Becoming a toxin-free home is a big ask. That’s because there are so many sources in a typical home that can be giving off toxic fumes and vapors that are polluting your family’s air quality.
These can be coming from places like your wall paint, your furniture, your mattresses, and even your flooring. So let me be clear here: removing all the toxins in your home is a major feat and would potentially take the time and money most of us don’t have.
Therefore, this post is all about those baby steps and doing the things you can change very easily. I also want to be clear that this post is not focused on being green AKA environmentally friendly, though, many of these changes will do just that.
These baby steps are all about getting the toxic, scary stuff out of your house and far away from your family.
My family has been on a journey to getting those chemicals and toxins out of our home for a couple of years. Here’s our story. We went really slowly because I was doing my research and learning all along the way.
Why Have a Toxin-Free Home in the First Place?
It’s really sad and shameful how many harmful chemicals are still allowed by the FDA to be in our foods, drinks, personal care products, and other stuff like food containers and even baby products.
Many of these chemicals and toxins are extremely dangerous to you and your family. They come in the form of endocrine disruptors, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), pesticides, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), Dioxins, and heavy metals.
And they’re lurking in every corner of your home. Sitting on your countertops, hiding in your infant’s baby products, in your pantry, and inside your shower.
This isn’t about scaring you into change… it’s about sharing you into change. A LOT of people simply don’t know about this because it’s honestly overwhelming. But we must be and stay informed of our family’s health and well being.
You wouldn’t let your kids eat a total diet of fast food, treats
But did you know that 90% of cancers are not caused by hereditary genetics but are actually directly caused by our
“Genes give us the gun, but environment pulls the trigger,” says internationally acclaimed scientist and writer Dr. Devra DavisSource
Prevention and knowledge is our greatest weapon in fighting against these largely preventable diseases and conditions.
So for these baby steps, we’re going to start in the places that work like basic swaps… swapping something harmful for something much safer. Most steps don’t involve you buying new things you don’t already have in your home.
Step One – Swap out Plastic Food C
Most plastic food containers and plastic wrap are made with highly toxic chemicals such as that can leach into your food when storing or heating up food in a plastic container.
These chemicals (many are endocrine disruptors) are especially harmful in young children leading to the American Academy of Pediatrics urging parents to eliminate the use of these plastic products immediately.
There are companies who are producing safer plastics like these food storage containers but switching to glass containers like these where ever possible is the best way to protect your family from unnecessary exposure.
Step Two – Swap out Cleaners
This step right here is a no-brainer! Not only are toxic cleaners a hazard to your children in the case of accidental ingestion, but
Studies show that even brief exposure of just once per week can damage a person’s lungs to the equalient of a long term smoker who smokes a pack a day! That’s eye-opening for sure.
I now can clean freely around my kids without needing them to clear the bathroom when I’m scrubbing the tub. And the best part is, my kids actually clean the whole house with me without me feeling nervous about cleaners getting on their hands!
Here are the amazing, all-natural products my family uses and loves. They are surprisingly more effective than my old cleaners and they get shipped right to my house for no additional cost!
Step Three – Get air-cleaning house plants
Remember when I mentioned how our paints, flooring, kitchen cabinets, and furniture can be releasing toxic fumes into our homes?
Well, it’s crazy expensive to gut your whole house and rebuy all new furniture. So buying natural air-cleaning house plants is a simple and pretty way to clean your home’s air naturally!
Nasa did their own study to find ways to clean the air in space stations. What they found was several species of plants actually filtered out the following toxins from the air: benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia.
Here is a link to that study which includes a very helpful graphic to help you buy the best plants for your family!
Step 4 – Use natural ways to freshen your home
No one wants a stinky house. Having fresh and invigorating scents wafting through your home is not only pleasant but it’s good for your health. Seriously, this study shows how the right natural scents have been used to heal the mind and body for thousands of years!
There’s only one problem here… choosing the right delivery system for those amazing smells. Choosing the wrong one can release toxic chemicals into your family’s air and into your children’s lungs.
Most of us know by now that using spray cans with scents like fresh rain and blossoming spring is a poor and artificial method for scenting your home, leading to a greater risk of asthma and even cancer. Oh, it’s not just the sprays but aerosols, plug-ins, gels, and incense sticks are also toxic.
But what many people don’t how is how burning scented candles is potentially dangerous as well. There have been many studies done and much debate surrounding how damaging they really are, but there is certainly grounds for using with an abundance of caution.
Other natural and safe ways to freshen your home is to use essential oils in a diffuser, simmer a pot of orange slices and cinnamon, or make your own essential oil room spray. We also use a naturally formulated vanilla room spray that we love!
Step 5 – Ditch the Aluminum Foil
There is a tremendous amount of debate on whether or not using aluminum foil is safe or not. Here is one article that shows it’s potential dangers. And there are many that say it’s perfectly safe.
I simply decided since Alzheimer’s disease is linked with increased levels of aluminum to make the switch and honestly, this is an easy one. It always seemed like I was out of foil when I needed it anyway!
Step 6 – Swap out toxic bath products
This is such as easy swap and one that is an urgent one. There are simply too many proven to be dangerous and carcinogenic ingredients hiding right in our body washes, shampoos, and lotions just to name a few.
The worst part is children and infant products are not off limits. Many hugely popular baby products contain higher than recommended levels of formaldehyde and dioxane (both known carcinogens) among other toxins.
Many of these brands are Baby Magic, Johnson and Johnson, and Huggies. I’ve avoided these brands all together for over a decade so use with caution. Much of the problem with all personal care products is the use of fragrance.
This also goes for seemingly natural or green looking products. If there’s fragrance on the label, there’s no way to tell for sure. And many of these natural and organic companies are actually owned by bigger companies. For example, Burt’s Bees is actually owned by Clorox and Beauty and Planet is owned by Unilever!
To be sure, stick with bath products that are unscented and also don’t contain these other ingredients: parabens, synthetic colors, phthalates,
Our family uses natural and non-toxic bath products that are naturally scented with essential oils. Check them out here!
Step 7 – Swap out your oral care products
At this point I know I’m sounding like a broken record but sadly many of the same chemicals listed above are also lurking in your toothpaste and mouthwash. And that goes for your kid’s products too.
And this is especially dangerous because your mouth is highly absorbent thus giving these toxins a quick shot into your bloodstream.
You can make your own toothpaste but this can be hard to get used to, especially for kids. You can use a natural toothpaste that doesn’t contain toxins. These also cost a bit more than traditional toothpaste and you’ll also need to get used to these too.
Here are a few trusted brands to try out for yourself:
Step 8 – Swap Out your Dish Soap & Detergent
Just like the last 2 steps, your dish soap and detergent contain many of the same harmful ingredients like formaldehyde,
Now we use a natural and highly effective dish soap we love without all the bad stuff included. This also goes for the dishwasher pods. The traditional ones can be highly toxic and can leave microscopic particles after the rinse cycle!
Here are two other choices for natural dish soaps that I don’t use personally but come highly recommended. Yaya’s Maria’s Dish Soap and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap which can be used for many other uses like hand soap and baby wash.
Step 9 – Buy organic When Possible and Use a Natural Produc Wash
Many of the pesticides that get sprayed on the fruits and veggies we feed our families are very harmful. Some of the pesticides, like other toxins mentioned in this post, are actually banned in other countries but allowed here in the US.
The only sure-fire way to prevent or greatly reduce your family’s exposure is to buy only organic, grow your own produce in your garden, or buy your produc through a local organic co-op.
However, organic foods are definitely more expensive so there are ways to reduce your costs
Also, no matter what type of produce you do buy, always use a natural produce wash to remove waxes and any other pesticides. This is a great one to try!
Step 10 – Always Wash New Clothes and Bedding Before Use
Clothes and bedding are both sprayed with tons of chemicals and preserving agents to retain colors and prevent wrinkles while in transport.
This alone is good enough reason to wash your new clothes and bedding before wearing or putting on your bed. These chemicals include formaldehyde (known carcinogen) and other agents that can be irritants to people with sensitive skin.
Even if you can’t resist wearing that new crisp blouse without washing first (guilty!) it’s strongly recommended that you at least wash your baby’s and children’s clothes before putting away in the closet.
Step 11 – Clean Your Laundry Routine
Laundry detergent and dryer sheets are ironically some of the “dirtiest” products in a typical home. They are laden with toxic chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium
Not only do these chemicals pose a health hazard to our environment and water supply
These chemicals known as
In addition to your regular detergent, those dryer sheets are just as if not more toxic! And the biggest culprit is the thing we love most about dryer sheets – the fragrance!
To avoid potentially poisoning your family but still achieving soft and fresh smelling laundry try using wool dryer balls. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils and you can safely soften your family’s laundry!
Here’s a post to show you how to make your own DIY dryer sheets. I haven’t tried this, but it looks interesting.
My family’s favorite laundry detergent and softener is totally safe and smells amazing! Check it out here!
Step 12 – Drink Filtered Water Over Bottled
Bottled water can be toxic when the chemicals within the plastic bottles leach into your water. Even if manufacturers don’t use BPA plastic there are still traces of other chemicals that are known endocrine disrupters AKA hormone disrupters.
These chemicals become especially dangerous when bottles sit for
Not to mention that water bottles are contributing greatly to our landfills whether or not they are recyclable. And finally, buying bottled water is more costly than drinking your own filtered water.
Here’s a tip, if you feel like the water that comes from your refrigerator doesn’t taste good, try replacing your filter. And be sure to buy the recommended brand filter. We tried to save money with a generic substitute filter and our water tasted weird. When we switched back, our water tasted normal again!
Step 13 – Don’t Spray Pest Chemicals
Finally, in the last step be aware of hiring pest exterminators to spray for bugs in your home. Even if they claim to be natural they most likely are not. If you do decide to hire a natural pest company, do your research!
I remember years ago when we lived in an older townhouse and my first daughter was just a baby, we had a problem with bugs finding their way inside. We live in Florida and there are pests everywhere.
I freaked out and hired an exterminator to come out and spray. I actually continued to have several different companies spray for bugs periodically over the years. I always felt nervous because it was the same thing every time.
The technician would come in and spray their pesticides everywhere: in my baby’s nursery, in the kitchen, living room floor… everywhere. I even had one guy brag that he always sprays “extra” for his clients to keep the bugs away!
No thank you. I don’t want any more of that toxic mess poisoning my home. Use these natural methods to reduce harmful exposure to toxins. And only hire a pest control company in extreme cases, not for regular maintenance.
Don’t Be Greenwashed
Greenwashing began in the 80’s and is steadily increasing as the consumer demand for more eco-friendly and natural products increases. This is basically when a company applies more of their money and resources to “appear” as a green and natural company than they actually are in reality.
This happens in big business with large manufacturers like oil companies spending countless money on advertisements to paint a green image for consumers.
It also happens on store shelves with natural companies who are often owned by larger “non-green” companies labeling their products as plant-based, naturally derived, and eco-friendly. But just because a product is packaged with a leaf on it front doesn’t mean you can trust it as such.
Remember to always read labels and buy products that don’t contain fragrance whenever possible. You can always add a couple drops of essential oil to naturally scent many of your products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash.
Plus, adding essential oils like Frankincense or Lavender actually have skin health-boosting properties! Learn more about essential oils here!
Don’t get discouraged by this list. I know it seems like this is all doom and gloom. But ignorance isn’t really bliss at all. We’re talking about your health and the health and wellbeing of your precious family.
Remember these are baby steps and though you’re not buying anything you don’t already buy, you are buying newer supplies… possibly before your old stuff is empty!
No one’s judging you if you decide to wait till your bottles