Myth: Cleaning products are clean.

Truth: Commonly-used traditional cleaning products contain many harmful ingredients.

You might be concerned about the toxins you come into contact with outside of your home, such as cigarette smoke, pollutants from nearby factories or the pesticides in food, but have you ever stopped to think about the chemicals and contaminants you are exposed to everyday in your household? An alarming number of carcinogens to asthmagens can be found in traditional household products like hand soap, multipurpose cleaner, air fresheners and laundry detergents. Even those cleaning products that claim to be safe are often laden with toxins as well.

The human body has to process every chemical substrate from the food you eat to the air you breathe. When we are exposed to toxins, either through consumption, inhalation, or absorption through our skin, our body begins to try to defend against and dispose of the harmful substance through detoxification. Although the body’s detoxification systems – the liver and GI tract, kidneys, and skin – are designed to handle the body’s toxic burden, long-term chronic exposure to toxins can lead to hormone disruption, organ system toxicity, cancer, and chronic illness and disease.

If you aren’t already using or in transition to toxin-free products and you are interested in learning more, refer to the Environmental Working Group’s website for a breadth of helpful resources and to be absolutely certain of the safety of your household items. What’s more, a proper green cleaning routine is also often more cost-effective than traditional cleaning supplies as most of your cleaning needs can be achieved with ingredients you may already have at home, such as baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and hot water.

Here are some tips for reducing the toxic burden in your home:

  • Simplify your cleaning routine to eliminate unnecessary toxic products.
  • Consider making your own simple cleaning solutions – not only are they less toxic, but can also save you money!
  • Only use the products as strong as you need for the job and consider using a mask and gloves if strong cleaning products are necessary
  • Ventilate your home when cleaning
  • Incorporate live broad green leaf plants to assist in filtering the air in your home
  • Use baking soda to remove stubborn smells from your carpet rather than the toxic alternative
  • Use wool dryer balls in place of toxic dryer sheets
  • Replace conventional air fresheners with the use of essential oil diffusers or bamboo stick essential oil
  • Choose green-certified cleaning products certified by Green Seal or Ecologo. You can search your products on the EWG website to determine if they are verified.
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