Guest Post by Alejandra Roca from Porch.com
Living a vegan lifestyle can be challenging, yet it’s also extremely rewarding. When you think of being vegan, your mind likely goes immediately to your diet and the things your body consumes. However, in order to be truly vegan, the same principles should be put into practice at home, too. Whether you’re looking for new cruelty-free products, furniture, or décor, read on to learn how to create the ultimate vegan and cruelty-free home.
The Basics of Vegan and Cruelty-Free Products
Anything that’s considered vegan means that it doesn’t include any animal or animal-based ingredients, however, that doesn’t always mean that the product was not tested on animals. To ensure that your home products are truly vegan, make sure they’re also labeled as cruelty-free. This term means that the product was never tested on animals before being introduced into the consumer marketplace. Read the ingredient labels on all of your cleaning products to ensure that they don’t contain any animal-based components. Then, make sure that they’re specifically labeled cruelty-free, so you know you’re getting a safe product that’s in line with your values. It can be challenging to find home décor and furnishings that specifically state they are cruelty-free. You may need to ask the retailer or contact the manufacturer directly to confirm before you make a purchase. Look for products that are Leaping Bunny certified, which means they are not tested on animals. Anything without this certification could mean that the final product may not be tested on animals, but the ingredients or materials used to make it could be.
Start with Vegan Cleaning Products
You don’t need to purchase chemical-laden products in order to have a clean and spotless home. In fact, many ingredients used in mass-marketed cleaning products aren’t just harmful to the environment, they’re also potentially harmful to you, your family, and your pets. Avoid products like caprylic acid, which is sourced from milk, and animal glycerol and stearic acid, which are both animal fats. You may also see the term “animal lecithin” included on the ingredients list of many cleaning products. This term refers to the use of waxy nervous tissue and should also be avoided. Research the names of the most common ingredients found in cleaning products and their source. This simple step will make it much easier to identify the things you know you want to avoid.
While baking soda and vinegar can be a great all-natural way to clean your home, there are still some products you might need to buy in order to achieve the ultimate clean. Brands like Seventh Generation and Ecos offer plant-based formulas that are both vegan and completely cruelty-free. Products that use natural enzymes provide effective cleaning to remove stubborn dirt and grease without the need for dangerous chemicals. Do your homework and read labels carefully, and when in doubt, ask the manufacturer directly. You can also make a few DIY cleaning products using natural ingredients like lemon, vinegar, and baking soda to accomplish quick, daily cleanings in a safe way.
Furnish Your Home with Vegan-Friendly Options
When it comes to furnishing your home, finding vegan products can be especially challenging. Wool and leather should obviously be avoided, as should silk. The process to manufacture furniture from these materials is especially cruel, and none of them should ever be used in a vegan home. Look for furniture with upholstery made of pure, organic cotton and fabrics treated with natural dyes instead of synthetics. Even faux leather furniture can be harmful due to the chemicals used and the environmental damage caused via the manufacturing process. Tables, cabinets, and shelving made of reclaimed wood is another excellent way to choose sustainable, repurposed furniture that doesn’t contribute to the deforestation problem. Visit your local thrift or antique store to find quality furniture made from safe materials like bamboo, natural fabrics, or solid wood. It’s a great way to re-purpose older furniture and save money in the process.
The benefits of choosing vegan and cruelty-free furniture are plentiful, including:
- Using vegan furniture at home is much healthier than products treated with toxic chemicals. These chemicals can penetrate your skin and get into your bloodstream and can also be breathed in causing damage to the lungs. It’s especially important to choose all-vegan furniture if you have children or elderly adults living in your home.
- Vegan furniture is easier to clean since it shouldn’t attract dust or insects as leather furniture will. Rugs made of cotton are easy to keep clean, and they’re much more resistant to stains than wool area rugs.
- If you suffer from allergies, most vegan furniture and décor are hypoallergenic. Animal fur and feathers can cause allergies to flare up big time. Choose bedding and pillows made from a down alternative to keep your allergies under control. Not only will you feel better, but you’re also ensuring that you don’t purchase items that harm animals in the process.
- When you furnish your home with vegan and cruelty-free products, you’ll feel good about your surroundings. While eating a vegan diet is the cornerstone of this lifestyle, having a vegan home is also essential to achieve a well-rounded and value-driven life.
Living the Vegan Lifestyle: Don’t Forget Décor
Finding and using vegan and cruelty-free cleaning products and furniture can be easy once you know what to look for and what to avoid. When it comes to decorating your home, don’t forget that all of your home accents and décor should be vegan, too. Stay away from throw pillows and bedding made of silk and wool or anything filled with down feathers. Instead, choose down alternative textiles and try pillows, rugs, and linens made of organic fabrics. If you love the look and feel of leather but hate the cruelty, there are some companies currently making products from vegan synthetic leather. Remember to stay away from fur at all costs, too. Delve into vegan companies that are dedicated to making quality home products without the need for animal products and byproducts.
There are a few key things to look for when choosing items for your vegan home:
- Try furniture and décor with rubber cushions instead of memory foam. Natural rubber foam cushions are soft, comfortable, and are made sustainably by harvesting natural latex from the rubber tree. This material may also be referred to as “natural latex.” Visit the GOLS, or Global Organic Latex Standard to learn more about how to choose the cleanest option for your home.
- The sourcing of materials used to make home goods and furniture should not create toxic pollution or cause harm via deforestation. Make sure every item you’re interested in has been third-party certified so you’re confident in your choice.
- Even the finishes on furniture and home décor can be harmful to the environment and animals. Check to see if the finish uses low or nontoxic organic ingredients that have no or very little off-gassing that can cause harm to the environment as well as your health.
- Some home goods, especially many cleaning products, are completely biodegradable. Find out about the life cycle of your products and whether or not they can be reused, recycled, or if they’re fully biodegradable before you purchase.
- Reduce the demand for mass-produced home décor items and furniture by buying products from a local thrift store. Not only will you give these items a new life, but you’re also slowing down the need for mass-produced products in the consumer marketplace. It’s also a great way to get something new without cutting down trees, testing on animals, or harming the environment through importation and transport.
It’s also important to note that even products like the paint on your walls could contain animal products. Milk and beeswax are often used as a binder when the paint is manufactured. Some paint brands still test on animals, either by putting the paint directly on the animals’ skin or doing things as cruel as forcing them to ingest it. If you’re planning to change the paint color in your home, always make sure that it’s completely vegan and cruelty-free. Thankfully, there are a lot of eco-friendly and cruelty-free paint brands out there to choose from. Do your research if you’re planning to paint your home so that you’re using a product that’s safe as well as vegan.
When picking out items to decorate your home, always keep sustainability and cruelty-free practices in mind. Materials like glass, repurposed wood, and natural fabrics are all excellent choices. Shop locally to find artisans and furniture makers who use repurposed materials to make their products. Look at labels carefully to ensure that every item you purchase for your home from cleaning products to area rugs is entirely vegan and cruelty-free. It may take some time and patience to find everything you need, but the process will be worth it in the long run.
Say Hello to a Vegan Home
Whether it’s window and oven cleaners with the Leaping Bunny logo or furniture made of organic cotton upholstery and natural latex cushioning, achieving a vegan home is possible. Always research where your items are coming from and don’t be afraid to ask companies about their manufacturing processes. With a little bit of homework and research, you can transform your home into a 100% vegan abode. Thanks to many new brands that are embracing veganism, you’ll be able to create a cruelty-free space to enjoy for years to come.
MORE resources on this blog!