Having a toxin-free home is a big undertaking, but one that families are increasingly embracing. There are certain products throughout our homes that can be dangerous or even deadly. The talcum powder cases that have arisen are a good illustration of that. For example, there are links that have been discovered between ovarian cancer and talcum powder. Personal care corporation Johnson & Johnson have maintained their talcum powder products are safe, but increasingly research has come to light showing that might not be the case. This is just one example of a dangerous household item that’s also very commonly used.
The benefits of creating a toxin-free home include:
You’re avoiding a chemical overload. The U.S. EPA says there are more than 150 chemicals we use throughout our homes associated with birth defects, allergies, cancer, and psychological disorders. Some of the most toxic chemicals found in everyday household products include parabens, sulfates, chlorine, ammonia, and sodium hydroxide. When you have kids in the home, particularly young ones, the more chemicals and toxic items you have there, the more likely they are to get their hands on them. If you want to reduce your environmental impact, think about using fewer toxins in your home. Many of the chemicals we use in our homes on a daily basis aren’t broken down and contaminate our water and environment.
Clear the Air
You might not think about it, but your home has air quality just like the outdoor air does—or in some cases, a lack of air quality. Improve your home’s air quality in simple ways. For example, if the weather is nice, open your windows so the air can circulate. Add living plants to your home which are like natural air purification systems, and rather than using those scented sprays and items you see in stores, diffuse essential oils, or make your own scented sprays. Himalayan salt lamps can help attract pollutants in the air, and you might also want to invest in a high-quality air purifier. If you use candles, switch from paraffin scented candles to candles that are made with pure beeswax.
It’s really important if your goal is a non-toxic home to be aware of synthetic fragrances you’re using. Air fresheners and some candles have toxins that have been found to be equal to smoking a cigarette in your home. Air fresheners emit more than 100 chemicals, including what is described as volatile organic compounds.
Purify Your Water
The water you drink may not be as pure as you think it is straight out of the tap, and having water in plastic bottles may also expose your family to toxins. Filter your water with a water pitcher or a countertop system. You can also add a filter to your faucet.
Replace Your Cookware and Kitchen Storage Containers
Non-stick pans are what are most commonly found in many kitchens across America, but they can be incredibly toxic. When nonstick coatings are exposed to heat, they can release toxic chemicals and gases, including carcinogens. You can find non-toxic nonstick pans, but you need to make sure they are explicitly identified as such. Cast iron pans are one of the best options to reduce toxin exposure in your home. Other materials you might want to cook with aside from cast iron are stainless steel and ceramic pots and pans. Plastic food storage may be exposing your family to BPA, BPS, and other chemicals. These chemicals can be especially harmful if you heat your food in the plastic containers, which allows the food to them absorb them. Try to use glass containers instead.
Skip the Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softeners
Fabric softeners coat your clothes with a layer of substances that can include toxic chemicals. Fabric softeners have been found to lead to headaches, respiratory problems, and skin irritation. If you want a similar effect, think about using wool dryer balls. You can also add essential oils for a natural fragrance. You might also use white vinegar as a natural fabric softener that doesn’t leave a residue.
Swap Your Shower Curtain
Toxins can be hiding anywhere, including your shower curtain.There are substances called phthalates that are often used in plastic products to soften them, including plastic shower curtains. Choose a cloth shower liner instead. If you don’t want a cloth liner, look for a shower curtain that says it’s PVC-free.
Replace Your Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are a major source of toxins in households across America. We tend to be stuck on using the same cleaning product brands year after year, without thinking of the harmful effects they may create. There are tens of thousands of chemicals used in the cleaning products we see on store shelves. Additionally, most are not regulated by the FDA, and there is limited oversight of chemicals in household cleaning products. You can make your own cleaning products or choose brands that focus on being non-toxic, such as Seventh Generation. The idea of transforming your home into a non-toxic space can seem overwhelming, and it may feel like toxins are lurking quite literally everywhere.
The good news is that you don’t have to do everything all at once. Instead, just think about what you can do right now, and then build on that gradually. For example, start with the smallest and least expensive changes, like swapping out a few cleaning products or getting beeswax candles. Then, you can save for more expensive changes like possibly switching your mattress or getting a high-end air purifier. It might take you a year or more to make all these changes, so be gradual and incremental.
You might also do things by area. For example, start with your bathroom and focus on your toiletries and cosmetics. Change all those out, and then when you’re done there, move to another area of your home, such as the kitchen. There are also plenty of ways you can create your own non-toxic products to save money. For example, you can make a simple, all-purpose household cleaning product by combining white vinegar, water, and an essential oil of your choice.