Toothpaste – do you know what you’re putting in your mouth?

When you put toothpaste in your mouth do you really know what you’re putting in? Or when you use deodorant do you know what’s going on your skin?

That’s why I like natural based products with nothing artificial in them. Tom’s of Maine have been making hygiene items since the 1970s.

The thing I like about Tom’s of Maine is that their website explains each and every ingredient so you can see exactly what you’re getting – much like we do at GoodnessDirect – but with greater scientific detail.

Tom's of Maine
Webshot from Tom's of Maine

Each item has a list of ingredients and if you click through there’s a layman’s explanation of what the ingredient is…

Close up of webshot
Close up of webshot

They’ll also tell what the ingredient is for, where’s it’s come from, if there are any alternatives and what the risks might be. That’s pretty impressive.

Tom’s also have a great commitment to sustainability, they aim to keep their products affordable and their ethics animal friendly.

If you’d like to find out more about the Tom’s of Maine values, visit their YouTube Channel.

Advice for protecting children from toxins in your house

It’s simple really. ‘Get out the hoover and mop the floor – regularly.’

But a research group are concerned that simple house dust can affect the development of children’s brains, because of the toxic substances which it exposes infants to.

Canadian professor, Bruce Lanphear, published a dust study which shows that lead, mercury and tobacco particles in the home can affect babies and toddlers even in small amounts.

According to Professor Lanphear, ‘An infant will absorb about 50 per cent of ingested lead, whereas an adult absorbs about 10 per cent… This, combined with children’s frequent hand-to-mouth behaviour, places children at much greater risk.’

Has the toxic time-bomb finally exploded?
The effects are worrying: learning and behavioural disorders, asthma, cancer and birth defects. Lanphear actually connects exposure to lead with criminal activity, but toxins can also have an impact on a child’s education, violent tendencies and general contribution to society.

So what can a parent do?
■ Dust your house twice a week.
Use a damp cloth and wet mop as this collects dust better. Put away toys and leave shoes at the door as these can contribute to a dirty environment.

■ Use non-toxic cleaning.
Bleach isn’t needed for most cleaning and air fresheners should be avoided. In fact, fragrance-free detergents and non-toxic dry cleaning laundrettes are recommended. You can find lots of ‘green’ cleaning agents at GoodnessDirect.

■ Seal off rooms when decorating.
This is especially important in older homes where lead is more prevalent. Ventilate decorated rooms well and use heaters. Aim to buy less toxic chemical products for your DIY.

■ Pack away the plastic.
Generall avoid cooking with plastic, especially in the microwave, even if the bowl says “microwave safe”. Plastic toys and other items which are made of plastic and that children might bite are generally advised against.

■ Go for sustainably fished fish
This is because of the mercury found in certain types of fish and shellfish, particularly tuna. However, sustainably fished tuna and mackerel, herring, rainbow trout and salmon carry less mercury generally.

Win a water filter jug

Isn’t it funny how when you move to a new area you can always notice the difference in the taste of the water?

But it’s just water isn’t it? Well, we all know about the difference between hard water (great mineral taste but it furs up your kettle) and soft water (clean look and taste, saves money because the washing machine works better, but it’s difficult to rinse soap suds off)

Brita water filters are definitely on the soft water side – which means it will taste cleaner and produce a higher quality cup of tea or coffee. It’s even said that steaming food with purer water increases the food’s nutritional value.

If you’re interested in the benefits of a water filter I’ve got a Brita Marella water jug to give away. All you need to do is email me and I’ll enter you into a prize draw (make sure it has ‘Brita’ in the subject line). (The competition closes on Thursday 2nd June – UK based entrants only.)

Have you tried the Method Laundry Liquid yet? Smaller bottles and easier to use.

Laundry Revolution! That’s how Method are describing their new washing liquid.

Method - it’s a lean, mean, stain-fighting machine
Method - it’s a lean, mean, stain-fighting machine

That’s because: It’s easier. Four squirts straight into the machine – that’s it! And the bottle is so small and light it could fit into your handbag.

It’s smarter too. The liquid formula is ultra concentrated, it uses a 1/4 of the dose of the leading brand, but it’s made from plant-based ingredients too, which means…

It’s greener. It has a 35% smaller carbon footprint and it’s made of 95% natural and renewable ingredients. It’s a lean, mean, stain-fighting machine.

One surprised customer wrote:

The commercials often speak of how this or that product cleans so much better or leaves your clothes feeling softer, but I just don’t believe them. So when I get home and my wife tells me ‘this stuff is really good!’ I’m genuinely impressed.

We regularly use a leading brand of eco-friendly washing detergent, but thought we’d give the new Method Smartclean a try. The washing was notably cleaner and softer. The fragrance is pleasant, but not overpowering, and at 26p per wash we make quite a saving.

The 300ml bottles of Method Smartclean Laundry Free & Clear, Peony Blossom or Fresh Air can be found at GoodnessDirect. Try it and let us know what you think.

Sustainable resources for the kitchen – a little love from If You Care

Can you be eco-friendly when baking in the kitchen?

If You Care you can!

If You Care are committed to providing you with environmentally friendly  products for you to use while you cook.

You can make a difference
You can make a difference

Items such as coffee filters, baking cups, baking paper, sandwich bags and aluminium foil, even environmentally safe firelighters if you cook with wood or charcoal.

Paper products are unbleached and biodegradable. Everything is recyclable and oils and inks are made from vegetables.

Every care is taken to ensure that each step – from factory to store shelf – conforms to strict standards for the conservation and protection of our greatest asset – the environment.

If You Care products are available from GoodnessDirect but check their website, ifyoucare.com, for more valuable information.

Faith In Nature comes clean

Did you know that Faith in Nature, makers of vegan soaps and gels and so much more, also made household cleaning materials?

Clean your home with a clean conscience
Clean your home with a clean conscience

Neither did we.

That’s because, until recently, their cleaning products were sold under the name of Clear Spring.

The newly branded anti-bac sprays offer effective cleaning, but with minimal damage to the environment. That’s because they’re made of raw materials that are both biodegradable and sustainable – no unnecessary fillers or extra ingredients are included. (Even the bottles are made to be easily recyclable.)

New products, new name, but the same old Faith in Nature values.

See if this bathroom cleaner or multi-surface cleaner can help you put your house in order.

Q: What’s loving and gentle but still leaves you black and blue…?

Most women do it. According to one survey one in ten men do it too.

Whether it’s in the bathroom or the beauty salon, a little hair colouring can help cover the greys or just help us keep up with fashion.

(Oh that’s the answer by the way: Naturtint’s new hair colour – see below)

Naturtint - gentle on you
Naturtint - gentle on you

But if we’re talking about chemicals we had better be clear: dyes are complex products which can be hazardous if they are not high quality and used carefully.

Naturtint lead the way in providing gentle hair colouring using natural and organic ingredients for dying your hair at home.

The founder, Janine Carroll, points out that some people can be reckless with hair dye. Your head is like a sponge to chemicals and they should be treated with care. Always do a skin sensitivity test and strand test. A responsible company will have a helpline you can call with any queries.

There’s a huge range of Naturtint colours to choose from  – 30 in all, including the latest colour: Blue Black.

Naturtint covers 100% of grey and can lighten hair up to 2 shades at a time. It adds wonderful shine and vitality to the hair without using ammonia, parabens or resorcinol.

All Naturtint Permanent Hair Colorants are vegan and dermatologically tested. With each box you will also soon receive a sample of new Naturtint Shampoo and Multiplier.

Toiletry range friendly to your kids, and the earth

It makes sense that by caring for the earth we should be caring for the ones we love most.

Simple ideas like that can revolutionise your life.

When you buy something to keep a baby clean it must never be dangerous to a child. And it’s logical that what we use for our children should never be a threat to the environment either.

That’s why, as much as possible, Earth Friendly Baby’s creams and wipes come from natural sources. Ingredients harvested from plants are chosen because they work in harmony with your body, and the earth. Artificial colouring or synthetic fragrances don’t get a look in.

A child’s bubble bath should be fun for everyone, including your peace of mind.

A baby cream should soothe and calm and bring inspiration to your conscience.

A child friendly handwash should keep germs at bay and help kids think about the world around them.

That’s the way a sensible life works.

Earth Friendly Baby and Kids products are made to help your family get the very best out of life – at a price everyone can afford.

Greenpeace still concerned about household cleaners

Do you ever wonder how harmful the chemicals in your house might be?

You may not want to know the truth.

Greenpeace are still worried about the ‘cocktail effect’ of mixed chemicals from household goods (see report).

There’s a widespread view that these could be detrimental to our health. Toxins like phthalates (used in detergents) can cause respiratory problems such as asthma, increase skin irritation, stimulate allergies and may even lead to cancer. Not to mention the potential damage to our world.

So you’ll have noticed that green businesses have introduced their own brands of earth friendly cleaners.

Ecoleaf has a new range of cleaning products derived from plant extracts, which are non-toxic and based on biodegradable and non-hazardous ingredients, rather than the chemicals found in many brands.

The parent company, Suma, have made sure that Ecoleaf products are low cost and safer to use.

They include a toilet cleaner, multi-surface cleaner, laundry liquid, fabric conditioner, hand soap, washing-up liquid, washing powder, and a stain remover.

All these products are registered with the Vegan Society which means they are cruelty free. Many of the items come in bulk sizes for recycling purposes too.

If you want to research the chemical ingredients used in everyday household cleaners then a good place to start is the Environmental Working Group.

Twist Natural Cleaning Products

More of the Twist cleaning range
The Twist range are only made with natural products

The Twist collection includes every type of cleaning cloth you could need when scrubbing your home, there are sponges, cleaning cloths, the loofah scrubby, the loofah sponge, (basically the same as a scourer with a sponge on the back), and about 6 other products.

The great thing about Twist is that it is biodegradable and completely natural made from a selection of bamboo, corn and agave twine – the whole wonderful range!

Just to top it all these cleaning products work!

Twist Cleaning Range
Natural cleaning with Twist

Cleaning isn’t really a “gently, gently” kind of job is it? It’s pretty full on. The Twist range are robust and stand the test – they are hard wearing.

Cleaning is made easy. Products are durable and do their job well, whether it is soaking or wiping down, or scrubbing-off baked on food, and they look pretty cute in your kitchen.