided to look more into this and see if anyone else was skeptical about other pretty labels that taut greener living. More research. I have used Environmental Working Group in the past to look up product safety, so I decided to look and see if all Grove products were rated A by the EWG. (It wasn’t a pretty ending) But, this research led me in a roundabout way to a “clean ingredient rating” app called Think Dirty (not associated with EWG) that I immediately downloaded. These days, it is tough to know what is clean and what isn’t because popularity and pretty tends to win everything (this sounds like high school). The app actually scans products and gives you a rating from 0-10 – 0 being clean and 10 being dirty. The app even gives you each ingredient and shows you the rating for each ingredient as well as the products overall rating. It offers cleaner options and personal reviews as well. Their rating system comes from public data collected from government and non profit agencies in the US. The dirty meter starts with 0-3 being a safe rating, 4-7 having potential moderate negative long term health effects and 8-10 having serious negative long term effects.


Of course, I jumped up and ran about my house scanning bar codes. Enlightening. My favorite Mrs Meyers Hand Soap in Geranium scent rated 8. Wahhhhhhhhhhh! I looked into why because maybe there was a way around it (please, please, please). Nope, synthetic fragrances can cause serious harm. So I looked up other scents of Mrs. Meyers hand soap and found that Rosemary and Peppermint both scored a SAFE 3. Some of the scents were a combination of essential oils and synthetic fragrances while the clean ones were just essential oils. Can I believe this app? Must continue my research. But, in the mean time, switch to only peppermint and rosemary.

In conclusion, this is all starting to make sense to me… I have been making so many of my own products at home using essential oils lately because I know that they are the only “fragrances” that ARE safe. Now, I am not saying to ditch Mrs Meyers or Grove – I am still a loyal customer. But, I do suggest downloading that Think Dirty app and just opening your eyes to what may be lurking in your home that you NEVER considered to be unsafe. And it’s definitely time to get cracking and make even more of my own products….like maybe some “microbiome safe – essential oil scented – vinegar cleaners”. LOL

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