How to Reduce Toxins in the Home
We make out our homes to be these places of cleanliness, where nothing can hurt us. But did you know that there are harmful chemicals lurking in places you never even thought about? I’m going to tell you about five simple changes you can make so you can learn how to reduce toxic chemicals and create a healthier home.
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What Kinds of Chemicals are In My Household Products?
In the world of consumerism, big-name companies will do anything to get a desired result from a product. Even if that means wrecking their buyer’s health. It’s a mixture between that, and simply not knowing enough about an ingredient’s potential hazards. Or caring enough about that, for that matter.
Some common ingredients in household products include Phthalates, Perchloroethylene, Butoxyethanol, and Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS.” (source) If you have no idea what any of those are, then you’re like most consumers. I couldn’t even pronounce these ingredients until recently! These ingredients have been proven to be linked to endocrine disruption, respiratory issues, skin irritation, and creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
While there are perfectly fine ingredients out there that sound like these things, you should try your best to stay away from products that have unknown ingredients. I’ll get into more details on how to pick safer products from the store in a bit. Because I know that making absolutely everything is simply not feasible for most of you.
So what do I suggest you do? Make or replace as many household products as you can! I know it sounds daunting, but if I can do it, you can too. I’ve been living a natural lifestyle for over seven years now, and I’ve never felt better. It’s just a matter of finding what products you prefer to make versus ones you simply cannot deal with and would rather buy. Start out with these five areas below, and your home will already be so much healthier than it was before.
Start with Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies
If you have no idea where to start with how to remove toxic chemicals from your household products, I highly recommend you tackle your cleaning supplies first. One of the highest amounts of toxic chemicals is lurking in your cleaning products. All of the ingredients I mentioned earlier can be found in most of them.
While you can certainly buy natural cleaning products, I’m of the opinion that it’s much easier to make your own. Simply because it’s incredibly easy, cheap, and you most likely have the ingredients at home already. Most big-name cleaners have caused respiratory issues (I’m looking at you, Windex), or strains of bacteria that are resistant to any antibacterial cleaners.
This problem stems from wanting such strong cleaners to get rid of all those harmful germs in our homes, we forgot that a little dirt is actually good. Not having such strong cleaners helps prevent the creation of stronger strains of bacteria, and it eliminates the risks they pose to our overall health.
The Most Basic Cleaning Ingredients
Most of the ingredients you can use to make your own cleaners include baking soda, castile soap, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils. All of these ingredients have their own unique cleaning power, such as baking soda is deodorizing, castile soap cuts through grease, hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to bleach, and essential oils pack an extra antibacterial punch.
I’ve listed all of my favorite cleaning ingredients on Amazon for your convenience:
You can see all of my homemade cleaners in action and make your own! I keep all of these ingredients on hand at all times so I can always make a new product when it runs out. And if you’re just not into making your own cleaning supplies, I got you covered! Check out my natural living necessities page for product recommendations on absolutely everything.
- DIY Glass Cleaner You can Make in Under 5 Minutes!
- Homemade Mop Solution for any Floor Type with Essential Oils
- DIY All-Purpose Cleaner You Can Make Right Now
- Easy DIY Toilet Cleaner with No Harsh Chemicals!
If you only choose to make your own cleaning products, your home will be so much healthier than the average home! Learning how to remove toxic chemicals from your home has to start somewhere, so why not pick a place that has some of the worst chemicals?
Ditch Plastic as Much as Possible
While phasing plastic out of your life is great for the environment, it’s great for your health as well. One-time use plastics, like sandwich bags, pose a risk for your health. The same goes for all other plastics in your house as well. While ditching plastic is mostly marketed as environmentally friendly, it needs to be marketed as a great choice to make for your overall health.
One of the most common chemicals found in plastics is BPA, or Bisphenol-A. It’s been proven to be a hormone disruptor, among many other serious health concerns. And this stuff is in almost every run-of-the-mill plastic! Fortunately, the FDA was able to ban them in kid’s bottles a few years ago, but the alternative isn’t much better
A new replacement for BPA, BPS, has been shown to have similar effects on our body. So even if you find a product that says “BPA free,” it might have BPS in it instead. So how do we win this battle?? Simple, avoid plastic altogether, if you can. You can opt for stainless steel water bottles, but even that poses its hazards.
You want to opt for a water bottle made with #304 or 18/8 stainless steel. It won’t leech toxic chemicals into your food or water at any temperature. Some popular water bottles are made with aluminum, which is just as hazardous for your health as BPA. Luckily, I highly recommend this stainless steel water bottle made from the right materials.
Don’t Forget Your Kitchen Plastics!
As for the rest of your plastics in the kitchen, there are some easy swaps you can make. The hazard with most plastics is that they can leech toxic chemicals in addition to BPA, which then bleeds into your food! Just thinking about all those chemicals I used to ingest on a daily basis give me the willies.
This includes Tupperware, sandwich bags, and plastic cling wrap. And they don’t have to be heated to leech the chemicals into your food! Although heat certainly brings them out more. You may be thinking that you could avoid those chemicals by simply avoiding heat, but that won’t fix very much. If you food comes into contact with plastic for even a few minutes, it can become contaminated.
The easiest fix for this problem is to switch your Tupperware with glass options, give reusable sandwich bags a try, and experiment with reusable cling wrap. All of my personal favorite options for these products can be found down below.
Go ahead and shop around for your own favorite alternatives. You’ll find that your trash will be a little lighter, and your internal organs with thank you. Not only are you helping the environment, your helping prevent serious diseases that you could contract later down the road. I’ve heard way too many stories of people getting illnesses and infertility because of their kitchen plastics.
Stay Away from Nonstick Cookware
It doesn’t end with plastics! Unfortunately, you may need to replace all of your pots and pans as well. Nonstick cookware definitely makes cooking that much easier, but is it really worth sabotaging your health over broken egg yolks? Let’s take a look at what’s so dangerous about nonstick cookware.
While nonstick pans aren’t nearly as bad as household cleaners and plastic, it still poses a risk to your health. That nonstick coating on your pans is called polytetrafluoroethylene, or Teflon. If you get a cheap nonstick pan and find that the coating starts to flake off, if most likely went into your food.
While there’s no need to panic if you accidentally ingest a few flakes, Teflon is most dangerous when it becomes overheated. If the pan is heated to 600 degrees, the Teflon coating releases toxic fumes into the air that causes flu-like symptoms if inhaled. Some people argue that Teflon releases its fumes after a few minutes of heating, but this has yet to be proven.
Now, it’s very hard to get a pan to 600 degrees. Usually the highest we’ll go is 400 or 500 degrees. But life happens. If you get distracted and overheat the pan, you’ll need to cover your face and air out your home as much as possible while the pan cools down. It doesn’t take much on how to remove toxic chemicals from your home, and this is a risk I think isn’t worth taking.
The Best Nonstick Cookware Alternatives
Stay away from other alternatives, such as copper and aluminum cookware! These both can cause toxicity levels that are too high to leech into your food. However, there are some coatings that are safe to use now that we are more aware. This nontoxic and nonstick pan is an excellent alternative, and this safe to use cookware set is also popular amongst the health and wellness community.
While nonstick cookware makes cooking a breeze, there are plenty of options out there that work just as well! I have personally used and loved stainless steel cookware, as well as some cookware sets that have a safer coating. What’s more, these pans can last you decades, unlike nonstick cookware that will need to be thrown out when the coating finally wears off. If you want to learn how to remove toxic chemicals from your kitchen, your cookware is a good place to start.
Get Some Natural Air Purifiers
Did you know that the air in your home has more pollution than the air outside? It may seem the other way around because you can see all the smoke in the air near power plants and whatnot, but there are more dangerous contaminants in your home’s air. The products you use every day pose major hazards to your health!
The products you use to freshen the air in your home, such as Febreeze, candles, and plug-in air fresheners, all contain hazardous chemicals. One of the best methods on how to remove toxic chemicals from the air is to get rid of these things entirely. But don’t worry, there are great replacements!
While these products seem perfectly harmless, they release toxins into the air that have been proven to cause respiratory issues, ranging from irritation to hospitalization. Although irritation is usually what people end up dealing with. In addition, these toxins enter your bloodstream and linger there, slowly inhibiting your health.
Candles, for instance, are usually made with paraffin wax, and they release toxins similar to a diesel fumes! There are plenty of soy wax candle alternatives, but soy is one of the worst hormone disruptors out there, so I don’t recommend most natural candle alternatives, either. What I do recommend are pure beeswax candles instead.
The Best Natural Air Purifiers
Beeswax candles can be made yourself with essential oils, like my DIY essential oil candles. Or you can find ones at the store. But one of the best natural air purifiers are house plants. They take in that bad air, and release good quality air. I know that having plants everywhere seems to be this millennial-Instagram-hipster kind of trend, but I promise you it’s worth jumping on.
Just about any house plant is good for purifying the air in your home, but there are some kinds better suited for the job. These plants include the snake plant, spider plant, peace lily, and ferns. I highly recommend you keep one or two of these plants in your bedroom, so you can have clean air while you sleep. Succulents also are a great low-maintenance air purifier!
Plus, having plants around your home provokes a sense of calm in us. This is because the greenery reminds us of where we came from; the great outdoors. Learning how to remove toxic chemicals from our homes can help clear up our minds immensely. Have you ever heard of forest bathing? It’s a great way to combat depression and overall mental health. And it’s simply spending time in the forest for a few hours!
But if you just want your house to smell nice, I totally get it. Sometimes I want my house to smell a certain way too. But don’t go out and buy one of those plug in air fresheners! Those are just as bad as the rest of those traditional air fresheners. Try my homemade air freshener recipe instead. It gets rid of odors just as good as Febreeze, and you can actually control what smell you want more than before! And you can make it in under 5 minutes.
Arm Yourself with Resources for Choosing New Products
Since I know I can’t cover absolutely everything on this already long post, you should know about my favorite resources that will help you remove toxic chemicals from your home. I certainly don’t know everything, so these resources have proved invaluable to me. Especially when it comes to making quick decisions at the store.
My personal favorite resource is the Think Dirty App. It’s what makes shopping for new products easy and quick. Think Dirty is an app that consists of a massive database of ingredients and products. Before I had the app, I used to spend up to 15 minutes googling each ingredient of a product I was interested in buying.
My favorite feature of the Think Dirty App is that it has a barcode scanner right in the app. Just scan a potential product, and it will pull it up from the database with rating from 0-10 on how safe it is. 0-3 is a good range, and anything after that is a no-no. What’s interesting is that nearly every big-name product has a whopping rating of 10!
There’s so much more this little app can do, so be sure to check out my full review of the Think Dirty App. And they’re not paying me to say any of those things! I just think it’s an app worth talking about because it’s such a handy resource.
Final Thoughts on How to Remove Toxic Chemicals from Your Household Products
I know that all of the things I just told you may sound a bit scary, and it wasn’t my intent to use scare tactics to get you to switch to a natural lifestyle. But you deserve to know what’s in your house, and most big-name companies don’t want you to know! I hope this post woke you up to what’s really going on in your home, and how it’s sabotaging your health.
And I certainly don’t expect you to make all of these changes over night! I’m honestly still working on them myself (I’m not the best at keeping plants alive). Just remember that natural living is a journey, not a destination. And it looks different on everyone.
You may choose to make all of your household products, or you may choose to buy everything. It’s totally up to you. I personally do a mixture between the two, because there are some products I simply don’t want to deal with making, like laundry detergent. So don’t be afraid to experiment and find what you like! You’ll always have me to come to if you have any questions.
Do you love the idea of a natural and chemical-free home? Let me know in the comments below!
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