Before we dive in, I just want to say this post is in no way intended to be a shame fest. I talk about these things because I am so passionate about helping other people create a holistic home. We all have to start somewhere and my hope for you is that switching out these five harmful products will lead you down that path one simple step at a time.
How our family accidentally kicked chemicals
When our family accidentally started kicking chemicals out of our home these were the first things to go. I say accidentally because I first kicked bleach out of my house over 12 years ago! Every time I would clean our bathroom with it I would have a terrible headache. It clicked that maybe it wasn’t the best thing to use and I switched to vinegar. This was way before green products lined the shelves and everyone was talking about flipping bottles.
These days it is much easier to find products that are chemical free and safe to use indoors. So much so that switching to chemical free products can sometimes feel overwhelming. Where do you start when you want to get the harmful products out of your home?
Today I’m going to guide you down that path with the top five harmful products you should get rid of and the natural alternatives you can replace them with.
Does any of this matter?
First let’s briefly talk about why. Why does any of this matter? Is it all just a marketing ploy? The short answer is…sometimes.
The truth is lots of big companies that sell harmful products have jumped on the clean product bandwagon because well, they realized it’s in high demand and they can make more money. My personal rule of thumb, if the company that makes the natural cleaning product I’m thinking about buying also makes a chemical filled cleaning product (like bleach for instance) I don’t buy it.
Chemicals cause cancer, chemicals pollute our oceans and the water we drink, they pollute the air we breath. Chemicals are endocrine disruptors, our endocrine system is responsible for our hormones. So one could say chemicals disrupt our fertility. All in all chemicals are not something to mess around with. Any company that produces chemical household products won’t get my money, even if it’s spent on their “natural” line. Not only that but I honestly don’t trust that the product is as “green” or “clean” as they say it is. This is a common known marketing ploy called “greenwashing”.
Don’t lose hope, this isn’t true for all companies. You can find plenty of reputable companies that are very much invested in the health of their consumers as well as the health of the environment.
remove chemicals from your home
- DRYER SHEETS// I have a feeling most of you know that these are bad by now but can’t let go. That’s ok, I’ve got a great alternative for you! But of course I have to enlighten you on the serious dangers of dryer sheets. Not only do they contain fragrance (a fancy blanket term for chemicals). They also contain what’s called xenoestrogens, a synthetic product that mimics estrogen and may cause estrogen dominance. Not to mention the waste they cause when we throw the sheets in the trash.
make the switch
- WOOL DRYER BALLS// You can find these everywhere right now and they’re super affordable! They typically come in packs of 2-4 and they last a really long time. I’ve had mine for at least three years! These are the ones I have. If you need help with static cling attach a safety pin to one or two of the balls. To add a scent add 4-5 drops of essential oil directly to the ball every time you throw in a load in the dryer. And no, the oil will not transfer to your clothing.
- CHEMICAL CLEANERS// When you’re removing chemicals from your home cleaners are the first place to start. These days you can find a cleaner for literally everything. Unfortunately some of them are so loaded with chemicals that you need to keep them locked away. If I have to call poison control if swallowed…I’m not buying it.
make the switch
- NATURAL CLEANERS// It’s as simple as mixing vinegar and water, but I realize some people are not into the smell of vinegar. I get it. In our home we use one concentrated all purpose cleaner that I mix in a glass spray bottle. We use it for everything! I mix more or less of the cleaner depending on the use (ie degreasing vs light cleaning). For windows and glass I do use vinegar and water. Yes, one cleaner for almost everything! Plus if swallowed you just need to drink lots of water. That’s my kind of warning label. Here’s a link to the all purpose natural cleaner we use.
- CANDLES// I’m going to go out on a limb and guess this might be where I lose some of you. But stick with me. If you want to remove chemicals from your home this is a great place to start! Remember how we talked about fragrance. Yeah, candles are loaded with that stuff. I mean that’s kind of the whole point right? The issue is they can really contaminate the air quality of your home (yes even soy candles). They say one hour of candle burning is the same as smoking one cigarette (SOURCE). Yikes!
make the switch
- DIFFUSER// A diffuser is different than a humidifier in that they are designed to disburse essential oils into the air using water. Which is great because they also add humidity to the air! Win win. Simply put you add water to the diffuser and 4-5 drops of essential oil. Depending on the diffuser it can run anywhere from 2-10 hours! My favorite one even has a candle flicker setting to add some ambiance. I’m all about ambiance! If you buy a high quality essential oil that doesn’t contain synthetic fragrance then you don’t have to worry about chemicals contaminating your air. This is my favorite diffuser and these are the oils we use in our house.
harmful bath products
- BATH BOMBS/BATH GELS// At this point I think you know what I’m going to say. Yep, these things are loaded with fragrance, not to mention harmful dyes and SLS. These can quickly turn a relaxing bath into a chemical soak and lead to dry skin, rashes or worse.
make the switch
- EPSOM SALTS// Our favorite way to add a little luxury to our bath is with 1-2 cups of epsom salt with a few drops of essential oil. Add 3-4 drops of oil to the salts and let it soak in before adding to the bath. Epsom salts are great for you and can help you get magnesium that a lot of us are lacking. Alternatively you can make your own bath bombs or if you’re like me you can buy bath bombs made with clean ingredients like these (the stress away ones are incredible).
garden supplies and weed killers
- PESTICIDES// I could go on and on about this but I’ll spare you. I will say this, pesticides are created to kill bugs and keep them away from plants and crops. The bad news, humans are like large bugs. While a small dose that would kill a bug may not harm you, constant exposure could. The other thing to consider is environmental damage. If that doesn’t interest you as much, you may be interested in the fact that pesticides harm the environment by contaminating our soil and waterways. Both of which are sources for our water and food. No matter which way you look at it we have the potential for exposure. The best way to lessen that exposure is by not using it on your own lawn. We can only control what we can control.
make the switch
- NATURAL WEED KILLERS// Things we have used in our yard are a diy vinegar mixture (vinegar, water and dish soap), dye free mulch, landscape fabric and boiling water. Yes! Boiling water poured on weeds will kill them all the way to the root. We love this method for weeds that pop up in between cracks in the sidewalk.
REmoving chemicals from your home can be simple
So, you see, these five switches are relatively simple and can make a huge impact! If there is one thing to take away from this I would say start with artificial fragrance. The more you can remove that from your home the better. If you’re shopping at big box stores for your household cleaners and beauty products you will have to flip bottles and check the labels. It can be time consuming but with time you will know what products offer safe ingredients. If you’re like me and want to take the easy way out find a company online that sells natural products and order from them. The companies I like to order from because I trust them and they make the process super simple are Young Living, Thrive Market and The Grove.
If you have questions along the way feel free to drop a comment here or email me, I’m happy to help! Oh and don’t forget to download a copy of my ‘Clean Home Guide’ that includes lots of chemical free cleaning solutions.