Clean Green Babies


by Sarah Horan

There are an overwhelming amount of choices when it comes to buying baby bath products.

However, not all baby bath products are created equal. Consider that your baby’s skin is their largest organ and that everything applied to your baby’s tender skin has the potential to be absorbed into their delicate systems, and you can understand the need to be cautious in choosing your bath products.

Here’s a quick rundown of the most commonly found chemicals in many commercial baby products and why you might want to avoid slathering them on your sweet baby’s skin.

Ceteareth: commonly found as a stabilizer in many baby baths, sunscreens and lotions. Classified as a “penetration enhancer” it alters skin structure to allow chemicals to penetrate more deeply. Also possibly linked to breast cancer.

Pthalates: Used in most cosmetics and bath products to “fix” the scent. Linked to later reproductive problems, particularly in boys, after fetal and infant exposure. Also linked to liver and kidney issues.

Polyethylene Glycol:  classified as a “moderate health hazard”, and “expected to be toxic or harmful”, this chemical is found in many bath products as a solvent. It is also of particular concern because it opens up the pores, allowing other potentially harmful environmental chemicals to penetrate more deeply.

Triclosan: Found in many baby products like soap and shampoos, triclosan scores a whopping SEVEN on the hazard scale, described as causing organ system toxicity, endocrine system disruption and persistant bioaccumulation. This chemical has been banned in Japan and Canada but is still widely used in baby products sold in the USA as an antibacterial agent and preservative.

(To look up specific chemicals in your or your baby’s products check out

So, given that all, or many, of these unappealing chemicals are found in most common baby products, what’s a green-conscious mamma, (or papa) to do??  Here are a few easy DIY suggestions for sweet-smelling, green-friendly baby products that you can make right in your own kitchen.

Herbal Diaper Salve

What you’ll need:

*    1 cup organic cold-pressed olive oil, organic coconut oil, or organic almond oil

*    ¼ – 1/3 cup grated beeswax

*    3/4 cup chopped fresh organic lavender or fresh calendula, or fresh chamomile (you can also use dried herbs or essential oils if you can’t find fresh, but essential oils should be added after heating)

*    2 Vitamin E oil capsules, squeezed out

*    Crock pot or small stainless steel pot

To make:

1. Mix oil and chopped herbs together. Heat gently in crock-pot for about 1 hour or on stovetop on very low simmer for about 30 minutes. (You don’t want to cook it, you just want to extract the goodness from the herbs.)

2. Remove from heat, strain through cheesecloth or a very fine metal strainer

3. Mix in Vitamin E and grated beeswax, adding slightly more or less until you reach a consistency you’re satisfied with. (this is not an exact science, just experiment and have fun!).

4. If you’d like to add any essential oils this is where you’d add them too. (some suggestions: lavender essential oil, tea tree essential oil,

5. Pour into a jar with a tight fitting lid, and let cool before capping.

6.  Use liberally at every diaper change. Discard if it starts to smell rancid.

DIY baby soap:

You will need:

*    1 bar all natural glycerin soap, unscented (found at most health food stores)

*    4 tea bags organic chamomile herbal tea, or ½ cup of your choice of organic dried herbs

*    1 tbsp of organic almond oil or olive oil

To make:

1.    Steep tea bags or herbs in 1 quart hot water for about 20 minutes. (If using herbs, strain before next step)

2.    Melt soap bar into hot tea water.

3.    Add in oil.

4.    Pour into recycled container or glass jar with tight-fitting lid

This is a wonderful, gently moisturizing soap that smells great and can be used for all members of your family. For babies, it works well as a shampoo too, (although, like any shampoo, it can sting if it gets into the eyes.)


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