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Women with cleaning suppliesIt may be surprising to some that many of our household products that we cannot imagine life without contain harmful toxic chemicals. Often times we put our trust in the companies or the government to protect us from ingredients that would be harmful, but unfortunately this is not reality.

These harmful chemicals are added to various products to perform the job intended, to preserve the product to extend the shelf life or to provide scents that are appealing. Some of these chemicals are disclosed in the ingredients list and others are hidden in the overarching “fragrance” category that can be listed.

The Environmental Working Group, who focuses on identifying what is in products we use today and rates the toxicity to help educate consumers states:

When you see “fragrance” on a personal care product’s label, read it as “hidden chemicals.” A major loophole in FDA’s federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name “fragrance” without actually listing the chemical.

The same kinds of chemicals are often used for fragrances in cleaning products, scented candles, and air fresheners.

Here a few simple ways to remove chemicals in your home by replacing products loaded with synthetic chemicals with natural alternatives that work just as well or even (gasp) better.

Laundry Room

1. When purchasing cleaning products look for ones that are fragrance free to instantly reduce your toxic load. A few products that would initially be impacted by this is laundry detergent or any cleaning product. Otherwise look to replace with a natural product to avoid any unnecessary exposure to chemicals.

2. Stop using liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets, which are laden with chemicals to create the fragrance residue that is left behind on clothing. I used to love having “fresh” smelling laundry and clothes, until I realized all I was inhaling was some sort of chemical concoction that was developed for the product. Make the easy switch to wool dryer balls that fluff items in the dryer and quicken drying time.

Another great thing about wool dryer balls is that they are good for the environment and the wallet. This is because they are reusable so you do not need to waste money on items that you pour out or throw away that gets put in a landfill.

Air Purification and Scent

3. Other products to consider removing from the home would be candles, which contain mostly synthetic chemicals for the fragrance. There are some natural versions that can be purchased if this is a product you cannot live without, but be sure to do your research before purchasing. Or try using a diffuser with essential oils to scent a room, as well as obtain therapeutic benefits that they offer.

4. Many air freshener products, ranging from free standing to spray to plug in, are full of harmful chemicals. To purify the air and even scent there are number of natural alternatives. To purify and refresh the air try Himalayan salt lamps, charcoal bags, houseplants or essential oils. To scent the air use your favorite essential oils in a room spray or a diffuser.

Floors

Mop, broom and dust pan

5. Instead of cleaning tile and laminate flooring with mops that use a cleaning solution mixed with water in buckets or a spray mop, that both use chemicals that leave a residue to clean and scent your floors, try using a steam mop. The steam works to disinfect as you clean and the mop pad picks up the dirt and food particles that are stuck on the floor.

Or try a Norwex mop or e-cloth mop to clean your floors with just water. Just rinse the pad, wring out the water and attach to the mop. The mops contain a high quality microfiber that works to suck in and trap dirt, bacteria and germs.

Windows

6. Traditional window cleaners are some of the worst toxic loaded home cleaners. I grew up using this and have always hated cleaning windows and mirrors because no matter what I did there always seemed to be some sort of smudge across the surface. Replace this product with a more natural version or just use water with a high quality microfiber window cloth to easily remove these toxins from your home.

All or Multi-Purpose Surface Cleaners

Do Not Use Chemical Cleaners

7. Use natural products to replace your toxic cleaning products that you are currently using on various surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen, utility room, living room, dining room and bedrooms. Thankfully, there are many companies developing various options. Labels can be misleading, so look for products that have been certified as meeting green standards, specifically look for the Green Seal, EWG Verified or EcoLogo. 

There are multiple ways to use white or apple cider vinegar as an all natural disinfectant. I used this on all my kid’s baby toys prior to learning about high quality microfiber cloths and what they can do. I figured I could disinfect and when the baby puts items in their mouth at least it is was cleaned with an edible item, and not a bunch of synthetic chemicals.

Also, baking soda is another natural product that has a plethora of cleaning uses. It is extremely helpful when needing some scouring power to scrub away a stuck on mess.

Make and use your own natural cleaning products. Essential oils can be used in cleaning products for their disinfecting properties. They also bring a pleasant scent with them to the job that is being done. Check out my 12 Easy Ways to Start Using Essential Oils post for some cleaning ideas and recipes.

High quality microfiber is another great cleaning option. These clothes are able to wipe up and clean minuscule particles from our surfaces. They are versatile and safe to use on countertops, walls, carpet, couches, ect. The tiny microfiber threads work to pick up and absorb bacteria, germs and dirt to give you a 99% clean surface (comparable or even better than your traditional chemical filled cleaning products)!

Conclusion

We are all looking to live a longer, healthier life and removing chemicals from the home is a huge step in this direction. At first it might seem challenging to reduce the toxic load in the home, however there are some simple switches that can greatly impact our home environment.

Some of these “swaps” are relatively inexpensive while others might cost a little more up front, but overall savings are experienced with the multiple uses out of the items since you are no longer consuming a harmful cleaning product. Making one or more of these changes will help you improve your overall wellness with long lasting benefits.

What changes have you made to reduce chemicals in the home? Was it easy to make this change and stick with it? Let us know in the comments.

Disclaimer: For informational and educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a health concern, a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking any medication please consult your healthcare provider.