I first became interested in chemicals in the home, when I realised the association between a flare up of eczema for Scarlett and redecorating her bedroom and chlorine in the swimming pool. Slowly over the years as I’ve learnt more, I’ve reduced as many harsh and toxic chemicals in the home as possible. We certainly can’t avoid them all (car fumes, smoking) and we can’t change everything at once but we can do lots to reduce them considerably in the home environment, this diminishes the burden on our endocrine (hormone) system, our liver and it can even impact weight loss, read more about this on my previous post.
My top 10 ways to reduce toxins in the home:
- Go natural for cleaning your home. Most things can be cleaned in the home with a combination of vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon, borax and I’m a big fan of using anti-bacterial, anti-viral essential oils. Chemical cleaners can contain up to 90% cheap chemical fragrance and every time you spray it, you inhale these toxins into your lungs.
- Buy Eco Friendly No-VOC paint for decorating. There are some great suppliers that have brought out some really innovative products, after some research I found mineral based paint such as Frenchic Chic. I recently transformed my kitchen using this non-toxic furniture paint, it’s really widely available and no vapors when painting which really makes all the difference.
- Use Natural Soaps for Cleaning your Hands. Antibacterial Products have been found to be ineffective and damaging to your gut microbiome. These products are now banned by the FDA in America but marketing still makes many believe that you need to kill 99.9% of germs. You save yourself lots of money by using Castille Soap like this one, it effectively and gently cleans your hands while not wiping out all your good bacteria and ultimately this will help protect your immune system.
- Reduce your use of plastic. Change over your plastic containers to glass jars such as Mason Jars or even Jam Jars. Avoid buying plastic bottles of water where possible, instead buy a reusable metal container like this one and fill it up with filtered water for journeys, it’ll save you – money, toxins from the BPA and help save the environment of more disposable plastic, it’s a win win!
- Don’t use non-stick kitchen equipment. Make sure if you do use non-stick it is still intact because these materials knows as perfluoroalkyl acid have been linked to many diseases even infertility. I use a cast iron skillet and enameled cast iron saucepans, they’re heavy but I love them and really do stay non stick.
- Fill your house with house plants. Did you know that even NASA has been researching plants for space stations for years. Plants such as aloe, spider plants, peace lilly and English ivy are known for cleaning the air of benzene, formaldehyde and trichlorethylene.
- Choose natural fibers in your home. Synthetic furniture now contains flame retardants called PBDE, this can make up to 30% of the weight and it is transferred easily to clothes and skin. Better than new, buy vintage furniture no “new smell” (chemical out-gassing from new plastics etc) and you can cover it with your no VOC paint!
- Use natural fragrances for your home. Most synthetic brands contain carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals which just mask the smells. Try a natural beeswax candle or better still invest in a diffuser and some pure essential oils that will kill pathogenic bacteria whilst smelling divine and even helping to improve your mood.
- Buy food with very little packaging such as an organic food box. Supermarkets are packaging more food in plastic and they often contain phthalates (pliable plastic) linked to infertility and endocrine disruption. Lives are busy these days so getting your organic food delivered in a recycled cardboard box can be one less item to consider.
- Allow nature to flourish naturally in your garden. Roundup is the most commonly used pesticide for lawns and the WHO have labelled this a probable carcinogen. The odd daisy and dandelion doesn’t have to be unsightly and in fact we’ve been known to chuck our dandelions in a smoothie, they provide an incredible prebiotic food to your gut microbiome.
I hope this gives your some simple ideas, can you think of any more? Please add your suggestions below I would love to hear from you.