The Best Non-Toxic School Swaps

By Marilee Nelson |

It's getting to that time of year again when the kids are heading back to school. We say this every year but... can you believe it?! 

As mothers, we understand the importance of letting children go into the world and explore... even if it's hard to let them go at times. The best we can do is make sure to provide them with what they need to grow, learn and succeed. 

Below, we've outlined are some of our favorite - and most important - non-toxic swaps for kids heading back to school. 

The Most Important School Safety Issue

Truly, of the BEST things we can do to ensure the safety and health of our children while they are at school is to educate schools on safe cleaning. 

If you’re concerned about the chemical cleaners used in your children’s school - you’re not alone! This is why we created the Branch Basics School Kit Guide on How To Educate Schools on Safer Cleaning.

While it can feel overwhelming to question the cleaning protocols for the places that we feel are out of our control, it's critical to speak up. Our children spend a lot of time at school and ensuring it's a safe space for them to breathe and learn is crucial. 

Too often, disinfecting policies are put into place without examining the potential dangers of the cleaners themselves, despite well-documented research that shows the risks toxic products pose to our immune systems and overall health. The burden of duty is on us when it comes to standing up for safer, and even more effective, options. 

We hope our guide helps you confidently approach the leadership in your children’s schools. 

Check out our School Toolkit: How To Educate Schools on Safer Cleaning.

The Best Non-Toxic School Swaps

Classroom Essentials Kit

For a truly non-toxic classroom, all conventional cleaners need to be removed.

If you are able to provide for your child's classroom, our Classroom Essentials Kit is perfect for any and all classroom cleanup - from desktops to surfaces to hand washing. The best way to ensure this gets into the classroom is the purchase our kit and gift to a teacher, or have your child bring it the the classroom one day. 

Our Classroom Essentials Kit will replace all other conventional cleaners and soaps in the classroom that could ultimately do harm, and ensure the safety of all! Teachers, kids and everyone will benefit from cleaner air and better health.

As a bonus, Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes are a great option for when the classroom needs to be sanitized or disinfected! 

Backpacks and Lunch Bags

Backpacks are typically made from synthetic fabrics that can contain harmful chemicals, so we look for backpacks and lunch bags that are (ideally) cotton, BPA free and PVC free

Water Bottles

Stainless steel or glass are the best option for water or drinking bottles. Stainless steel will be lighter, more durable and less bulky, so we prefer that for kids. 

Food Storage

Silicone is best for food storage. Glass is another great option, but again, we think it's better if kids stick to silicone as glass is easily breakable and gets heavy for them to carry around all day. 


Not quite a "swap", but if your kids bring snacks to school (which we do recommend), provide them with the healthiest, most nutrient-dense option - that is also tasty!

Here are some of our favorite snacks to throw into your child's backpack or lunchbox:



  • Branch Basics Travel Kit - Great for on-the-go, our Travel Kit is so small and easy for the kids to fit in their backpacks or keep in their lockers. While Branch Basics is not a sanitizer or disinfectant (read more on this subject here), it actually removes germs vs. killing them. BB also has no alcohol or other harmful antibacterial cleansers or preservatives and is fragrance-free. *Note: try to teach your child to always wash their hands after playing with toys or on the playground, as most surfaces are made with toxic, artificial materials. All they need to do is grab their Branch Basics Mini Foamer (included in the Travel Kit) and wash!
  • Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray (Free + Clear) 

Here's to a healthy and happy school year! 

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.