Keeping kids clean is no easy task, especially when you're out on the town going shopping, playing in public spaces, getting dirty in nature, and just living your everyday life.
Have you seen the news? ABC News reported about Consumer Reports warning parents against using disinfectant wipes. This is difficult for me because so many schools have name-brand disinfectant wipes on their school lists, and most parents comply.
Yes, these times seem to see some crazy flu statistics, and calls to action from health professionals including the CDC about hygiene and wiping frequently touched surfaces. Many recommend disinfectant wipes because they're convenient to keep on hand and use, which would in theory encourage more people to be wiping surfaces.
Unfortunately, what they don't tell you is the ingredients in these popular disinfectant wipes or the health risks you're taking each time you use them on yourself and on your family. While this pains me to see, I am thankful many experts are stepping up their warning cries about how we shouldn't overuse these chemicals, especially around children.
Why? Because these products often contain harmful chemicals registered as pesticides. According to Consumer Reports (and numerous scientific studies), these active ingredients (quaternary ammonium compounds – also known as QACs or QUATs) may cause significant health ailments, including:
- Endocrine Disruptor (interrupts your body's natural hormone functioning)
- Lung Irritant – may cause asthma or non-asthmatic breathing problems
- Skin Irritant – may lead to “unexplained” rashes
- Reproductive harm – leads to lower sperm count and quality
- Quats stick to surfaces, causing continual recontamination and exposure
- Causes our bodies to become resistant to healthy bacteria we need
- Kills beneficial bacteria our bodies need along with harmful bacteria
- Cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria
In fact, on the container itself is the recommendation to wash your hands after using it… and recommends NOT using them on any food preparation surface!
Seriously… I don't even understand why this chemical is so widely used. Not a single study has been able to show reduced illness at home from using antibacterial cleaners. Meanwhile, there have been numerous studies on frequent hand-washing with soap and water that clearly show health benefits.
So why do we still use it when healthier options are available? Clever marketing, and not knowing what else to buy… because let's face it… the vast majority of cleaners and personal care products you'll find in the vast majority of stores (in-person and online) are filled with products containing harmful ingredients. But it doesn't have to be that way in your home!
What is crazy… many companies replaced Triclosan with QUATs because of Triclosan's horrible health risks… never mind QUATs are worse.
How to identify QUATs in your cleaning products
Companies are constantly renaming chemicals they use, and slightly altering them, so staying on top of knowing what you're using is crucial. Here are a few examples of Quarternary Ammonium Compounds that you can expect to see on your cleaner labels:
- Benzalkonium chloride
- Benzethonium chloride
- Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides (C12-16)
- Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (C14 60%, C16 30%, C12 5%, C18 5%)
- Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride (C12-14)
- Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chlorides (C12-18)
- Didecyldimethylammonium chloride
- Dioctyldimethylammonium chloride
If your products don't contain ingredient lists and instead list generic terms (which is totally legal) like: “surfactants,” “dissolvents,” “cleaning agents,” “solvents,” or “solubilizer” (even biodegradable ones)… it's a good indication that they're using harmful ingredients and trying to hide it from you through clever “greenwashing” marketing tactics. That is a good sign to RUN.
Choose better cleaning options for your family, and your children's school
I hate that this is a thing. I really do. I hate that schools keep asking for certain brand wipes that are known to be harmful to our bodies (especially children’s bodies). And I hate that parents largely conform to buying harmful cleaning products for schools when they can choose to do better.
Especially when there are actually HEALTHY alternatives you, your family, and your kids' teachers can use instead. (yes! They do exist).
Yes, we have all used these harmful products at some point in our lives. Me included on so many levels. I remember the day when I had a dedicated cleaner for everything… and would go on sneezing rampages every time I used them in the name of having a clean home and work environment.
But it’s time to wake up and realize most cleaning companies do NOT have our health or best interest at heart. And its time to wake up and realize there are better alternatives available that actually do an excellent job without harming our bodies.
4 products to keep your kids clean, without harmful chemicals
Thankfully there are four vital products to keep kids clean without harmful chemicals, that will also help promote your and your children's health. These are products my family personally uses every single day, and what we trust after my several years of research to help me find better options while my body healed from a complex autoimmune and neurological health crisis. These are products that do not send us through sneezing rampages, nor make us feel dizzy or nauseous after using. And they actually have health benefits too.
Seedlings Baby Wipes to help keep your kids clean and healthy
Seedlings baby wipes are the only baby wipes I've been able to find that are completely free from harmful chemicals or questionable ingredients, including “fragrance.” They're the only wipes that haven't caused rashes on my or my kids' skin, so we use them for everything… not just diaper changes.
We use these Seedlings Baby Wipes when we are out in town to wipe down any surface my kids would touch on carts, and we use them to wipe hands and faces all the time too when life gets dirty. They're very soft, smell lovely, and are vegan friendly.
- water, glycerin, Ophenethyl alcohol, apple fruit extract, soapberry fruit extract, marigold flower extract, lavender essential oil marigold flower extract witch hazel leaf extract, caprilic/capric triglyceride (coconut), coriander seed essential oil, aloe vera leaf juice, bergamot peel oil oil (Furocoumarin-free), ylang ylang flower essential oil, and geranium flower essential oil
The only time I haven't used this in the past year, we ended up having sick kiddos within a couple of days. After that, we use them religiously. And sometimes augment with Thieves Spray (more about that in a moment).
We use these wipes literally on everything… public bathroom door handles, shopping carts, our hands, our bodies, my baby's diaper changing needs, gym equipment, door handles at my husband's office, toys, spills… etc… All the same places you'd use any other disinfecting wipe.
Thieves Hand Sanitizer to help keep your kids clean and healthy
This Thieves Hand Sanitizer goes with us everywhere. It helps keep our hands clean after touching different surfaces in public spaces, especially before we eat. I use this on myself, my husband, my preschooler, and my toddler all the time, and especially love that it cleanses our hands without drying out our skin. Plus, it smells really good too.
- Denatured alcohol, Water, Aloe barbadensis leaf powder, Glycerin, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Peppermint essential oil, Clove essential oil, Lemon peel oil, Eucalyptus radiata leaf essential oil, Rosemary leaf essential oil, and Cinnamon bark essential oil.
Featuring Thieves essential oil blend, the Thieves hand sanitizer is a must-have. If you haven't seen the history behind Thieves essential oil blend and how/why it works at keeping you healthy while avoiding germs, please check out our article about Thieves.
Thieves Spray to help keep your kids clean and healthy
Thieves Spray is one item I don't use as much as hand sanitizer and baby wipes. Though when our area seems to have a higher rate of illnesses, I'll use this to spray down shopping carts when we are out before I wipe them down with the Seedlings Baby Wipes. Just to give it an extra level of cleanliness.
- Alcohol denat., water, caprylic/capric triglyceride, clove bud essential oil, lemon peel oil, cinnamon bark essential oil, Eucalyptus Radiata leave essential oil, rosemary leaf essential oil, lecithin, quallaja sapronaria extract.
Thieves Household Cleaner to help keep your kids clean and healthy
Thieves Household Cleaner has an unlimited number of uses, but can also be diluted down into a small spray bottle convenient to have on the go to use just as you would the Thieves Spray… and is also vegan friendly.
- alkyl polyglucoside, sodium 2-methyl sulfolaurate, clove bud essential oil, lemon peel oil, Tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, cinnamon bark essential oil, rosemary leaf essential oil, Eucalyptus Radiata leaf essential oil, and disodium 2-sulfolaurate
Save money while making healthier cleaning choices
What I recommend to start with is the Thieves Bundle ($125), which gives you:
- Thieves® 15-ml
- Thieves AromaBright Toothpaste
- Thieves Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash
- 2 Thieves Household Cleaner, 14oz
- 2 Thieves Foaming Hand Soap
- 2 Thieves Spray
- 3 Thieves Waterless Hand Sanitizer
- Thieves Mints
- 2 NingXia Red supplement 2-oz. samples
- Essential Oil Magazine
Then during your account creation process, be sure to sign up for the Subscribe To Save program (where you make monthly orders and earn 10%+ on products you purchase to use as product credit for free items later on), and add the Seedlings Baby Wipes (if you have kids in diapers, be sure to snag the 3-pack… that is what we use).
Total cost with the 3-pack wipes: $185.50 (not including shipping or tax), and you'll receive $18.55 back for your rewards points to use as cash for free products.
$125 may seem like a large investment at first… but the cleaner lasts a LONG time. We have one boy still in diapers and go through 3 packs of wipes every 5-6 weeks. As a family of 4, we use 1 Thieves Hand Sanitizer each month (though we keep more on hand at home, in my diaper bag, and at my husband's office). We go through 1 Thieves Spray bottle every few months. We use 3 Thieves foaming hand soap bottles every month. And 1 bottle of 14oz Thieves Household Cleaner lasts us a solid 6 months to a year, depending on how much of a mess our two boys and two giant dogs make. The mouth wash and toothpaste help us avoid triclosan (which is still prevalent in dental products) and fluoride (which is a known neurotoxin) and last my husband and I about 2 months per bottle.
Over the span of a year, we actually spend less than most people do on their clean living supplies.
Please let us know in the comments… Did this post about using healthier products to keep your kids clean help you?
Have you purchased your own healthy cleaning supplies yet? What questions do you have? We would love to hear about it!
P.S. We offer free coaching services and complimentary access to our online courses for anyone who uses our links to make their purchases. If you need help with figuring out which cleaning products best fit your family's needs, please don't hesitate to connect with us! Our team is here to help!