Filed under: Healthy Home
9 Surprising Uses for Oxy Boost (It’s Not Just for Laundry!)

We at The Honest Company created Honest Oxy Boost because we don’t like what conventional chlorine bleach does to our lungs, our skin, our families, fabrics, and the environment. So, our Oxy Boost has all the power of conventional bleach, minus the toxic fumes and risks. And, just like bleach is used for far more than just laundry, our Oxy Boost is super multi-functional, too! Here are 9 surprising uses to get you started unleashing the power of this product today!

 

9 Surprising Uses for Oxy Boost

 

1. Sanitize bottles, toys, cutting boards, & more! Dissolve 1-2 pods in a sink of hot water and dunk your dirty doo-dads. Let soak for 20 minutes or longer, wash with Honest Dish Soap, rinse, and dry. (Note: wooden toys and cutting boards should not be soaked.)

2. Polish porcelain sinks. Make a paste by mixing crushed pods with hot water. Apply to surface of sink, let sit for 10-20 minutes, rub, and rinse.

3. Freshen drains & disposals. Dissolve 1 pod in 2 cups hot water and pour down drains once a month to clean and deodorize them.

4. Manage mold & mildew. For non-porous surfaces, make a solution of 1 pod in 2 cups hot water and pour into a spray bottle (for tougher jobs, make the paste mentioned above). Apply to surface and let it sit for 10-20 minutes. Gently scrub and rinse clean. This works great for soap scum, too! (Learn about preventing mold and mildew and important safety issues from the EPA.)

5. Kick coffee stains off your mugs, cups, and carafes. Dissolve a pod in a sinkful of hot water and soak dishes for a few minutes.  For tough stains, gently scrub.  Wash and dry as usual.

6. Deodorize your diaper pail. Simply break up a pod (or two) and add to hot water. Clean the pail with this solution, rinse, and dry before adding dirty diapers.

7. Wipe out weeds in walkways. Crumble a pod or two into a bucket of hot water and pour over weeds in the cracks and crevices of your sidewalk and driveway. Those pesky plants should be dead in a day and the Oxy Boost solution will help keep them from coming back. (Note: works best on sunny days. Also, be careful not to get the solution on surrounding plants or grass.)

8. Clean-up concrete. Stains or mildew making your concrete patios and walkways look a little lackluster? Mix a few crumbled pods into a gallon of hot water and pour onto the offending area. Let it sit for about ten minutes, scrub with a wire brush and rinse. Tougher stains may take more treatments.

9. Whiten walls. Say goodbye to sticky fingerprints! If you have white walls in need of a quick cleaning, break up one pod of Oxy Boost and mix with a liter of water and a few drops of Honest Dish Soap in a spray bottle. Spray, wipe, and presto! (Note: works best on white or other light-colored walls with glossy or eggshell finishes. Always spot test first.)

BONUS:  Try Honest products for free and also get 40% off your first purchase by entering Honest40 at checkout.  Valid for first-time US & Canada customers only.  Expires on April 30, 2014.

What’s on Your Food? You May Not Want to Know…

What is on Your Food? You May Not Want to Know

Do you think washing your food with water alone is enough to make it safe to eat? You might not after reading this…

But, don’t worry, The Honest Company can help you with kitchen prep and food safety — making “clean” eating easy.

Pathogens on Your Food

Tainted food recalls make regular headlines and have included everything from contaminated cantaloupe, mangoes, and papayas to peanut butter, ground turkey, and tuna. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group reports that foodborne illnesses increased by a whopping 44% between 2011 and 2012, and continue to make 48 million people sick annually. “Foodborne illness can be much more severe than a simple upset stomach,” says Deirdre Cummings of Massachusetts’ Public Interest Research Group. “It can cause serious chronic health problems….”

Pesticides on Your Food

And, unless you’re buying all organic (which most of us can’t afford), there are almost definitely pesticides on and in your food. What’s On My Food?, a searchable database from the Pesticide Action Network, makes it easy to learn what pesticide residues have been found on everything from asparagus to butter and poultry. Even apples might not keep the doctor away — according to the USDA, pesticide residues found on those grown conventionally have included chemicals linked to cancer, brain impacts, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental disorders.

Because fresh produce can get contaminated where it’s grown, sold, and made, The Honest Company can give you peace of mind when cleaning your kitchen and preparing your food.

Here’s What You Can Do

1. Buy organic when possible. Look for foods with lower levels of pesticides when you choose conventionally grown foods.

2. Look for produce that’s not bruised or battered.

3. Start with a clean slate. Food safety at home starts with a clean prep area. Wash your hands. Spritz down your countertops. Suds up your cutting boards and utensils in hot, soapy water. This way, you reduce unwanted contaminants before handling your fruits and veggies. (Tip: When possible, try to use natural, non-toxic cleaning products!)

4. Wash your produce (even organic) right when you bring it home. It’s easiest and most efficient to wash everything at the same time. And then you don’t run the risk of cross-contamination. The U.S. FDA advises skipping soap since fruits and veggies are porous and can absorb soaps or detergents. Honest Fruit & Veggie Wash is an easy option that’s 100% non-toxic and plant-based and effectively removes unwanted:

  • Toxic pesticide and chemical residues;
  • Pathogens, waxes, dirt, handling oils, and bacteria surface contaminants (found on both conventional and organically grown produce).

And it doesn’t leave any taste or odor behind. Check out these photos comparing produce washed in water vs. those sprayed or washed with Honest Fruit & Veggie Wash.

Water-versus-Fruit-and-Veggie-Wash-Broccoli

Learn more about Honest Fruit & Veggie Wash and how easy it is to use.

BONUS:  Try Honest products for free and also get 40% off your first purchase by entering Honest40 at checkout.  Valid for first-time US & Canada customers only.  Expires on April 30, 2014.

Make the Swap to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products (+ Giveaway!)

cleaning makeover 1

For the longest time, many of us used typical household cleaning products without thinking twice about what nasty chemicals we might be adding to our indoor air. (Perhaps a hint was how many of us had to hold our breath when cleaning!) Turns out, most household cleaning products are full of irritants that you don’t want to breathe or get on your skin.

Whether you love cleaning or not, it’s something we all to do keep our homes looking nice and feeling comfortable and we want to know we’re making our environment safer and cleaner. But cleaning with toxic chemicals actually adds pollutants to our home, so perhaps we’re eliminating bacteria but the trade-off is adding irritants and carcinogens to our environment. With non-toxic cleaning products you can keep your surfaces and air clean and safe!

Honest is continuously expanding its line of cleaning products. For those of us who enjoy cleaning (or at least enjoy lounging in a clean house when we’re done!), we’ve come up with some non-toxic DIY solutions, too.

But first, let’s break down some of the harmful ingredients in the most popular cleaners:

The nasty chemicals in typical cleaning products include fragrances (serious toxins!), VOCs, dyes, formaldehyde, and many more substances that are harmful to humans and the environment. Women’s Voices for the Earth commissioned an independent study of 20 popular cleaning products from five companies. The analysis shows there were harmful chemicals in many of these products, and sometimes the manufacturer didn’t even list those chemicals on the product (like allergens in fragrance-free products). Check out what else is in some popular cleaning products:

Popular glass cleaners may contain:

2-Hexoxyethanol- A cleaning agent link to central nervous system depression and is an upper respiratory irritant.

Sodium C14-17 Sec-Alkyl Sulfonate- A wetting agent that is hazardous to the environment and an irritant to skin and eyes.

2-Butoxyethanol- Confirmed animal carcinogen. Irritant for human’s eyes, skin, and lungs.

Popular all-purpose sprays may contain:

Phthalates – Even at very low doses, phthalates can cause hormone disruption and reproductive harm including birth defects.

Toluene – Toluene exposure has been linked to pregnancy complications, birth defects and developmental delays in children.

Ethanolamine – Human skin and respiratory irritant. Limited evidence of gastrointestinal or liver toxicity.

Popular wood polish/oil may contain:

Trisodium NTA – This corrosive substance causes injury to eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. It’s a possible human carcinogen.

Formaldehyde – Known human carcinogen. Respiratory and skin allergen.

Swap Out Guide

Considering what you now know about all the nasty chemicals in typical cleaning products, we bet you’re eager to swap those old cleaners out with new, non-toxic ones. Give your cleaning supplies cabinet a makeover with safe products like the ones below in this cleaning makeover guide.

 

Instead of typical glass cleaner use:

cleaning makeover glass

Honest Glass + Window Cleaner contains: water, alcohol denat. (corn-derived solvent), caprylyl/myristyl, glucoside (plant-based surfactant), acetic acid (plant-based vinegar).

(You can read about the ingredients we use, as well as some we don’t, and why in our Ingredients 101 series every Wednesday.)

 

Instead of typical dish washing soap use:

cleaning makeover dish soap

Honest Dish Soap contains: purified water, cocamidopropyl betaine (coconut-based cleanser), sodium coco-sulfate (coconut-based cleanser), cocamidopropylamine oxide (coconut-based cleanser), phenoxyethanol (pH-sensitive preservative), methylisothiazolinone (preservative), litsea cubeba oil, citrus limonum (lemon) peel oil, canarium luzonicum gum oil.

 

Instead of typical all-purpose cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover multipurpose

Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner contains: Purified water, sodium coco sulfate (coconut-based cleanser), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), phenoxyethanol (pH-sensitive preservative), citrus grandis oil (N.O.P. certified organic grapefruit oil), PPG-4 laureth/Myreth-5 (coconut-based cleanser), alcohol (fermented from corn sugars), methylisothiazolinone (preservative).

 

Instead of typical toilet cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover toilet

Honest Toilet Cleaner contains: Water, citric acid (plant-based pH regulator), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), gluconic acid (plant-based pH regulator), xanthan gum (natural viscosity enhancer), potassium sorbate (plant-based preservative), lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil.

 

Instead of typical bathroom cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover bthroom

Honest Bathroom Cleaner contains: water, ethyl alcohol (fermented from corn sugar), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), sodium gluconate (plant-based water-softener), sodium citrate (plant-based water-softener), potassium sorbate (plant-based preservative), citric acid (plant- based pH regulator), aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, mentha arvensis (wild mint) leaf oil, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil.

 

You can also make your own cleaners with things in your pantry:

  • To remove mildew from a shower curtain, apply a paste of baking soda and a small amount of water, scrub with a brush.

  • To remove grease stains from cloth pour boiling water over the stain. For non-washable cloth, mix cornstarch, baking soda, and a small amount of water to form a paste. Apply to a grease stain and brush off when dry.

  • To naturally deodorize air without using a generic freshening spray, which typically contain all sorts of things you don’t want to breath, like phthalates and synthetic fragrances. In The Honest Life, Jessica Alba recommends mixing vodka with a few drops of essential oil and putting the mixture in a spray bottle. Vodka contains ethyl alcohol, which absorbs odors.

  • For alcohol, coffee, and tea stains, mix 1/3 cup white vinegar with 1/3 cup water, dab onto stain with a clean rag and wipe off.

  • To remove a tough fabric stain or carpet stain try mixing our liquid laundry soap with water and using a clean toothbrush to scrub the stain out. Wipe clean with a wet cloth.

  • Clean copper pots with lemons and salt, or cover in ketchup and scrub with a scouring pad.

  • To clean stains from glass cookware, soak in a mixture of hot water and baking soda for about 20 minutes then scrub clean.

What are your safe cleaning tricks and tips? Also, we’d love to know which Honest cleaning products are your favorites! Tell us in the comments!

Giveaway

To enter to win this Cleaning Products Giveaway, simply enter a comment by using the Rafflecopter entry form below telling us how you’re honestly going non-toxic with your household cleaning products. You also have the option (although not required) to earn two bonus entries by liking our Facebook page and subscribing to our blog. No purchase is necessary to enter to win. This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. The giveaway will run until 11:59 pm PST Tuesday, February 18th.  One winner will be chosen at random. Read the complete giveaway rules to participate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How To Create a Modern, Eco-Friendly Nursery For Baby

Finding cute, eco-friendly baby items is getting easier and easier. If you want to go green with your decor, you no longer have to choose from the standard muted tones that sustainable design is known for. Now there are plenty of environmentally friendly nursery items that incorporate cheerful color into your baby’s room, so it’s possible to move beyond the beige!

Bonus! Eco-friendly items have less of an impact on the environment. Things made with sustainable and organic materials, and non-toxic chemicals are healthier for your family and planet earth.

Here, we’ve compiled a selection of nursery furniture, must-haves, cute toys, and decorating tips to help you get started. When creating your registry for your nursery or making inspiration boards, remember babies’ brains are like sponges soaking up the environment around them. Consider how stimulating, comforting, and imaginative you want the design to be. Mix these fun items with your functional must-haves to create a nurturing, eco-friendly space:

eco-friendly nursery 6

  1. This handmade felt garland in bright, vivid colors makes a great gift for a baby shower.
  2. Fly high with this nostalgic wooden airplane. Handmade from cherry, red oak, granadillo, and hardwood, plus non-toxic finish, this heirloom-quality toy will be a keepsake for many years.
  3. A sweet and creative design, this sleepy lion pillow cover is made from natural linen. It’s machine washable (on gentle cycle)—great for busy moms!
  4. Add some color and imagination to nursery walls with these non-toxic hot air balloon wall stickers
  5. Get your little one appreciating nature from an early age. This watercolor fox print measures 8×10 inches and is printed on 100% cotton paper.
  6. This hand painted light switch cover can be customized with your baby’s name. Made of ceramic and kiln-fired, the light switch is 100% lead-free.
  7. Made from premium organic cotton, this flag banner features seven flags in soft blues, gray, orange, and white.
  8. This rustic bookcase is a great piece for fashionably storing baby’s books, toys, and other items. Made from recycled cedar, you can choose the color and cut-outs of this bookcase. 
  9. Soft and safe, this organic frog rattle is handcrafted from a seller on Etsy.

 

eco-friendly nursery 2

  1. This “a day in the park” eco-friendly, non-toxic wallpaper from Etsy comes in a variety of designs but we love this nature-inspired print.
  2. New parents will appreciate this cute and practical sheep wall clock. Made from 3-ply bamboo (a sustainable material), this clock has more than 2,000 positive reviews on Etsy.
  3. This organic made-to-order pillow cover has an envelope closure that makes washing a breeze. 
  4. Here’s a clever and affordable idea from The Honest LifeSimply up-cycle old scraps of fabric in pretty frames, or paint existing frames with no-VOC paint.
  5. This modern playhouse is sure to stoke curiosity as your little one grows. And the bold color and modern design adds some interest to a nursery room.
  6. Store baby’s first books in this woodland creatures bookshelf is made from wood and non-toxic paint.
  7. Repurposed from the Tale of Peter Rabbit, this banner comes with 12 flags and can be hung around windows, a crib, or hang on nursery walls. 
  8. How cute and girly is this handmade rag doll? “Flora” is made from all organic materials and would make the perfect decor item for a bookshelf or dresser. Once your baby girl is old enough to play with her, Flora’s braided hair can be undone and played with. She also comes with two scraps of organic cotton/soy/spandex jersey to use as hair ties, belts, or a head wrap.
  9. Eco-friendly and organic, these two stuffed mom-and-baby penguins would be great for decor and as toys.
  10. Your baby will love the color, texture, and sounds of this 5-inch organic crochet ball rattle. Twelve African flower motifs are sewn together to make this mauve, purple, powder pink, light green, and turquoise rattle.

 

eco-friendly nursery 3

  1. Our new crib is Honestly amazing—functional, stylish, and of course, completely safe for your baby. The 4-in-1 design lets you transform it from a baby’s crib to a daybed to a toddler bed to a full size bed for big kids.
  2. You’ll want to get a non-toxic, organic crib mattress since baby will spend so much time in his crib and his little body is extra sensitive to chemicals that might be in typical mattresses. This one from Naturepedic is also waterproof.
  3. It’s a good idea to have a few washable changing pad covers handy. This changing pad cover is available on Etsy and made from organic flannel. It can be customized to fit the size of your changing pad.
  4. Our swaddle blankets come in packs of 3 and are made in collaboration with aden + anais. Lightweight, generously sized blankets are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton muslin.
  5. A colorful rug will brighten-up a room, keep your feet warm if you have hardwood floors, and provide a soft surface for baby to play. This hand-braided rug is made from new USA organic cotton and some recycled T-shirts, and is machine washable.
  6. The Nuna LEAF organic baby rocker takes inspiration from the movement of a leaf in the breeze. The rocker is noise-free and motor-free, and will gently move for 2 minutes. Made from aluminum alloy, steel, and organic cotton.
  7. Paint is the easiest and cheapest way to liven-up a room. Mythic Paint creates non-toxic paints free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
  8. Somewhere to sit while nursing is essential in any nursery. This rocker and ottoman are made from mostly recycled materials.
  9. Ensure the air baby breathes is pure and clean with this BioGS air purifier from Rabbit Air.
  10. You’ll need somewhere to store all of baby’s toys. We love this safari-themed toy box because it’s made from solid eco-friendly rubberwood, crafted with formaldehyde-free glue, and painted with non-toxic paint.

 

Decorating Tips

  • Decorating doesn’t have to be expensive. In The Honest Life, Jessica recommends shopping yard sales and Craigslist for used wooden items. You can refinish and re-paint these finds with no-VOC paint. This way, you get new furniture that’s eco-friendly, non-toxic, affordable, and original. In a nursery the wooden items you’ll need are a dresser (with room for a changing table on top), a side table, a crib, and a rocking chair with an ottoman.
  • On a similar thread, if you buy basic nursery furniture you can personalize it by adding non-toxic wallpaper or fabric to the front side of the drawers, or change the knobs out with fun, colorful ones.
  • Paint is one of the easiest (and most affordable!) ways to add color and personality to a room. Be sure it doesn’t contain any VOCs, which have some pretty nasty possible long-term effects.
  • We love Etsy for its variety of organic and non-toxic baby items. You can get one-of-a-kind and customizable nursery decor that’s often a fair price for the amazing handcrafted quality.
  • Here is an affordable and beautiful DIY for baby’s room, especially in the summer months: a blooming monogram. The blog Urbanic Paper shows us how to make this using basic crafting supplies you can find at your local craft store such as paper mache letters, a glue gun, floral foam and silk flowers.

eco-friendly nursery 4

  • Make your own nursery chandelier using a lamp shade and some felt. Follow our amazing (yet simple) DIY instructions here.

eco-friendly nursery 5

  • If you’re fairly handy, you can make your own toy box from a wooden crate, plywood, casters and a few other supplies. Just follow this DIY from the blog ThisLittleStreet.com. You can also purchase some adorable eco-friendly toy boxes online (like the one above!).

 

Tell us about the eco-friendly nursery items you like!

One Mom Shares How She Set Family Goals

family goals

When I decided that our family should set some goals my two boys were immediately excited. “Yay soccer!” said my six year old. “I’m really good at scoring goals,” said my four year old. Those aren’t exactly the kind of goals I meant.

There are areas in our daily routine where we all need some improvement. One of my friends mentioned she created a chore chart for her older son to help him learn the connection between work and money. I love this concept but I don’t want to give my kids an allowance yet for housework. However we could work on changing some bad habits.

We could also use more family time. My husband and I split most of the parenting duties. For example, he hangs with the boys on Saturday mornings while I go to the gym, then he gets some free time while I take the kids on a play date. Sundays we each split-up and take a child to their various sports activity. While this allows each of us to get some personal time, it also means we aren’t creating a lot of family togetherness for our boys or each other.

So, I created six attainable family goals that will hopefully change some bad habits and bring us closer together.

 

Family Goal #1: Eat a sit-down dinner together without electronics at least one night a week. Although my kids are young and have minimal to no homework, we still have after-school activities, play dates, and other appointments that sometimes make it hard to get home and have downtime before the dinner-bath-book-bedtime crunch. This year, instead of committing my kids to a different activity every single day of the week, I’ve dedicated one day for having dinner as a family. This has been a big adjustment for my boys and I can’t say they’re too thrilled so far with no TV, iPads, and us trying to find out about their day. Definitely a work in progress.

 

Family Goal #2: Do at least one activity together on the weekends. Instead of divide and conquer, I’d like to do at least one thing together, even if it’s just a walk around the block with the dogs, a board game, or riding bikes in the neighborhood. I think this is going to be an easy one.

 

Family Goal #3: Create and follow chore charts for the kids with room for mom & dad to help. My six year old loved the idea of a chore chart so of course his little brother wanted one too. Now that we’ve started using the chore chart, I realize I have to rethink what’s appropriate for each kid. “Get self dressed” isn’t doable for my four year old without a little help.

 

Family Goal #4: Less Yelling. When you hear other people yelling at their kids it just sounds awful. Yet it doesn’t stop me from losing my cool with my kids much more than I’d like to. Everyone does it but that doesn’t mean it’s effective. My husband and I need to practice counting to three before we turn-up the volume.

 

Family Goal #5: Encourage Creativity. I want to encourage my kids to use their imaginations to build towers and invent superheroes rather than follow the directions on the box of some creative-type activity. I’d much rather see them make something on their own that can be built and rebuilt a thousand different ways. One of their favorite toys is a set of brightly colored interlocking plastic tubes. They’ve made creations as diverse as a super powered laser blaster to the world’s largest fork. I could use some work on tapping into my own creative side too.

 

Family Goal #6: Kids’ Choice. Once a month, have a kids’ choice day where they get to pick what we do, within reason of course. I’m hoping the possibility of a trip to the local arcade will be an effective incentive to encourage them to follow the chore chart!

 

How do you set family goals? What are your family goals for 2014?

By Robin Saks Frankel