How Cleaning Your Environment Can Save Your Life, Pt. 1

how cleaning your environment can save your life organic personal care

If you’re someone who prioritizes having a clean and well-kept space, chances are you use products like sanitizer, detergent, or air freshener.

Most of the household cleaning agents on the market are full of toxins that attack our neurobiology and endocrine systems. Ironically enough, by trying to keep a sanitary environment many people are making themselves sick.

Taking the time to assess what’s in your cleaning cabinet can save you a lot of pain and dysfunction in the future. Throwing out anything containing harsh chemicals is one of the most important ways to take care of your body.


Hazardous ingredients like phtalates, ammonia, and even formaldehyde are all found in popular cleaning solutions. They also show up in air fresheners, dish soap, and an assortment of laundry room goods like dryer sheets or fabric softener.

These kind of chemicals can trigger a whole host of adverse side effects:

  • Rashes
  • Asthma attacks & allergies
  • Itchy eyes/ nose/ throat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blackout

Consistent exposure to chemical contaminants puts immense stress on the body. Over time, this can manifest as autoimmune disease, infertility, and cancer.

Check out this “Toss the Toxins” guide from Branch Basics to start learning how to identify harmful ingredients in your cleaning products.


Brands may use words like “all natural” and “clean” to describe their air fresheners, detergents, cleaning solutions, etc. The reality is that NONE of these claims are regulated. Companies are not required to list ingredients in their cleaning products or meet ethical standards for human safety or the environment.

With no systems of accountability, marketers can make virtually any statement they want to about a product. Giving false assurances about the safety of a toxic product is referred to as “greenwashing,” and it is incredibly common. That’s why Human Garage encourages you to do your own research!


Check out EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning to research your products! They explain how to read a label in layman’s terms and describe various cleaning compounds. EWG also has a label certification program that makes shopping for your home much easier.

If you want to go the DIY route, there are recipes for every kind cleaning solution imaginable. Make sure you have plenty of baking soda and white vinegar on hand! They are the main components of most homemade solvents.


Mainstream air fresheners are so toxic that they can actually deaden your olfactory nerves (meaning you won’t even be able to smell the product after a while!) They often contain carcinogens as well are are to be avoided at ALL costs. Thankfully, there are many ways to make your space smell good.

The Human Garage team loves to blend up room sprays. You can customize the scent and intentionally create the ambiance you want.

Making a room spray is simple. You’ll need:

  • A spray bottle (24 ounces)
  • Water
  • Essential oils of your choice (Lavender and lemon is a soothing and uplifting combination)
  • A tablespoon of baking soda

Mix the water and baking soda together in the spray bottle. Then add a few drops of each essential oil. Not only do the oils make your space smell amazing, the baking soda purifies the air as well.

Remember to swish the bottle before each use because the oil and water will separate from each other.


Simmer pots are so much fun! They make your home feel cozy and welcoming. Every pot turns out slightly different, making it a unique work of art.

To create a warming simmer pot perfect for wintertime, you’ll need:

  • An orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • A handful of pine needles
  • 1 Vanilla bean pod or vanilla extract
  • Cloves
  • A pot of water

Peel the orange and add the peel to your water pot. Toss in the cinnamon sticks, pine needles, and cloves next. If you have a vanilla bean pod, slice it in half lengthwise and add it- otherwise use a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Put the pot over the stove on high heat until it reaches a boiling point, then reduce the heat to low and let the aroma waft through your home.

There are many ways to craft a simmer pot, so feel free to deviate from the recipe and add what your heart (or nose) desires!