here are the 10 things you should ditch right now, for a healthier home!
Okay – maybe not RIGHT NOW. But soon.
I’ve been sharing for a while now about our family’s quest to replace as many toxic/chemical-laden products from our home, with clean, effective and NICE SMELLING alternatives.
And I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of the top ten items that should be the first to go. Because once you know, you KNOW. And the desire to throw out everything in your house at once can be overwhelming, but few of us are in that position. So start with one or two. Or pick one area at a time to tackle (kitchen? bathroom? laundry?). I used to think that if I couldn’t replace everything then why bother? What good would I be doing if I was still using SOME toxic items?
Well you’d be doing a lot of good. Every toxic item you ditch right now is one less toxic item in your home. In the air you breathe. On your skin. In your lungs. You get it.
This post will hopefully inspire you to take a more critical look at the products you’re currently using. If you’re unsure about a product’s level of safety/toxicity, you can either download the Think Dirty app (which has a UPC scanner that you can use right on your items) and the EWG site. I also highly recommend the documentary “Stink” on Netflix. It clearly and compellingly explains why “fragrance” is probably the #1 ingredient to avoid completely. And it’s in EVERYTHING.
Let’s dive in!
Household cleaner – this is a big one, so much so that I devoted a whole post to why I ditched all of our cleaning products and use Thieves Household Cleaner to clean every single surface in our house. Thieves Cleaner is created with naturally occurring surfactants derived from coconut and sugars. There is no chemical residue left behind and it is completely toxin-free. It is infused with essential oils so you are actually enhancing your health while you clean your house! And OMG it smells amazing. One bottle costs $22, makes (29) 16-ounce bottles of cleaner, and costs about $.06/ounce.
Laundry detergent – probably one of the best places to start if you’re looking to create a more non-toxic household. Clothing, sheets, and towels come in direct and constant contact with your skin, which is the largest organ in your body. The chemicals from the detergent you use pass right through your skin and into your bloodstream without any filter. Laundry detergents contain hormone-disrupting fragrance and fragrance binders (to make that scent last and last) that wreck havoc on your cellular makeup and confuse your endocrine system. So basically if your laundry comes out smelling like ANYTHING, there is a fragrance binder in the detergent. I love Young Living’s Laundry Detergent, but it is also VERY easy (and cheap!) to make your own.
Hand soap – washing your hands much these days? SAME. Turn the bottle over and read the ingredients. It probably contains fragrance, and if it does then you basically have no idea what’s in it. That’s because fragrances are considered trade-secret, so manufacturers are not required to disclose specific fragrance ingredients on the product label. So that one term can represent a mixture of potentially dozens of chemicals – that you will never know are in that product. Switch to a plant-based soap or make your own.
Dryer sheets – we replaced dryer sheets with wool dryer balls long before I started using essential oils. And no one loved her dryer sheets more than I did. BUT. They are unbelievably harmful – as much if not more than many cleaning products. Dryer sheets contain harmful chemicals that cling to your clothes, vent into the air and rub onto your skin. These chemicals can actually trigger asthma and disrupt hormones, thanks to the endocrine disrupting compounds they emit. Again, this is due to the high amount of fragrance added to most dryer sheets. Wool dryer balls are easy to use, highly economical and can be just as fragrant as those sheets. Simply place a few drops of essential oils (I love lavender, lemongrass and eucalyptus) on each ball.
Scented candles – I know. SUCH a bummer. But scented candles are bad news for a number of reasons. First, anything that releases smoke decreases the air quality around it. Now think about all the extra ingredients – like FRAGRANCE – added to scented candles. Particulate matter released from candles is so tiny that the particles can get deep into your lungs and cause respiratory problems. Here’s a good read if you want to know more. But there’s good news – you can diffuse instead! Diffusing has beautifully replaced scented candles, and depending on the blend I use can actually IMPROVE my environment rather than negatively impact it.
Dish soap – here’s what’s in most dish soaps: phosphates, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate – the ingredient that makes soaps foamy and bubbly), fragrance, chlorine, formaldehyde, ammonia. IN YOUR DISH SOAP!! So you wash a dirty dish and then coat it with chemicals. I LOVE Thieves dish soap, whose label reads “if consumed, drink water”. That’s because it is a food grade cleaner – which makes sense if you think about it. I pour half the bottle into a pump bottle (storing the rest for later), add 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 5 drops of lemon oil and fill the rest with water. It lasts a VERY long time.
Toothpaste – this was shocking to me, especially when I realized that this is something I put it in my mouth twice a day, every day. But many toothpastes contain titanium dioxide, triclosan (which has been banned from soaps but is still allowed in toothpaste), SLS, parabens, saccharine and artificial coloring. I will admit that it took a bit of getting used to Thieves toothpaste, as I was so accustomed to that foaming texture (thanks to SLS!). But now I love it, and I add a drop of Orange oil to safely and naturally whiten my teeth.
Air freshener – you’re getting the drill now, aren’t you. A study by the University of California at Berkeley found that when used excessively, or in unventilated area, air fresheners release toxic levels of pollutants. So ditch the Febreze and those plug-ins, and diffuse instead. Even better, make an easy and utterly delightful room spray, and put a bottle in the kitchen and bathrooms.
Body wash – for years I gave more thought to what I put in my mouth than on my skin. Yet skin covers up to 20 square feet of our bodies and is a living, breathing organ. It’s also our body’s first line of defense against harmful substances, but can also absorb them – allowing them to lodge into our cells, tissues and muscles, eventually compromising our entire immune system. Common chemicals in body washes and soaps include benzaldehyde, SLS, ethanol (on the EPA’s hazardous waste list!), linalool and of course, fragrance. Using a plant-based soap (I’m in love with the charcoal bar soap) that is infused with essential oils is not only completely free of these nefarious chemicals, they can improve your skin, relax your mood and relieve tension. And they don’t harm the environment when they go down the drain!
Bug spray – summer is coming – and with it, the bugs. We know we should avoid DEET and other pesticides, but how do we keep those pesty pests away? Citronella is an essential oil and can be safely used in an outdoor diffuser. I will also be sharing a post soon for an all-natural bug spray, that smells great and doesn’t have to be washed off your skin the minute you go back indoors.
This was A LOT, I know. But as I said in the beginning, tackle one item or area in your home at a time. It will feel so much more manageable and you will feel SO MUCH more empowered when you take charge of what you bring into your household. We’re spending a lot more time at home these days; shouldn’t it be the safest, cleanest, best smelling home you can make it?
Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. If you are currently on medication, please do not stop.