Cleaning House With Dr. Bronner
A few years ago, I noticed that, not only did I seem to spend a little more cash than I was comfortable with on cleaning products for my house, but I was having a sort of reaction to them: headaches, sudden fatigue and a weird taste in my mouth. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was; but I eventually made the connection between the various chemicals I was using around the house and these symptoms.
I started reading about some of the products and cases of compromised immune systems, skin irritation and respiratory problems in some people. Of course, I knew that furniture polish may smell “lemony” (or, to paraphrase George Carlin, doesn’t contain any actual lemons) but probably doesn’t make good mouthwash, and that bathroom cleaners will release a bunch of talking, mustachioed suds that will leave the room sparkling – but probably shouldn’t be added to my overpriced latté.
You get the idea.
I had 2 cats and lived near a busy street. I’m no Felix Unger, but I don’t like dust, grit, etc.
Cats + street = dust x (grit + dander).
So I typically purchased, on a semi-regular basis, disposable dusters, the aforementioned citrus-scented furniture polish, glass cleaner (why is it always blue?), bathroom cleaner, an “all-purpose” cleaner (for… well, I don’t know, actually. It just sounded good to have) and a few other things like air freshener spray and various laundry items. Sometimes I really went crazy and bought something to turn the water in the toilet blue for a month.
Wild times, I know.
I noticed that it added up to a lot, over time, so I started looking at the alternatives. A Whole Foods opened near me and I started shopping there, out of curiosity. Before anyone jumps on me about how expensive a lot of their stock is, I’ll say this: I know, I know.
One day, I picked up a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. The bottle says that Sal Suds will clean everything in your house – wood floors, laundry, dishes, and cars. Sounded like a good alternative to the stuff I was using; but, really, it caught my eye because –surrounding the list of natural ingredients (each defined for clarity), various uses and pledge that it was not tested on animals – was written an entire philosophy of life.
Granted, the bottle seemed a little pricy for just one cleaning product, but I found that it would last me for, literally, months. Just a little bit mixed in water, applied using a spray bottle, will tackle just about any job. And, as promised, it did a great job on both my laundry and my car (even the inside).
I also checked out liquid soap for the shower and found that, not only did they smell great, but worked out, in the long run, to save me some dough that I’d have spent on whatever was available at the supermarket.
So, the symptoms I’d experienced were gone, I felt better about using products produced by a company that seemed to actually care about both the quality of its soaps as well as the well-being of its customers and, admittedly, reading the words on the bottles is actually very thought-provoking.
For both the uninitiated as well as existing fans of Dr. Bronner, hopefully you can catch the documentary that’s now being screened. Also, check out the NPR interview with the film’s director, Sara Lamm.