Our home is our sanctuary (hopefully!). It’s where we raise our children and grow love. So it is only natural to want to have the healthiest, non-toxic home that we can. Toxins and chemicals are sneaky though, they can be found in many of the products that we use everyday!
If you have a health issue like adrenal fatigue, autoimmune, asthma, allergies, or any number of other health concerns, you may want to consider the affect that these chemicals have on your health and the burden they may place on your body.
Working toward a non-toxic home is not just for those with health issues though. If you have children, pets, or even for yourself, these chemicals found in products we use every day can be very concerning!
Here’s one cause for concern, the EPA has said that the air quality in homes can be worse than that of the outdoors. And that “most homes have more than one source that contributes to indoor air pollution. There can be a serious risk from the cumulative effects of these sources. ” Eeeek!
In addition, the American Lung Association issues it’s own warnings. They state: ” VOCs and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches.”
So what is a concerned person, such as yourself, to do? Read on! You will find information about some of the biggest offenders and simple steps to create a non-toxic home!
My Journey To A Healthier Home
When I had my first daughter, living an all around cleaner life become a top priority to me. I spent HOURS researching topics like food, mattresses, indoor air quality, chemicals in clothing, vaccines, baby products, and every other topic related to a healthy home that you can think of. What I learned from all of that research was eye opening, to say the least.
After much research, I decided that, since there was so much I wanted to change, I would start slow, eliminate or replace the highest priority items first and go from there. It has been twelve years and we have changed so much, but what I’ve learned is that this is an on-going process.
If you’re just starting out- DON’T GET DISCOURAGED!! We’ll go through this step-by-step so that you can find what is most important to you and what you want your first steps to be.
So, What Is A Non-Toxic Home?
To be honest, the term “Non-Toxic Home” isn’t really accurate. It may not be completely possible to have a home totally free of all toxins. Our world is full of chemicals, toxins, and materials that are not necessarily beneficial to us.
But, to me, a non-toxic home is one where we make an effort to improve our health and lives (think: the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the products we use) by choosing non-toxic and less toxic products.
Knowing what you know now, you may be wondering how to have a non-toxic (or less toxic) home. We may not have control over everything, but we do have the ability to choose what products we buy and use. That in itself makes a huge difference in the environment of your home.
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Where to Start
When I first started thinking of changing things I got totally overwhelmed! But then I realized that if I make a list, I will be able to put it down on paper and see a clear path to the goal (plus, I love lists! I make them all the time, for all things 😀 )
My suggestion is to take a few days and notice the things that you use the on an everyday basis. If you are making a list, you could then start to divide items into rooms, categories, or levels of importance.
If you go room by room to evaluate, your list to could look something like this:
- Cookware/Bakeware– what is yours made of? Good options include: glass, stainless steel, and cast iron, and silicone for baking.
- Storage- do you use plastic wrap or plastic storage containers? Maybe consider glass storage containers, beeswax wraps, or silicone storage bags instead.
- Dish Soap/Dishwasher Detergent- do you usually reach for Dawn or Cascade? Check out some of the more natural versions like Better Life, Biokleen, and Ecos.
- Cleaners- instead of harsh spray cleaners consider making your own, or look for Biokleen or Seventh Generation brands
- Produce– choose organic options. These have less pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, which means you will be ingesting less.
- Meat and Dairy- just like with produce, opt for the organic version. If possible, go for grass fed. There are many nutrition benefits to grass fed, and straight from the farmer is the best place to buy it!
- Canned or Boxed Food– while this shouldn’t make up the majority of the food we eat, let’s be real, almost all of us buy rice, noodles, beans, or other similar options. Look for food in glass jars instead of cans, frozen instead of canned for fruits and veggies, and organic.
Bathroom and Laundry
- Cleaners- just like kitchen cleaners, look for natural versions of common cleaners, or make your own!
- Hand soap– reconsider popular hand soaps (especially those with triclosan!) Dr. Bronners in a foaming bottle is a great option.
- Laundry soap- skip the common brands that have concerning ingredients and go for something like Molly’s Suds or Better Life brands. Or you could DIY it! Laundry soap is really easy to make!!
- Dryer sheets- skip them! All you need is a few dryer balls and if you like a nice smell, add a few drops of essential oils. Much healthier!
- Air Fresheners and Candles- opt for natural scents instead of unhealthy sprays and candles. You can mix up your own spray with some of my favorite essential oils, or choose beeswax candles with with essential oils.
- Makeup- next time you need makeup, try something new. There are a lot of brands out there. A good resource to check for healthier options is EWG.org. You can check a brand’s score which can help you decide what to buy.
- Deodorant- this is another category that has a ton of choices! Personally, I go between making my own and buying one that is very similar to my recipe from Little Seed Farm.
- Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, and Bodywash- so many options! My advice- check out your normal brands on EWG.org, see how they rate, and go from there. I will say, some of my favorite products come from Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve Company h🙂
This category has a mix of personal care, lawn care, and other outdoor considerations.
- Bug Spray- this is important because there are so many options, but many are not healthy choices. In my house, we generally use Shield Me from Plant Therapy. We have been using it for the last few years, and it even worked for my daughter when she went to summer camp 😉
- Sunscreen- check out your normal sunscreen, if it has undesirable ingredients, I have a suggestion- Badger Balm! I absolutely love their products and have used them for years.
- Weed Killer- if you spray chemicals on your lawn or garden for weeds please know that doing so is a threat to your health and those around you. Non-toxic and effective weed killers are easy to make at home. I have even used straight vinegar and that has worked for many different weeds.
- Pest Repellent Yard Spray- it is tempting to spray our yards with bug repellents so that we can be outside without having to deal with pests. If you do this please consider a natural option. Dr. Karen Becker gives great information for safe options for pets, including this recipe by Paul Harvey.
Tips For Success
This is so important! If you are working toward a healthier lifestyle and looking to replace products, be sure that you are bringing in better products by taking the time to really look into your options
2. Try Not To Get Discouraged
When you first begin this can all feel really overwhelming. Don’t lose hope though! Take one step at a time and before you know it you will be amazed at how much has changed!
3. Stay Inspired and Connect With Others
If you are having a hard time finding the time to research, getting discouraged, or have questions about healthier living, one of the best things to do is find others with similar interests and reach out. Odds are everyone there has felt just like you.
4. Buy Used or On Clearance To Save
The best way to replace old, not as healthy products with healthier products is to buy them one at a time, or as needed. There will be some things though that you will feel are a priority to change and some items can be expensive (like cookware). If you don’t have the funds to buy all brand new pots and pans try scouring the thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or garage sales. I can’t tell you how many cast iron, glass, and stainless steel pots and pans I have seen at these places. In fact, that is exactly how I started my transition to healthier cookware 😉
5. Buy Quality Products
If you are able to buy new, be sure to buy quality items. This will ensure that you are getting a great product that will last for years to come.
1. I know I need to replace some items in our home for less toxic versions, is there anything else I should do to reduce chemicals in our home?
There are quite a few other things you could do! First tip: don’t wear shoes in the house (you track in all kinds of things!). Next, if you don’t already have them, add plants! Plants help filter the air and improve air quality. You could also choose greener options when replacing furniture and building materials, this will help reduce chemicals in a big way!
2. I can’t afford to buy all organic food. What should I do?
Buying organic can definitely get pricey! My suggestion would be to check out EWG’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. It is a handy little guide that can help you decide which products are most important to buy organic, and which ones you could buy non-organic. My next suggestion is to prioritize real, healthy food and skip the processed stuff. I love chips and hummus as much as the next person, but I can buy fruits and veggies for the same price, it is healthier, and it lasts a lot longer (at least in my house).
3. Should I wash my fruits and veggies?
My advice would be, yes. Even if your produce isn’t sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals, it could still have dust and dirt from the farm or transport. Not to mention, people or equipment may have touched them and you never know clean (or dirty) that could make your food. An easy DIY produce wash- fill a bowl or sink with 4 parts water and one part vinegar. Let soak about 20 minutes. Lightly scrub, then rinse. Easy, peasy!
4. Our water has chlorine and fluoride added, how can I eliminate these chemicals so that we don’t drink or or bathe in them?
This is a great question, and an important one if you are trying to reduce or eliminate chemicals in your home. My best suggestion is to get a whole house filter like the ones I drool over from Radiant Life. But if you’re like me and aren’t quite ready to make that investment, you could look into Berkey water filters (they have shower filters too!), along with Vitamin C bath dechlorination tablets. Just drop them in, wait a few minutes, and the chlorine (and chloramines) are removed.
Without a doubt, making changes to reduce toxins in your home can be challenging! One secret to tackling those challenges is to try not to get overwhelmed. To do this, make a list or plan similar to the list above, and think of all of the products you use daily. Pick items to replace that you feel are most important (or most affordable) to start changing, and go from there. It can take time to research, try out new products, find what you like, and replace old items. That’s ok! Every step you take is making your home, and your family, healthier!
Do you have great tips on how to reduce or eliminate toxins
in the home?
I would love to hear them!
Please feel free to
leave a comment below and tell me how you are making your
home a healthy one!
I have a background in natural health and homeopathy, have been a licensed massage therapist for over 14 years, and have a degree in Human Services. But most importantly, I am a wife and mom.
My mission is to provide researched information and actionable steps to help you on your road to good health.
Because there is nothing more important than....