Reducing the toxins in your home

So by now you should have the gist of what this website is trying to say; using lots of chemical products to clean our homes means that we are exposing our family members to extensive levels of toxins and toxic products.

To support toxic reduction I suggest; Opening the windows daily to circulate the air, throwing out rubbish regularly, and dust and hoover often.

Below is a list of household products to avoid that will reduce you and your family’s exposure to toxins.  Throughout this website I have compiled some alternative natural recipes for household cleaning products that can be made using simple ingredients and are effective in cleaning whilst containing no chemicals.  They will greatly reduce the health hazards within your home.

If you do not have the time to make your own please feel free to order from my Joni Green Goddess Household Clean Living Range which includes; multipurpose spray, washing up liquid, laundry liquid, floor cleaner, candles and room atomizers.  All my products are completely natural, environmentally friendly and non toxic making them 100% safe for you, your family and the environment.

For your information here are some of the products and ingredients that should be avoided for better home health.

Air Fresheners: Many air fresheners contain phthalates, including those labelled as “all-natural”. (Phthalates are chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems.) According to the Global Campaign for the Recognition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), indoor air quality experts recommend against using chemical air fresheners and/or chemical room deodorisers of any kind.  Find and remove sources of bad smells, use baking soda to neutralize odours, keep windows open when possible and try adding drops of organic essential oils to cotton balls and place around the house or use a diffuser.  Keep your windows open for clean fresh air and have lots of plants downstairs which will greatly increase the air quality as well as reducing toxins in the atmosphere.

All-Purpose Cleaners:
 Many all-purpose cleaners can contain a synthetic solvent and grease cutter called butyl cellosolve, a hazardous petroleum-based chemical that can irritate skin and eyes and, over time, cause liver and kidney damage. Search for green alternatives such as my Green Goddess Household Cleaning Range, or make your own (see my homemade cleaning recipe).

Antifreeze: It’s highly flammable and, if you breathe it in, you could end up with headaches, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath.  If your dog laps up any spills, he could suffer kidney failure and potentially death.

Arsenic: Some types of wood are treated with arsenic to prevent rotting.  Exposure to arsenic can cause cancer, dizziness, numbness, rash, headaches and possible liver damage.  Some alternatives include wood treated with non-arsenic preservatives and wood that doesn’t require pressure treatment.

Batteries: Household batteries are perfectly safe unless they explode, releasing toxic substances like lead, nickel, mercury and lithium.  Never throw batteries in a fire and don’t put regular batteries into a rechargeable battery station  (attempting to recharge a disposable battery can lead to an explosion.) Replace batteries all at the same time.  Mixing old and new can increase the risk of leakage.  Finally, don’t store batteries about your person or in drawers if they are not working, just get rid of them through the recycling centre.  This is because they could leak or rupture if they become overheated.

Bleach: Bleach can irritate or burn the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.  Combined with acidic toilet bowl cleansers or ammonia, it creates toxic fumes.  Furthermore, the chlorine in bleach can bind with organic material in the marine environment to create toxic compounds which are dangerous to fish.  For bathroom cleaning I now use a hand steamer and my homemade all-purpose spray with the steam killing 99.9% bacteria and then tea tree oil, lemon (fresh or the essential oil) and castile soap all mixed together in a spray to clean.  Sometimes I will add vinegar, colital silver, witch hazel or vodka.   I am at ease in the knowledge that my bathroom is safe and thoroughly clean.   If you’re trying to whiten a wash try adding a cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle for whiter whites instead of adding the dreaded bleach.

Candles: Paraffin-based candles give off potentially toxic chemicals such as toluene and benzene, labelled as probable carcinogens by the EPA. Some candles have metal-core wicks, which can release lead and other harmful toxins, and some imported and older candles can contain lead-core wicks. Oils used in scented candles, as well, are often petroleum-based synthetics.  To be safe, avoid paraffin-based candles and stick to those made of natural waxes like vegetable, soybean or beeswax.  Finally, avoid synthetic-scented varieties and use candles scented with essential oils only.  I have a natural soy candle product that is available to order online or feel free to follow my recipe and make your own.

Carpet Cleaner: Some carpet cleaners can contain an ingredient called “2-butoxyethanol” which, if inhaled or absorbed through the skin, can cause blood disorders, liver damage and kidney damage – even reproductive damage if exposure is long-term. In addition, they can contain perchloroethylene, a known carcinogen, as well as 1,4-dioxane, ammonia and unknown fragrances.  If you clean the carpet of an entire room, your exposure could be high.  Again, for this I use my carpet steamer without detergent or look for a non-toxic cleaning product.

Dishwashing Liquid:  Dishwashing liquid will contain triclosan which can react with chlorine in your water to create chloroform. The Environmental Protection Agency has listed chloroform as a probable human carcinogen, capable of causing cancer.  My own dishwashing liquid product uses a surfactant derived from coconuts and uses entirely non hazardous ingredients.  Please feel free to order using my shop facility.

Dishwasher tablets: Each time you put your dishes through the dishwasher, some residue is left that can later mix with your food.  These detergents can contain chlorine-based sanitizing ingredients as well as phosphates. For a natural alternative, mix equal parts of borax and baking soda and store in a tightly sealed container.  Use two tablespoons per load. If you have hard water, double the amount of baking soda. I have created a short youtube video within the website using two of my great eight year old friends to prove just how easy it is to complete this recipe.

Dry Cleaning: Most dry-cleaning outlets use a chemical called “perchloroethylene” (perc) as the primary cleaning solvent.  The International Association for Research on Cancer classifies perc as a probable carcinogen with occupational exposure resulting in elevated rates of kidney cancer.   As for so-called “organic” dry cleaning, there is no regulation on the word so a company claiming to be organic may still use perc.  Certifications can also be confusing as they may just mean that the facility is operating in an environmentally responsible fashion.  Right now, wet-cleaning (a system that uses biodegradable soap and water, computer-controlled dryers and stretching machines) seems to be the least toxic option.  If you can’t find a cleaner in your area offering this option, air your dry cleaning outside or in your garage for at least a day before wearing, buy clothes that don’t need to be dry cleaned and choose spot cleaning and a press when you can.   For this I would suggest a water spray with a clean cloth to remove any stains then just steam iron and leave out to dry (simple).

Laundry liquid: To clean, most products use either anionic or non-ionic surfactants to lower the surface tension of water.  These present low-level toxins to the environment and can cause skin irritation. One common surfactant used in laundry detergents is nonylphenol ethoxylate which, in studies, has been found to stimulate the growth of certain types of cancer cells.  Purchase organic or natural laundry detergents that are fragrance-free and don’t contain these chemicals or make your own detergent using ingredients like natural borax and washing soda (look under the recipes for home section). I have created a laundry liquid that is safe; using surfactants that are made from natural ingredients and is fragranced with essential oils. This leaves your clothes clean, smelling great and is suitable for people with allergies, sensitive skin and supporters of the green movement of non toxic living for the home, our families and the environment.

Lead: Lead is a heavy metal that is toxic even at low levels.  It can cause gastrointestinal problems, weight loss and anaemia, as well as developmental problems and learning disorders in children.

The main threat of lead in the home comes from wall paint (particularly in homes built before 1978).  It can also be present in drinking water if your home has plumbing with lead or lead solder (get your water tested.)  Lead may be present in PVC plastics, old crystal and glass, some antiques, some painted toys and products imported from China and other countries and in car batteries.  If you have an older home, be particularly careful with any paint chips and lead dust which you can see. Lead-based paint in good condition is usually not a hazard as long as it’s not on areas of high-risk of access by children like windows and windowsills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings and banisters and porches and fences.  If you suspect lead, you can arrange a paint inspection which can give you the lead content of every painted surface in your home.  Properly ventilate your home when renovating and don’t store beverages in old crystal decanters.  Never break the seal of car batteries and be especially cautious when charging them – they can explode.

Pesticides: Products like insect repellents, rose and flower sprays, weed killers, lawn care products, soap sprays, ant and roach baits, flea shampoos and mouse and rat bait stations can all contain pesticides. Exposure to lawn and household pesticides has been linked to birth defects, brain cancers (in children) and leukaemia.  Children are most at risk.  Read labels and choose non-toxic versions of these items to protect your family and pets. There are plenty of essential oils that bugs do not like – check out my list of collected ideas for making your own insect spray.

Plastics/Plastic Linings in Cans: A lot of plastics contain bisphenol-A, or BPA – a chemical used to make plastics but which has been suspected as being hazardous to humans for decades.  More recently, it’s been linked to breast and prostate cancer. Found in the resin used to line food cans, BPA has been detected in the bodies of 93% of Americans tested by the Center for Disease Control.  To avoid BPA, limit your exposure to foods in cans or plastic containers.  Buy frozen, fresh or glass-stored foods instead.  If microwaving, use glass or ceramic containers or plastics marked with a #1, 2, 4 or 5 which don’t contain BPA.  Don’t cover food with cling film – use a paper towel instead.  Finally, choose stainless steel water bottles, glass or BPA-free plastic baby bottles.

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