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Household Toxins: 7 Ways to Reduce Toxins in the Home

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Reducing Household Toxins

It may be surprising that many of the household products we cannot imagine life without contain harmful, toxic chemicals. So often, we trust the company or the government to protect us from ingredients that would cause harmful household toxins, but unfortunately, this is not the reality.

These harmful chemicals that result in toxins in the home are added to various products to perform the job intended, to preserve the product, extend the shelf life, or provide scents that are appealing. Some of these chemicals are disclosed in the ingredients list and others are hidden in the overarching “fragrance” category that can be listed without specifying the chemical ingredients included in the product.

The Environmental Working Group, which focuses on identifying what is in products we use today and rates the toxicity to help educate consumers, states:

When you see “fragrance” on a personal care product’s label, read it as “hidden chemicals.” A major loophole in FDA’s federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name “fragrance” without actually listing the chemical.

The same kinds of chemicals are often used for fragrances in cleaning products, scented candles, and air fresheners.

Related: Laundry Detergent Rash: How to Treat and Prevent It

How to Reduce Household Toxins

Here are a few simple ways to reduce household toxins by replacing products loaded with synthetic chemicals with natural alternatives that work just as well or even (gasp) better!

1. Opt for Fragrance-Free or Eco-Friendly Products

When purchasing cleaning products, look for fragrance-free or eco-friendly ones to instantly reduce your toxic load. A few products that would initially be impacted by this in your laundry room are laundry detergent or any type of cleaning product.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Top Choice
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
  • Powerful triple-enzyme formula fights tough stains
  • Free & clear, hypoallergenic laundry detergent made for sensitive skin
  • Safer ingredients for human health and the environment
  • EPA safer choice certified
  • USDA certified bio based product 96% made with plant-based ingredients
9.7
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Excellent Value
Method Liquid Laundry Detergent
Method Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Featuring plant-based stain lifting power
  • For high efficiency and standard washers
  • Biodegradable and hypoallergenic formula
  • Cruelty free. Tested by people, not on animals
9.6
Check Price on Amazon
Planet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid DetergentPlanet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid Detergent
  • Works in both standard and high-efficiency washers
  • Hypoallergenic - suitable for people with chemical sensitivities and babies
  • Free & Clear formula - no added fragrances, dyes or synthetic preservatives
  • Certified 100% biodegradable; ingredients from plant-based sources
  • Not tested on animals
9.5
Check Price on Amazon

Related: The Best Chemical-Free Laundry Detergents

2. Use Dryer Balls Instead of Fabric Softener or Dryer Sheets

Stop using liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets, which are laden with chemicals to create the fragrance residue that is left behind on clothing. I used to love having “fresh” smelling laundry and clothes until I realized all I was inhaling was some sort of chemical concoction that was developed for the product to smell good.

Make the easy switch to wool dryer balls that fluff and soften items in the dryer as well as quicken drying time (I love using six wool dryer balls in my dryer). This is an easy change that helps to reduce the household toxins you and your family are exposed to every day.

Wool Dryer Balls - Natural Fabric Softener, Reusable, Reduces Clothing Wrinkles and Saves Drying Time. The Large Dryer Ball is a Better Alternative to Plastic Balls and Liquid Softener. (Pack of 6) Wool Dryer Balls

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Another great thing about wool dryer balls is that they are good for the environment and the wallet. This is because they are sustainably sourced and reusable, so you do not need to waste money on items that you pour out or throw away that get put in a landfill.

Related: How to Use Wool Dryer Balls, and Why You Should

3. Use a Diffuser for Scent Instead of a Candle

Other products to consider removing from the home would be candles, which contain mostly synthetic chemicals for the fragrance. This is another easy switch to remove toxins in the home.

There are some natural versions that can be purchased if this is a product you cannot live without, but be sure to do your research before purchasing. Or try using a diffuser with essential oils to scent a room, as well as obtain the therapeutic benefits that they offer.

Plant Therapy TerraFuse Essential Oil Diffuser - Cream, Five Settings, Modern, Stylish, Powerful, Auto Shut OffPlant Therapy TerraFuse Essential Oil Diffuser

Check the price on Amazon

4. Use Charcoal or Essential Oils Instead of Air Freshener

Many air freshener products, ranging from free standing to spray to plug-in, are full of harmful chemicals. To purify the air and even scent there is a number of natural alternatives. To purify and refresh the air try Himalayan salt lamps, charcoal bags, houseplants, or essential oils. To scent, the air use your favorite essential oils in a room spray or a diffuser. 

12 Pack Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag, Activated Charcoal Bags Odor Absorber, Moisture Absorber, Natural Car Air Freshener, Shoe Deodorizer, Odor Eliminators For Home, Pet, Closet (6x50g, 6x150g)12 Pack Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag

Check the price on Amazon

5. Clean Floors with a Steam Mop or Microfiber Mop

Instead of cleaning tile and laminate flooring with mops that use a cleaning solution mixed with water in buckets or a spray mop, which both use chemicals that leave a residue to clean and scent your floors, try using a steam mop. The steam works to disinfect as you clean, and the mop pad picks up the dirt and food particles that are stuck on the floor.

Or try a Norwex mop or e-cloth mop to clean your floors with just water. Just rinse the pad, wring out the water and attach it to the mop. The mops contain a high-quality microfiber that works to suck in and trap dirt, bacteria, and germs. Without the steam, these wet mop options are definitely safer to use around little ones or let little ones use to help! 😉

Top-Rated Mop
E-Cloth Deep Clean Mop
  • Made with high-quality microfiber
  • Clean with just water
  • Perfect for wood, laminate, tile, and vinyl

The Deep Clean Mop from E-Cloth is our favorite mop for keeping the floors in your home clean and free of bacteria. This inexpensive, lightweight mop cleans effectively with just water, no need to mess with mopping solutions. The reusable mop head will save you loads of money compared to single-use products, plus it's better for the environment. This compact mop is also easy to store when you're not using it, thanks to convenient hook and loop fasteners.

6. Clean Windows with a Microfiber Cloth

Traditional window cleaners are some of the worst toxic-loaded home cleaners. I grew up using this and have always hated cleaning windows and mirrors because no matter what I did there always seemed to be some sort of smudge across the surface. Replace this product with a more natural version or just use water with a high-quality microfiber window cloth, such as Norwex Window Cloth or e-cloth Window Cloth, to easily remove these household toxins in the home.

Best Glass Cleaning Cloth
E-Cloth Glass & Polishing Cloths
  • Made with high-quality microfiber
  • Clean with just water
  • Cleans glass, windows, mirrors, chrome, and more

E-Cloth has designed these clothes specifically for glass so you can clean and get streak-free results. All you need is water, no window or glass cleaner. These reusable cloths are guaranteed for 3 years or 300 washes, so you can be sure they'll last. And like all E-Cloth products, they're available at a very reasonable price. You'll save a lot of money without using paper towels and window cleaner, plus you'll be able to keep those chemicals out of your house.

Related: Best Cloth for Cleaning Windows and Glass

7. Use Natural All-Purpose Cleaners

Use natural products to replace the toxic cleaning products that you are currently using on various surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen, utility room, living room, dining room, and bedrooms. Thankfully, there are many companies developing various eco-friendly options. Labels can be misleading, so look for products that have been certified as meeting green standards, specifically look for the Green Seal, EWG Verified, or EcoLogo. 

There are multiple ways to use white or apple cider vinegar as an all-natural disinfectant. I used this on all my kid’s baby toys prior to learning about high-quality microfiber cloths and what they can do. I figured I could disinfect and when the baby puts items in their mouth at least it was cleaned with an edible item and not a bunch of synthetic chemicals.

Harris Cleaning Vinegar, Mandarin, 128oz, All Purpose Household Surface CleanerHarris Cleaning Vinegar, Mandarin

Check the price on Amazon

Also, baking soda is another natural product that has a plethora of cleaning uses. It is extremely helpful when needing some scouring power to scrub away a stuck-on mess.

Make and use your own natural cleaning products. Essential oils can be used in cleaning products for their disinfecting properties. They also bring a pleasant scent with them to the job that is being done. Check out my article How to Clean with Essential Oils for some cleaning ideas and recipes.

High-quality microfiber, such as Norwex or e-cloth, is another great cleaning option. These cloths are able to wipe up and clean minuscule particles from our surfaces. They are versatile and safe to use on countertops, cabinets, glass, faucets, walls, carpets, couches, etc. The tiny microfiber threads work to pick up and absorb bacteria, germs, and dirt to give you a 99% clean surface (comparable to or even better than your traditional chemical-filled cleaning products that leave behind toxins in the home)!

Related: The Best Microfiber Cloths for Cleaning Your Home

Final Thoughts on Reducing Household Toxins

We are all looking to live a longer, healthier life, and removing chemicals from the home is a huge step in this direction. At first, it might seem challenging to reduce the toxins in the home, however, there are some simple switches that can greatly impact our home environment.

Some of these “swaps” are relatively inexpensive while others might cost a little more upfront, but overall savings are experienced with the multiple uses out of the items since you are no longer consuming a harmful cleaning product. Making one or more of these changes will help you improve your overall wellness with long-lasting benefits by reducing household toxins you are constantly exposed to.

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