Over the years, I’ve become interested in natural cleaning products. Care2.com, for example, has a whole section on Healthy Home, with non-toxic cleaning recipes. When the Cure suggested looking into earth-friendly cleaning products, I was interested in integrating this into our lives.

Unfortunately, we have a few challenges on this front.

For one, we inherited a lot of toxic cleaners from the previous owners.

Old products

We also have another challenge. Whenever we are close to finishing one of our conventional dishwashing detergents, for example, and I have a plan to buy an environmentally friendly one next, someone shows up with 8 more bottles. “It was on sale,” is usually the well-intentioned reason. So then, I have to work through 8 bottles before my next planned purchase, at which point there’s another setback. Unfortunately, this challenge extends to soaps (”It’s only a dollar!”) and even “EPA approved” spray cleaning bottles sporting strong warning labels.

This week, it occured to me what we have are boundary issues: well-intentioned loved ones dropping off items we really don’t want. By accepting them and pushing back my long awaited purchases, I’m allowing other people to dictate what kind of chemicals to use in my own house. (Strangely enough, this seems to be a unique problem to us. I’ve never heard any colleagues or friends complaining about this issue.) We are effectively saying, “Yes, you know better than us how to clean and take care of our home.”

This needs to change. We need to start thinking of ourselves as guardians of our home, with the right and responsibility to choose what comes in. There is so much crap in the outside world, only we can be filters for our home. And we need to start now, because something will always come up later.

In the spirit of this new thinking, I moved all the conventional cleaners downstairs to a box in the basement, which we will drop off at a hazardous waste facility. Then I went to the local co-op and got a few items that I’ve always wanted to get.

New products

By the way, this new policy also extends to personal care products. I’ve been wanting to buy some natural soaps for a while.

Who knew that it really is therapy?