5 Home Items To Swear By (Annabel's Edition)

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Last week, we brought you the “Jen Edition” of this post and this week I’m chiming in with my can’t-live-without-em home items. These aren’t the glamorous decor accessories that usually get all the attention, but they are the MVPs that keep my home clean, and my environmental allergies at bay. If you or someone in your family have allergies or sensitivities to harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes, you’re going to want to bookmark this post! Alright, let’s dig in!

Favorite All-Purpose Cleaner

Dr. Bronner's - Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner

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Made with plant-based surfactant and natural fir needle and spruce essential oils, this concentrated all-purpose cleaner gets hard surfaces clean as a whistle without the use of synthetic dyes, fragrances, or preservatives. It’s equally effective in hard or soft water, tough on germs and dirt, but super gentle on skin. I use Sal Suds for cleaning dishes, mopping the kitchen and bathroom floor, wiping down surfaces, and you can even use it for laundry, although I haven’t tried that yet. Just remember to add water because it’s concentrated.

Favorite Allergy-Friendly Candle

Neroli Blossom Classic Candle by Makana

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You may be surprised to learn that scented candles are often one of the most toxic things in our homes and can exacerbate the symptoms of environmental allergy sufferers. Most candles are made with wicks containing lead which is released into the air when the wick is lit. Plus, most fragrances are chock full of phthalates, a family of industrial chemicals used as solvents in cosmetics and other consumer products, which can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. More on phthalates here.

I searched far and wide to find a candle that was safe, attractive, and smelled divine and Makana is all three. From their site: Hand-poured in-house in small batches using simple, clean ingredients – 100% soy wax, lead-free cotton wicking, and phthalate-free fragrances blended with pure essential oils. No additives, enhancers, colorants, filler waxes, phthalates and petrochemicals added. All ingredients are mindfully sourced in the USA and are vegan and cruelty-free.

As for the heavenly fragrance, neroli oil is an essential oil produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree. Its scent is sweet, honeyed and somewhat metallic with green and spicy facets. Makana describes the fragrance of this candle as “A beautiful citrus floral fragrance of orange blossom, clementine and neroli reminiscent of springtime amongst the orange groves. Our ode to old world Orange County, where orange groves were once prevalent and meant that warm California evenings unfolded the most intoxicating floral fragrance.”

Favorite All Natural Stain Remover

Puracy Natural Laundry Stain Remover

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Im a lefty and a klutz, so I get a lot of stains on my clothes. I resisted trying an all natural stain remover for years, because I thought it wouldn’t work as well as the harsh stuff. Buy was I so wrong. This stuff is literal witch craft. It even got black grease stains out of my favorite white cotton poplin blouse. It uses plant-based enzymes to safely eliminate stains better than any other stain remover I’ve ever used. You can use it on your clothes, linens, silk, carpets, floor mats, car seats…I’ve even used it to clean sheepskin! Free of harsh chemicals, animal by-products, or petroleum-based ingredients and safe for colors, delicates, greywater and septic systems, and the environment. Never tested on animals. Made in the USA.

Favorite Zero Waste Food Storage

Waxed Cotton Food Wraps

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Before trying these, I was skeptical, but they are surprisingly easy to shape around food and warm up quickly in your hands, making them more pliable and tacky. These are from Etsy seller LivingConscious, but you can also buy them at Trader Joe’s or even DIY them, which looks super easy. Just rinse them off in the sink between uses and hang them on the drying rack to air dry.

Favorite Kitchen Knives

Global 3 Piece Set with Chef’s, Utility, and Paring Knife

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As someone who has worked in commercial kitchens and had more than one professional chef as a roommate, I take my kitchen utensils seriously. Nothing is more crucial to meal prep than a good knife. A quality, sharp knife dramatically reduces your chances of cutting yourself while slicing and dicing, and a bad knife is not only dangerous, but can turn meal prep into a slog as you struggle to hack up ingredients with a blunt edge. Global makes my absolute favorite knives and except for when I need a serrated edge, I use my Global chef and utility knife for all of my kitchen cutting. I’ve had mine for ten years now and they’re still in as great of shape as the were the day I got them.

Honorable Mention

Baking Soda

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I couldn’t write this post without giving a shout out to baking soda! I use it for everything- scouring pots and pans, brightening my whites in the washing machine, tile grout, cleaning mold and mildew off the rubber lining of the fridge door…you name it! My other secret weapon is Hydrogen Peroxide- it’s clutch for scouring a tub!