What makes you buy certain cleaning products?


laundromat in France. Thanks to Paul Filleau for supplying this cool pic! Merci bien!

I never really considered the chemicals used in everyday cleaning supplies and laundry until January 27, 2012. That’s when I became a half-century old and my first order of soap nuts arrived.

Now I pay attention. I read labels, get angry and frankly, feel kinda duped about all the crud I have unknowingly put into my body and offered to my family without any concern.

I don’t appreciate people overwhelming me with scary facts if I’m not ready for them. Maybe you’re the same way and I totally respect that. But here’s what I want to do and I hope to be consistent.

I want to occasionally offer blog posts about cleaner, greener living and help you as my friends become more savvy, questioning consumers.

Here is the ingredient used in soap nuts…SOAP NUTS! That’s it!

The soap nuts thing intrigued me because I thought they sounded funny. Soap “nuts,” really? I’m the mama of three boys so yes, I did chuckle and you probably know why… I had never heard of such a thing. How could some soap nuts, berries from a tree in the Himalayas clean my family’s clothes? When they arrived, I was skeptical but eager to try them. Even though it was my birthday, I sacrificially scrounged up some dirties and put them to their first challenge. I’ve been a soap nut nut ever since. The concept of cleaning my clothes more naturally appeals to me as a wife, mother and consumer.

How’s this for vague product labeling? Hrmph

One thing led to another and in August, I began my own business, Olive Shoot Institute selling soap nuts and related products. It’s a weird compilation of olive shoot stuff but yeah, somehow it works.

All I wanted to do was clean some clothes but this has unleashed a passion. Armed with knowledge, maybe I can help you make informed decisions. I don’t think we should be bamboozled or especially trusting of the cleaning/beauty/personal care industry.

Here’s something to look at the next time you are getting ready to do a load of wash or clean your house. Read the list of ingredients in the product you are using. It’s pretty sad because I guarantee you, it won’t take long at all.

A quick perusal of left-over cleaning supplies still around my house led me to see this. I gathered all the products together. I turned the bottles over and over trying to find a list of chemicals/ingredients used and guess what?

I could read instructions in English, Spanish and sometimes in French, but in many instances, no details about the chemicals/ingredients were found. Why is that? It’s a $14 billion annual business for goodness’ sake! Don’t these corporations have enough money to type what is in these products? Shouldn’t consumers know? Specifically, shouldn’t YOU?

New York Times article reported that in January 2009, manufacturers of detergents and household cleaners voluntarily started to disclose much of what is in its cleaning products. But just this morning, I went to the grocery store to do my own “research.” And here’s what I noticed. In many cases, the actual ingredients aren’t really listed. Some have an 800 number and I guess you can inquire but they don’t list the chemicals specifically. That is stupid. Check out this popular laundry detergent and see why it got an “F” from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

So many families have loved ones suffering with childhood asthma, cancer, lung conditions, multiple chemical syndrome, auto-immune diseases, don’t we deserve to know what we are using in our homes? It’s taken me 50 years to care about this, I wish I would have started sooner.

I’d really love to hear from you. If you want soap nuts stuff, I’m your girl but I am truly curious. Why do you purchase the laundry and cleaning supplies you use? Is it price? Brand? Coupons? Smell? Effectiveness?

I look forward to hearing from you. If you have any specific subject you’d like covered or have a question, please tell me, I’ve got a million ideas but would welcome yours.

4 thoughts on “What makes you buy certain cleaning products?

  1. Hello! I came here from http://jennifertousey.com/. I have been researching natural cleaning products myself for the past year or so. I now have various ways of making pastes and sprays, etc., from natural products. Pure vinegar is smelly but works a treat. I also make soaps and only use paraben-free baby bath for washing people. I’ve thought about starting a business myself (I’m in the UK).

    I do hope your business takes off. I’ve never heard of soap nuts before. I tend to buy non-biological, or eco-friendly washing powders (biological powder, apart from giving my husband a rash, causes overgrowth of river plants, as I’m sure you know). All the best with it 🙂

    • Hi Zoe!

      That’s my oldest niece’s name and I love what your name means…life. Thanks for stopping by and making the long journey :). The cool thing about soap nuts is that they work really well and they are 100% organic and biodegradable. There is a high consumption of soap nuts in Germany, btw. That’s awesome that you are so conscious of the products your family uses. You are way ahead of me! I’d love to hear more about the soaps and reasons you make paraben-free bath products. We also sell homemade, cold-processed soaps created at our home office. There really is a difference. Lmk if you want to talk more about this.

      Check out my website oliveshootinstitute.com for info about soap nuts, etc. They smell like apple cider vinegar which I find fairly pleasant. When they are used in washing, there is no after smell.

      Great hearing from you. Hope it’s just the beginning. Cheers!

  2. We’re moving house next Friday and everything is CHAOS, but when things settle down a little, I’ll be very interested to know more of what you have learned about cleaning products, as well as your business. I’m intrigued by soap nuts and may well try them for my family. Thanks 🙂

    • That overwhelming feeling of moving from one place to another, such an unsettling experience. When we did a kitchen remodel and the Hubs put new flooring in and the oven was in the dining room and the fridge was in the family room and I washed dishes upstairs in the bathroom, it was NOT pretty! I feel for you! I’d love to revisit soap nuts with you. They really are cool! But first things first, get situated. Bless you!

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