When I first began realizing the toxins that surrounded me daily in my home, I felt almost defeated before I could even think about starting to make changes.
The shift seemed insurmountable. This was about 20 years ago. There was just enough information at that time to scare the sh*t out of you, but not a lot of direction on exactly what to do. It was trial and error. Testing different products. Figuring out what worked for me and what didn’t.
It turns out, for me, the super crunchy products with tons of botanicals caused more skin irritation than the non-clean options. Who knew?
Lucky for you, times have changed and it’s easier than ever to source non-toxic options than ever. In fact, “clean” is SO popular now the struggle is in making sure that the non-toxic home options you choose aren’t just another marketing gimmick also known as “green washed”.
That’s why I wanted to share some finds that personally have worked for me. In full transparency, I have learned that I personally sometimes do better with clean options but not always the ultra- clean options.The processing and manufacturing of the product makes a difference for my skin!
Ultimately, your journey really comes down to you, your body, and what works for you. Hopefully this guide offers food for thought and some great starting points to consider when making steps towards a healthier, non-toxic home!
The following are opinions and personal recommendations based on time of publishing. Always do your research on products and ingredients to learn what will work for you. As companies and manufacturing change, so do ingredients. Make sure to speak to your doctor and health team first about what is best for your optimal health before making any lifestyle or product changes.
A Note on Ingredients
When in doubt, check the ingredients! Companies and manufacturing are constantly changing but once you know the top ingredients to be aware of you can do your own digging and get clearer about what is best for you and your lifestyle. For me, I’ve learned that not only do the ingredients impact my health, but also certain botanicals and fragrances.
Fragrance is one area that is easy to overlook. There can be a lot of hidden or unknown synthetic materials hidden under the term ‘fragrance” that can trigger a range of health issues.
Before we get further into tips for non-toxic living, here is a quick list of toxins for you to keep an eye out for:
Ingredients Toxic to you:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate (SLS & SLES)—Irritate the eyes and can cause inflammation for sensitive skin and lungs
- Phthalate—Damages the liver, kidneys, and lungs
- Phosphates—Harms the cardiovascular system
- Methylisothiazolinone—Harmful to the eyes and causes dermal irritation
- Formaldehyde—Irritates throat and eyes
- Parabens—Negatively affects hormone function
- 1,4-dioxane—Carcinogenic and causes skin, eye, and lung inflammation
- Synthetic fragrances—Carcinogenic and triggers allergies
- Surfactants—Cause skin irritation, affect enzymes, and damage the body’s normal functioning
Ingredients toxic to the environment:
These are non-biodegradable ingredients, so they become hazardous to aquatic life when they are disposed of in the water system. Moreover, they are not safe for septic and grey water.
- Surfactants—Toxic effects on aquatic ecosystems
- Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE)—Highly toxic to aquatic life
- Dyes and optical brighteners—Not biodegradable, hazardous to aquatic life
*A quick resource while you are out living your best life is Clearya.com you can grab the app or chrome extension and look up all your favorite products, or new products you want to learn about to scope the chemical ratings!
Hidden ingredients, fragrances, neurotoxins. When you think about what you are absorbing into your skin from the detergents that you use for your clothes, bedding, and household items it can be surprising. Take a look at these great options for clean laundry:
Candles + Fragrance
With all the debate, misinformation, and green packaging around our favorite candles and fragrance, the question is what’s healthiest for us?
The answer is it depends. It depends on your personal health, environment, sensitivities, current needs (as our needs change and evolve).
Overall, fragrance is something I love. So for me, breaking up with popular perfumes and scented candles was hard! It still is. Sensitivities also can arise from burning of the materials on incense and even our favorite clearing sage.
When something is burning, the question or awareness should focus on what materials are actually filling the air/environment and what is that likely to do to my body.
Side Note, yes I do still use sage, palo alto, and incense but I no longer do this daily as it was too much smoke for my lungs to process in the house. I also make certain of what ingredients are in my incense.
So many people have had to work really hard for their health and wellness, and still also still burn toxic candles. Fragrances in our candles and perfumes can be a cocktail of up to 100 different chemicals. Those chemically derived beautiful smells also can create off gassing. So, depending on what chemical components are used, this off-gassing can become a neurotoxin to your system. These fragrances could actually act as a toxic shutdown for your brain function and a fertility disruptor as well.
What’s the solution? Opt for products with ingredient (preferably non-toxic) transparency, so you can make the best decision for you and your health.
Here are a few of my personal favorites for Candles & Fragrance:
In a world where greenwashing is the new cool, cleaning products can appear non-toxic while actually hiding some serious toxins.
Note: These are my favorites, but without doubt there are cleaner, greener options. Your needs and skin will definitely help you navigate which are best for you!
My Favorite DIY Cleaner (great for mildew!) from Mary Darnell of @healingcavelady
In a glass or storage safe container, Add:
– 50 Drops of Onguard Essential Oil from Doterra
– 50 Drops of Abode Essential Oil from Doterra
– 2 Cups of Oxy Powder (I use Sprouts Oxygen Brightener)
– 2 Cups of Baking Soda
Sprinkle powder on grout, tiles, kitchen sinks, along with your favorite cleaner. Let this mix sit for 5-30 minutes before scrubbing. Rinse and scrub with clean water. Repeat if needed. Wear gloves and a mask if needed.
This is where it gets super tricky! Suppliers, manufacturers, product regulations all change constantly within this industry and much of the policies around what is and isn’t’ healthy in beauty products hasn’t been evaluated since the early 1900’s.
Personally I use products that are mostly completely clean, but with a few ingredients that aren’t allowed without restriction in Europe. Why not fully clean? I am constantly reevaluating my products and looking at what works best for me. When I first began my journey of detoxifying my life, there were either totally natural clean products that were very crunchy, granola, or super botanical based. This is great for some people, but for me the production and ingredients of these products caused more irritation for my skin than other more mainstream products.
On the flip side to this, there have been products that I’ve tried from major beauty brands that left me with serious eye rashes looking like a raccoon.
The production process, quality of ingredients, and integrity of a company are important when I am looking at my beauty products.
Here are a few of my favorite brands:
Ones I want to Try:
Air Vents + Dishwashers
Taking time to really clean out care for your air vents and dishwashers is a big one. Oftentimes when we overlook our vents there could be issues with mold or pests that if left unnoticed are major impact players to our health. Especially the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher. These are prime spots for mold and mildew.
Put it on the calendar to change out your vent filters monthly and take a peep around. For a deep cleaning, scrubbing, and inspection schedule to either do this yourself or hire a company.
Looking at your vents and all around your house for any sign of mildew and mold is a good place to start noticing toxins in your home and mitigating any issues before these become problematic for your health!
Standing at the top of a mountain glacier in the crisp Swiss Alps, taking in my daily hydration while the sun basks my face. This is what I think of when I am taking in my daily water intake. Getting my self-care in. Unfortunately, in order to really feel good about our water intake we have to consider a few points about our water toxins.
An average glass of tap water can host hundreds of toxins that deplete and disrupt your health. Toxins like metals, parasites, chlorine, flushed out antibiotics from people and animals, and much more. Yuckkk! That’s why in most cities, it’s really important to take additional steps. Steps like filters and purification systems.
Personally, I have found reverse osmosis with added minerals and restructuring to be my favorite option.
Here are a few others:
Keep in mind, as with everything else, types of water systems really depend on budget, production, physical needs (ex. I can’t drink alkaline water, my body is already pretty alkaline and it causes stomach cramps for me) and it’s important to take these points into consideration when you are shopping for solutions.
- Swapping products and changing your lifestyle is a process. Let it take the time it needs for what is right for you and your family. Try picking a single area in your life or home at a time and focus on detoxifying that area.
- Tune In. Check in along the way with how you are feeling physically, emotionally, or mentally. Our physical response, emotional response, or mental clarity are great check in points to test how different products or environments are affecting us.
- What is right for me may not be right for you. Different materials, processing, vibration, and production impact different people differently.
Here’s to your health and non-toxic next chapters ahead!