About a year ago, I received some disturbing test results indicating that my body was holding onto dangerous toxins instead of detoxing them. The realization that I had so many harmful chemicals and substances in my body was not only scary, it was life-changing!
I knew I wasn’t feeling my best. I was feeling rundown and had so many distressing ailments to simply list out here (you can view my symptoms here). On top of my symptoms, I was also having a really hard time losing weight despite eating healthy and exercising. What was going on?
Well, a piece to the puzzle was that my body was inundated with environmental chemicals that I somehow was being exposed to. I had to take inventory of all the things around my house that could be making me sick. This was a first for me!
I lived life without consciously thinking about what I was exposing my body to. Yes, I was like most people, I used products that were advertised on TV, easy to find in grocery stores, or that I had grown up using. I never questioned their safety. Why would I?
Burst That Bubble
But that bubble I was living in burst wide open when I learned that I needed to investigate my lifestyle in a major way. If I didn’t make some serious changes, my body would continue to struggle functioning at its best. Those toxins could even turn into the dreaded C word – CANCER.
This was a completely new adventure I was setting out on. I had to start from ground zero and learn my way through the process. And guess what? I am STILL learning. But I wanted to share what I know thus far and I hope that my experience will inspire you to make some healthy changes in your life too.
How to Make the Switch Room By Room
Let’s start with the areas of your house that need your attention:
The Laundry Room
I had been using an aromatic, blue laundry detergent that is quite popular on the shelves at major retail stores. You might be using it too! Right away from that description, you can identify two things that must go: the artificial fragrance and the dye. Those are major no nos.
Switch to a more eco-friendly detergent that meets the EWG’s standards. The two I use are ECOS liquid detergent and Thrive peppermint detergent. *For an extra boost of fragrance, add 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil into the washer.
Next, I was using scented dryer sheets. There it is again, artificial fragrance. Little did I know, dryer sheets are filled with chemicals that get into our clothes, vent into the air, and rub off on our skin. YUCK! These chemicals are endocrine disrupters (mimicking estrogen) and they have compounds that can trigger asthma and other allergies.
Evidence from studies shows that these chemicals can affect developing nervous and reproductive systems, metabolism, and cause cancer. YIKES!
So what can you do? You can switch to using wool dryer balls. They’re pretty cheap at your local Trader Joes, Walmart, or on Amazon. You could even make them!
Throw them in the dryer with your damp clothes on medium heat and ditch the dryer sheets! *To reduce static, attach a few safety pins to the wool balls and give a quick spritz of vinegar (don’t worry, the vinegar smell doesn’t stay on the clothes).
In the kitchen, you’ll want to safely dispose of any harsh chemical cleaners that you currently own. (Contact your local trash and recycling department to determine how to properly dispose of these products)
Bleach? Get rid of it! The best thing you can do is make your own cleaning products. I will be sharing a post on what I use next month, so SUBSCRIBE to stay updated on my new posts.
If you’re not quite the DIY type (don’t worry, I didn’t think I was either), you can find effective, non-toxic cleaning products on the market. You might want to try Seventh Generation or Branch Basics products to start. I really like Dr. Bronner products for cleaning.
Consider what you’re using for your dishwasher detergent, all purpose cleaner, hand and dish soaps, and mopping solution. It all matters!
Goodbye Chemicals, Hello Health
The key is to ditch the toxic chemicals. You want products that are not going to harm the environment OR your body. Even if you think you’re not getting these products in your body, you’d be surprised. These chemicals find their way to our water supplies, the air we breathe, and the ground we walk on. You are exposed.
After you’ve switched your cleaners, including dish detergent, next take a look at your dishes. Are you using plastic anywhere? I am still phasing-out my Tupperware containers and replacing them with glass only. It’s a process, but it’s well worth it!
What about your cups and plates? Are they plastic? Even BPA plastic isn’t the best for your health. Consider switching to glass or stainless steel. What about your utensils? Aim for bamboo, wood, or stainless steel if possible.
The key is to be observant and knowledgable of what chemicals make up what you’re using. If you don’t know, research it! If you still have doubts, my motto is: DOUBT = DITCH.
What foods are you eating? Mostly organic, I hope! If you can’t afford organic, consider using a non-toxic produce cleaner. I use one from Trader Joes and really like it. The key is to get the pesticides and other chemicals off of your food before you ingest it.
And finally, consider your water source. I was naive and didn’t realize I was drinking contaminated water because I used a commonly used carbon filter pitcher or I drank bottled water. (Ugh, not only is drinking bottled water wasteful and harmful because of the plastic, but the water isn’t even guaranteed to be pure.)
Please consider investing in a Berkey filtration system so that you’re drinking and cooking with purified water that you can trust.
The Berkey has made such a difference for me, personally!
Okay the bathroom is a fun one, actually! Things to think about replacing are: soaps, hair products, shower heads, cleaners, toothpastes, and beauty products. I have switched my bath and hand soaps to gentler EWG certified varieties. I love the Everyone brand for both!!
When it comes to shampoos and conditioners, there are actually a lot out there to try. What works for my hair might not work for yours, so it’s best to research non-toxic brands and try them out! I am currently using Shea Moisture.
For toothpaste, you want to get rid of toothpastes with dyes and artificial flavoring. Aim for baking soda based with essential oil flavoring. You also do not need the “cavity fighting” fluoride (get rid of heavy metals at all costs!) Right now I’m using Dr. Bronner’s All-in-One toothpaste.
Shower heads are an important part of the bathroom to address because if you’re exposing your skin to toxic water (like I was unknowingly), that’s a major problem! Your skin absorbs the water you bathe in, so make sure it’s pure! I highly recommend the Berkey shower filter.
You Want Things Clean, Not Toxic
Now it’s time to seriously trash your skin care and make up products!
The vast majority of conventional products are toxic! Start fresh and do your body good by choosing non-toxic varieties. Right now I am loving Mineral Fusion for my make up (especially their volumizing mascara).
The same rules apply for skin care products including deodorant. If it has synthetic fragrance of any kind, get rid of it! I have been using Primal Pit Paste for months with no complaints!
Next, check out your product on the Skin Deep database to determine its toxicity rating.
And finally, just like in your kitchen, replace your bathroom cleaning products with non-toxic ones. Vinegar and baking soda are natural agents that do wonders at cleaning bathroom surfaces, FYI. Check out my post next month for my DIY cleaner recipes.
General Living Spaces
Last but not least, consider what toxins might be lurking in your living spaces. Are you using candles? Guess what? They’re probably toxic.
Many candles have chemicals in them and if they’re fragranced with anything but essential oils, you know the answer….TOXIC. Consider buying soy or beeswax candles if you MUST have candles. Otherwise, I would highly recommend diffusing essential oils instead. (Not all essential oils are alike. I prefer the Young Living brand for their seed to seal promise. They are high quality and pure. If you want to try some YL oils, let me know and I can share how I got started)
The same goes for air fresheners. PLEASE, toss those out immediately. Air fresheners contain phthalates and other harmful chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, propellants, solvents, etc.
Get this…scientists studied a plug-in air freshener and learned it contained 20 volatile organic compounds with more than 1/3 classified as toxic or hazardous. Bottom line? Get rid of them.
The Adventure Continues
So as I continue down the path of switching from toxic to non-toxic, I will be addressing my mattresses and bedding in the future. I look forward to researching organic, chemical-free brands and sharing them with you.
Hopefully you’re like me…you like a good challenge but not TOO big of one. Switching to a non-toxic lifestyle has actually been fun for me. It’s an adventure with amazing benefits.
I don’t consider myself a very creative, DIY-type of girl, but I have actually enjoyed making my own household cleaners. It has been a learning process that I have thoroughly enjoyed and get so excited to share with others.
Feel Your Best By Making a Few Changes
Please let this article encourage you to make some healthy changes in your house. You deserve to feel your best, so please consider stepping out of your comfort zone and taking steps towards a chemical-free life! Please feel free to share some comments on how you’re making the shift, I’d love to hear!
* Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.
Please understand that I recommend products because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.
Thank you for supporting me and this blog!