There’s a lot of talk about how we need to be vigilant of the food we eat, and how often we move our bodies. However, what’s not talked about quite as often (and I’m passionate about changing this), is the fact that we are assailed with environmental toxins every day. Even in our homes. So today, we are going to talk all about how to detox your home.
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Here’s the hard truth. According to the EPA, Indoor air is 2-5x more polluted than outdoor air. In fact, there’s even a term to describe what toxins in the home can do, and it’s called toxic home syndrome. Doesn’t sound so good, does it?
That’s a really unsettling fact to wrap my head around. When I take my family inside the doors of my home, I feel a peace settle around me. Learning something like this just seeks to disturb that peace.
However, this is not just bad news, then doom and gloom and the end. No, every bit of information gives us a chance to make a positive change. Let’s look at toxins in the home, and then begin the journey of home detox.
Toxins In The Home
Many of the toxins you can find in the home are the same, or similar to toxins you should be avoiding in personal care products, which I have an article on already.
Here’s a few:
- Fragrance – Full of hormone disruptors, allergens, and carcinogens
- Phthalates – Plasticizing chemical. Enables fragrance to stick to skin. Endocrin disruptor, and also causes birth defects.
- PEG’s – These are used as thickeners, solvents, softeners and are often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane (which you can also find in cleaning products), and ethylene oxide. Both of those ingredients are carcinogenic.
- Triclosan – Antimicrobial pesticides. This just sounds like a bad idea, does it not? Triclosan is toxic to aquatic life and environment, and it is likely that it negatively impacts the human reproductive system.
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUAT’s) – Certified by the EPA as pesticides, and often found in disinfectant wipes. Do you go to the trouble and expense of buying organic meat and produce? Then please do not wipe down your counters with pesticide laden wipes. While it’s wonderful that we can kill harmful germs, the damage we’re allowing is worse, and contributes in a small, yet consistent way, to the development of super bugs.
- Tetrachloroethylene – This is listed by the ATSDR as probably and likely carcinogenic. What this sneaky substance does is accumulate in your body over time, store itself in fat, and eventually morphs itself into other chemicals. If that sounds like a horror film to you, we’re on the same page. It can harm you nervous and reproductive systems, your liver and kidneys, and can harm unborn children. You can find this in spot removers, repellents, wood cleaners, glues, suede protectors and more.
- Butoxyethanol – Damaging to lungs, kidneys, and liver. Chronic exposure can lead to toxic liver, reproductive issues and low birth weight.
- Ammonia – You’ve probably all smelled ammonia at one time or another, and it probably left you with a burning feeling in your nose, throat, or eyes. That may be where you feel it, but it’s doing the same thing to your organs as well.
- Chlorine – Linked to bladder and rectal cancer.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – Causes skin irritation and contributes to allergies
- DEA & TEA – Classified as harmful be the EU. Just like SLS, these ingredients can create suds. However, those innocent looking bubbles can also cause liver, skin, and thyroid cancer.
When you are starting to look at how to detox your home, start with your cleaning products! Look for the ingredients I listed above. If you find them in your products, get rid of them. This is one of the best ways to reduce toxins in your home.
Home Detox – Products that are often guilty
The toxic chemicals I listed above can be found in a multitude of home and personal care products. However, to give you a head start on eliminating toxins from your life, I’m going to list the 5 most common product offenders. By swapping these products to safer alternatives, you’ll be doing you and your family a huge, healthy favor.
- Air Fresheners. I have to start with air fresheners. Air fresheners can emit over 100 chemicals, and very few of them even have to be disclosed. Air fresheners are linked to many bad symptoms, including migraines, asthma, breathing difficulties, and illness in infants. And these are just symptoms we notice… the cumulative damage from air fresheners could be worse. A couple safe alternatives to air fresheners? Diffusing essential oils in the home is a great choice (this is my favorite diffuser). Some essential oils I enjoy diffusing include, lavender, eucalyptus, sweet orange, bergamot, ylang ylang, calming the child (for obvious reasons, am I right, mamas?). Another great alternative is beeswax candles. I absolutely love burning beeswax candles.
- Dryer Sheets. Trust me when I say these do NOT need to be part of your life. The ingredients in dryer sheets are carcinogenic (including being linked to pancreatic cancer), respiratory tract irritants, neurotoxic, and in fact linked to nervous system disorders. A great alternative to dryer sheets are wool dryer balls. I like to put a couple drops of lemon or lavender on the dryer balls, and they’re good to go.
- Antibacterial Products. We discussed this a bit above. Antibacterial products likely contain pesticides, which are carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and endocrin disruptors. They also contribute to the development of super bugs, which is a very real threat in today’s world.
- Corrosive Drain Cleaners. Just think. If it can burn through clogs, it can burn through skin, eyes, noses, and get into our body systems where it has no business being. An alternative? In this case, prevention is key! However, you can also try a mixture of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Potent yet safe.
- Bleach. Again, this is irritating to the skin, mucosal membranes, respiratory tract, and eyes. Bleach is also a heavy pollutant in the environment, and sticks around for many years. A safe alternative to bleach include baking soda, vinegar, soap, and good old sunshine.
How To Detox Your Home – Some More Ideas
- As discussed above, vote with your dollar and choose safe cleaning options
- Take your shoes off before going in your house
- Open windows as often as possible to circulate fresh air
- Allow dry cleaning or new furniture to off-gas outside before bringing indoors
- Say no to dryer sheets and air fresheners
- Don’t use furniture polish… instead, dust with microfiber cloths
- Don’t use pesticides or chemical fertilizers on your lawn or garden
- Reduce your use of plastic
LOOKING FOR RELATED READING? CHECK THESE OUT:
- The Best Simple Health Tips
- Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products
- Why Gut Health is so Important
- DIY All Purpose Cleaner
- Spring Cleaning The House
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