5 Simple Ways to Reduce Toxins in Your Home
As you learned in our intro post to this series, toxins are all around us – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the products we use, the foods we eat…the list goes on and on. The second post in this installment taught you about 6 easy ways to reduce toxins in your food. Now, this post will go into 5 simple ways to reduce toxins in your home. Later we’ll share 5 practical lifestyle tips for helping your body to properly detox.
So, you’ve got a cabinet full of cleaners – your multi-purpose cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, shower/tile cleaner, glass cleaner, dust spray, etc. I know – you want to keep your home fresh, clean and free of icky germs. We totally get it! But did you know that many of the products you may be using in your home are full of toxins – like the awful ingredients linked to cancer, hormone disruption and even infertility?!? Scary stuff, huh? Well, luckily more and more people are starting to care about reducing toxins and lots of great companies are popping up all the time with healthier and safer products. Let’s dive into 5 simple ways you can reduce toxins in your home!
5 Simple Ways To Reduce Toxins In Your Home
There are 5 specific ways you can reduce toxins in your home. Now this is not all encompassing and there are plenty more things you can do, but this is definitely a great start! You can read more about each of the 5 ways further down in this post.
- Swap out cleaning products for safer ones
- Ditch the plastics in your kitchen
- Clean up your laundry room
- Switch your cosmetics and skin care products to safer ones
- Trade candles and air fresheners for essential oils
But First…A Tool For Educating Yourself On Your Cleaning Products And Cosmetics
When you buy cleaning products (even some of the seemingly healthy brands) you probably think you are cleaning up your home and making it safer for you and your family. In theory yes, but if your cleaners are full of toxins you may be eliminating bacteria, but at what cost?
My favorite way to figure out which brands and products are the safest is to use the Environmental Working Group (EWG) databases – the Guide to Healthy Cleaning and the Skin Deep database. They do have an app version of the Skin Deep database that you can put on your phone to have handy when you’re out and about shopping for cosmetics, but the online version is more comprehensive for looking up particular ingredients as well as household products.
It’s quite alarming to see some of the brands I thought were safe really aren’t so great, but I love this tool because it allows you to take charge and make more informed decisions. You can take a peek at the ingredients in your products and enter them into the database. You can also enter the specific brands you are using into the database as well. It may not have info on all of the brands, but that’s why I say you can look up individual ingredients and get info on how safe they are. The Skin Deep database uses a ranking system from 1-10 (or A to F for the healthy cleaning guide), with 1 or A being the safest and 10 or F being the most unsafe. I’ve been slowly cleaning up all of our products around the home, trying to use products that are ranked no higher than a 2 or an A.
Swap Out Cleaning Products For Safer Ones
There are several cleaners we all keep in our homes, which means there is ample opportunity for making safer choices. Use the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning to assess your current products, and determine how safe/unsafe they are. Then, if any of your products are not as safe as you thought, or as safe as you’d like them to be, consider swapping them out for a better option.
Here are a couple of brands that tend to have safer products (often scoring an A or a 1-2 on the EWG scale):
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soaps – these can be used for so many things. Check out this post from Dr. Axe with 13 Uses for Castile Soap – Natural Cleaning for the Home & Body.
- Biokleen – great for dishwashing soaps, detergents and household cleaners. This brand is also great because it is easily and readily available, even sold at stores like Whole Foods.
- Thrive Market – just introduced a new line of home cleaning products that generally had safe and low ranking ingredients in the Skin Deep database. If you are already a member of Thrive Market definitely check them out because they are super affordable, which is always a plus and readily available like Biokleen. You can also get Dr. Bronner’s products through Thrive Market. If you’re not a member yet, you can join here for 1 month free and get 25% off your first order!
Ditch The Plastics In Your Kitchen
There are many ways to reduce toxins in your home, and especially in the kitchen, so this is really just the tip of the iceberg. However, eliminating plastic in your kitchen is a great start! Think about all the plastics you may be using – tupperware, plastic wrap, ziplock bags, plastic plates/cups/silverware, straws, etc. This can be a bit of an investment, but definitely worth it. Start slow, and replace things as you run out.
Here are a handful of simple swaps you can make:
- Plastic tupperware ==> glass containers (you can order them on Amazon or we have also found them at Costco)
- Plastic water bottles ==> glass or stainless steel (something like HydroFlask is great because it keeps beverages both cold and hot)
- Plastic wrap ==> reusable bees wrap
- Plastic straws ==> glass or stainless steel
- Plastic baggies ==> reusable baggies (like this or this)
Many of these items are also available on Thrive Market, and you can join here for free for 2 months!
Clean Up Your Laundry Room
Did you know that many laundry detergents and those handy little dryer sheets are toxic? Scary, huh. You wear your clothes all day long, which means the toxins are put right on your body for extended periods of time. Trading your dryer sheets for wool balls is one of the easiest swaps and over the long run it will save you tons of money! Who doesn’t love that?! Think you’ll miss the lovely smell of your dryer sheets? Well, you can always add a few drops of essential oils to your wool balls to add a nice scent to your laundry. My favorite is to add lavender! Here are a couple of ideas for safer laundry detergents as well some wool dryer balls:
- Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder – it is effective and safe for high efficiency washers and is also available on Thrive Market
- Biokleen Free & Clear Laundry Liquid – other scents were also rated well in the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
- Ecover Zero Laundry Liquid Concentrate
- Wool Dryer Balls
Switch Your Cosmetics And Skincare To Safer Products
I go into a more in depth discussion on the toxins in skin care and beauty products on this page, so I will keep it brief in here. Essentially, the U.S. has very little regulation on the beauty industry and there are toxic ingredients used in the many products we put on our skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and we can absorb these toxins through it, so it’s important to put cleaner, safer products on it!
My two favorite brands for safer skincare are Beautycounter and Primally Pure. You can read more about my favorite products from each brand on the pages I have linked to. You can also email me with any questions you have about safer skincare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trade Candles And Air Fresheners For Essential Oils
Candles and air fresheners emit toxins into the air you breathe in your home. A really great non-toxic way to freshen the air in your home is to diffuse essential oils. In addition to freshening the air, you can also use different oils for different purposes. For instance, for allergy season we diffuse peppermint, lavender and lemon essential oils which seem to help Justin’s allergies. You can diffuse lavender at night before you go to bed to help unwind and relax. The versatility of essential oils really goes on an on way beyond just diffusing them, but it is a great place to start!
Photo credit: byjessanderson.com
My friend Jess from byjessanderson.com is one of my favorite resources when it comes to greener living and using essential oils to create a non-toxic home. She does online and in-person classes to educate people and help them make healthier choices. Check her out!