From the fridge to the bedroom, go organic in every room

Name something in your home that's organic. Now, I'm no Derren Brown, but I'll bet my bicycle you said fruit and veggies, beer or wine, or at a push, tea bags. I'll bet your bicycle you didn't say a handy tube of lubricant in your bedside drawer, Sarah Woodhead writes.

Yes, it's true, organic products are no longer restricted to the contents of the fridge, but have made a break for the rest of our homes too, even the more intimate spaces. On the eve of 2010's Organic Fortnight, we explain how and why to try the new organics.

Before we start, let's recap on what organic means. If an ingredient is organic it means that it has been produced in a way that limits the use of synthetic materials, or avoids them altogether, promotes balance in nature and conserves biodiversity. This might mean restricted or no use of pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones, and in some cases genetic modification and nanotechnology. The criteria vary in different countries; in the UK the standards are set by DEFRA, and in the US it's the United States Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program.

Photo credit: Vikram Vetrivel

Check out our article on organic certification standards.

The key benefits of buying organic are these:

  • The production process is less damaging to the environment, farm workers and animals
  • The products themselves are less likely to contain potentially toxic ingredients, so they are better for you too
  • The ingredients are often better quality and so taste or work better
  • Organic products are often made by small companies, so you are supporting independent trade.
  • Some organic food schemes keep it local too, reducing food miles.

Try organic in the bedroom

First on the shopping list is organic cotton bed linen and organic lubricant. Together, they make for a healthy bedroom in more ways than one!

Yes is an award-winning range of organic water-based lubricants which have eliminated synthetics so that you can rely on a totally natural experience; I'd say this is one body zone you definitely want to protect and preserve for future use. Carrying the Soil Association Certified mark, Yes contains organically grown Aloe vera, guar gum, locust bean gum and flax extract. That's a lot of organics to guarantee your pleasure.

Photo credit: New Internationalist

Meanwhile, organic cotton is an environmentally friendly choice for duvets and sheets. Conventional cotton farming covers 2.5% of the world's cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world's insecticides. These insecticides are incredibly damaging to farm workers and to the environment. Organic cotton farming eliminates that risk.

Big Green Smile stocks: Yes Organic Lubricants.

Try organic in the bathroom

You'll make the greatest impact if you switch to organic shampoos, conditioners and shower gels, and there are plenty to choose from. As well as everyday cleansing, many combine organic ingredients to fix familiar skin and hair problems, from volume boosters to intensive moisturising.

For removing make-up, an organic cleanser like Avalon Organics Lavender Facial Cleansing Gel, used with organic cotton wool, is the right choice.

Organic cotton feminine products are rising in popularity too. These organic cotton products bring with them the same benefits as organic cotton bedlinens – it’s all about the farming and keeping possibly harmful ingredients from your skin and delicate zones.

Organic is far from just a girl thing, though. Jason makes an organic after shave tonic, and Absolute Aromas makes an organic shaving oil, for example. It mixes an array of delicious 100% organically produced oils, including patchouli, peppermint and lavender.

Photo credit: Mr Nomind

Cleaning your bathroom can be done organically too, with organic bath and shower cleaners and window and mirror cleaners. What makes them organic? Plenty of cleaning products contain natural ingredients which can now be grown organically, such as the Aloe Barbendensis leaf juice powder in the Bentley Organic Window & Glass Cleaner.

Big Green Smile stocks: Organic shampoos, natural conditioners and styling products from Australian Organics, Avalon Organics, Organic Surge, Bentley Organic, Skin Blossom Organic Bloom and Jason; Simply Gentle Organic cotton wool balls, pads, buds and pleats; the full range of Natracare Organic Cotton Feminine Products; Absolute Aromas Organic Shaving Oil; Jason Organic After Shave Tonic; Bentley Organics bathroom cleaning products.

Try organic in the dressing room

Organic skincare and beauty products have seen a surge in popularity recently as more of us choose to avoid putting products containing chemical nasties close to our skin. Aside from organic tinted moisturisers which could replace your foundation, there isn’t a wide choice of organic make-up yet. Fortunately, there is no shortage of organic moisturisers, from anti-wrinkle creams and facial serums to daily lotions.

For your wardrobe, the rise in availability of organic cotton has also led to a new diversity of organic cotton clothing. Many artisan designers and eco boutiques offer organic cotton clothing, and it can also now be bought in high street stores including J Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer.

Big Green Smile stocks: Moisturisers, wrinkle-defence creams, serums, lip balm, hand balm from Organic Surge, Avalon Organics, Balm Balm, Australian Organics.

Try organic in the nursery

Any new parent will tell you that if you haven't thought about organics before, the arrival of a beautiful and fragile new baby will bring with it a change of heart. There is nothing mums and dads want more than to protect baby, and organic products from nappy cream, lotions, oils and baby wipes to baby eczema creams go that step further to ensuring potentially harmful ingredients stay away from your little one.

Photo credit: Gabi Menashe

Mums can look after themselves during pregnancy too with organic bump moisturisers and oils, to help prevent stretch marks.

Big Green Smile stocks: a range of natural baby products including Balm Balm Organic Baby Balm and Baby Bath & Body Oil; Bentley Organic Baby Wash and Baby Soap; Avalon Organics Baby Shampoo; Essential Care Organic Baby Bump Butter and Organic Repair Lotion.

New organics for the kitchen

So, you know all about organic food and wine, but what about organic kitchen cleaners? The Bentley Organic range offers washing up liquid, surface cleaner, hand sanitiser, hand wash and even salad fruit and veg wash. If cleaning sounds like hard work and not enough fun in the kitchen, there’s an organic chocolate-making kit instead.

Big Green Smile stocks: Organic kitchen products from Bentley Organics; The Chocolution Mayan Magic Organic Chocolate Making Kit.

What to look for when buying organic products

Look for products that are "Certified organic". This means that the item has been through a rigorous application process in which the efficacy of its organic status has been tested at all points in its manufacture, effectively from the soil up.

The Soil Association is the UK's main organic certification body. Products carrying its organic stamp must fulfill a number of criteria, including containing as high as possible proportion of organic ingredients and to be clearly identified, traceable and separate from non-organic products at all stages of manufacturing. You can find out more about Soil Association organic certification here, as well as a list of our Soil Association certified products.

It's Organic Fortnight

Whether you're new to organics or a fan already, the upcoming Organic Fortnight (September 3-17 2010, nationwide), organised by The Soil Association, will bring together plenty of events and produce to inspire you. The theme this year is "try something organic every day". With the new organics available for every room in your home we’re confident you won’t be stuck for ideas.