7 Household Items You Need to Stop Using Immediately
Chemicals and Toxins
We live in a world of convenience. Everything is easier. We have immediate access to information, immediate access to food and drinks, and access to new and exciting household supplies that make our lives so much easier. From disinfectant wipes, to body lotions, to dishwasher soap, we are able to clean, wipe, wash with ease. However, this comes with a price. Many of these items contain upwards of 50 ingredients, many of which are unpronounceable. As with most things, the easier it is to obtain the larger the repercussions in the long run. Sure that cheeseburger from your favorite fast food chain will fill you up, but we all know how we feel the next day. These foods are full of manufactured chemicals and toxins. Deep down we know these foods aren’t good for us, scientists and nutritionists have been telling us this for years. But what about the other household items that we don’t ingest? The list below is not complete, they were the first 7 items that came to mind. If you can think of any other items, leave a comment below.
Dryer Sheets: they smell great, the rid our clothes of static cling, what a great invention, right? Wrong. Have you ever looked at what is in these sheets? Hang on…we are going to get technical here: Benzyl Acetate; linked to pancreatic cancer. Benzyl Alcohol; a known upper respiratory tract irritant. Ethanol; linked to central nervous system disorders. Limonene; a known carcinogen. Chloroform; a neurotoxin.
When you use dryer sheets all of these chemicals cover our clothes and build up over time. Sustained exposure to these chemicals have known and reports harmful effects, and we are deliberately exposing our skin and lungs to these chemicals every day.
Simple Substitution: Our household stopped using dryer sheets and implemented Wool Dryer Balls with drops of lavender essential oil.
By far one the most convenient items in our house. They are just so easy. Grab one, wipe down any surface, and throw it away. “99.9% of germs have just been eliminated” Full disclosure: up until the minute I started researching for this article I was using these wipes….everyday. I had never even really looked at the packaging, but when I finally did, I stopped using them immediately. “Wash Hands after Use” was the phrase that stopped me in my tracks. So we wipe down the counters we use everyday, put food on, and put utensils that will go in our mouths on, but we should wash our hands after using them? To me that means they are not safe for use. The culprit is something known as the “Quats”, or quaternary ammonium compounds. Quats can be an entire article all on its own, so just take my word for it…steer clear of Quats whenever you can. Here is a link to a great article outlining Quats and how to avoid them. In addition to Quats, the wipes contain many chemicals that are known skin and eye irritants.
Simple Substitution: We have started using white vinegar with orange peel extract. We save the rind from 3-4 oranges. Soak them in white vinegar for about 2 weeks, then use this solution diluted with water and a reusable wash rag for all of our cleaning needs.
Oh the convenience of the dishwasher. Rinse the dish, set it in there until its full, run it…and repeat. This was one of the products that I have alway been wary of. All of our dishes get covered in whatever the companies decide to put in this product. Then our food gets covered in it, then we ingest it. It’s easy to overlook this one because of the convenience of using the dishwasher, but how long does washing those dishes really take. And we all know we are going to let that really dirty pan just soak overnight anyway. What exactly is in dishwasher detergent? Just to name a few, dishwasher detergents contains: Phosphates; known to be hazardous to consume and can deplete blood cells of oxygen. Triclosan; known to disrupt endocrine and thyroid function. Fragrance: a general term for “chemicals”, there is minimal regulation on what chemicals can be used for fragrances. Formaldayde; a known carcinogen. Formaldehyde may be hidden by using the terms: Methanol, Methyl Aldehyde, Methylene Oxide. Ammonia; known the be extremely toxic upon consumption.
Simple Substitution: If you still want to use store bought detergent make sure you are using “Fragrance Free” products. There are some DIY washer detergents you can try that utilize baking soap, salt and lemons. I would suggest starting with 7th Generation Free and Clear soap. See if you can notice the difference. Or you could always hand wash your dishes with dish soap from 7th Generation Free and Clear soap.
Oh the smell and glow of candles. One of my favorite things, especially in the winter, is to sit in the comfort of our home with candles burning. There is just something soothing about the warm glow that candles give off. But what else are they giving off? Most candles are made out of paraffin wax. When paraffin is burned it gives off numerous chemicals that are categorized as Volatile Organic Compounds. VOC’s include benzene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, xylene, and 1,3-butadiene. These are known carcinogens and have a links to vital organ damage. Something that is not as common anymore, but you should still be aware of, is wicks that contain lead.
Simple Substitutes: The most efficient is to ditch the candles completely and diffuse essential oils and utilize a Himalayan salt lamp. If you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of candles completely make are they are soy or beeswax candles with 100% cotton wicks.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
This is a more specific product, but after researching what was in it, I couldn’t leave it off my list. We sit on the toilet everyday. There is no way around it. Whatever is on the seat gets transferred to our skin, and whatever is in the bowl (when flushed) gets airborne and into our lungs. Right on the packaging it states “Hazardous to humans and domestic animals”. What more needs to be said? What makes it so hazardous? It contains Triclosan; as mentioned above this is an endocrine and thyroid disrupting agent. Chlorine; a known thyroid disrupting agent.
Simple Substitution: A simple substitution is the vinegar and orange mix mentioned before. This is a great solution for all of your bathroom cleaning needs.
This is a tough one to write about, especially this time of year. Cold weather leads to dry skin. Dry Skin leads to using lotion. Try to count the number of lotion commercials you see in the course of one hour. So many benefits is such a little package, right? Wrong.
Every time you spray that air freshener and enjoy that delightful aroma just remember you aren’t actually smelling a flowery meadow or fresh mountain air. Air fresheners emit over 100 different chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (terpenes such as limonene, alpha-pinene, and beta-pinene; terpenoids such as linalool and alpha-terpineol; ethanol, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xylene) and semi-volatile organic compounds (such as phthalates).
When a chemical is emitted into the air it doesn’t just float there unaffected; chemical reactions can occur, and the results can be devastating. Air freshener emissions can also react with indoor oxidants, such as ozone (O3), hydroxyl radicals (OH), and nitrate radicals (NO3), to generate a range of oxidation products. For instance, primary emissions such as terpenes can readily react with ozone to generate secondary pollutants such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, glycol ethers, free radicals (such as hydroperoxy and alkyl peroxy radicals), and ultrafine particles. Factors that influence emissions of secondary pollutants include ingredient composition, ingredient concentrations, reactive chemistry, and product usage.
A simple substation for air fresheners is to diffuse essential oils. We use Doterra essential oils. Doterra is a completely natural essential oil company that does not use any fillers nor does it dilute any of their oils. Pickup a diffuser at Target, Walmart, or Amazon for under $15.
As I mentioned before, I know this list is incomplete but I hope you use it as a guide to a healthier household. Please comment below with any questions or suggestions you may have.