Detox your home naturally
Detox your home naturally.
We carefully watch what goes into our mouths and on our bodies—organic this, petroleum-free that. But when it comes to keeping a healthy home, knowing what to do isn't so easy. In fact, the average house may contain as many as 400 chemicals, some of them toxic, many untested, according to a 2009 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Short-term contact with one toxin in small amounts isn't going to kill you. But with so many questionable chemicals swirling around us, "you definitely want to take simple measures whenever possible to lower your exposure," says Phil Brown, PhD, director of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University in Boston.
Considering the average human being spends roughly 90-percent of their time indoors, the quality of the air is certainly important—particularly when you consider the toxic compounds from paint and wallpaper, cleaning products, furniture, pollen, mold, bacteria, and in poorly ventilated homes.
Luckily, welcoming potted houseplants into your home can help to purify air and reduce harmful particulates in the air, as they absorb carbon dioxide to photosynthesize fresh oxygen.
Here are common and hearty houseplants that promote air quality…
Household plants that clean the air and promote good air quality.
How to detox your house with plants.
I can make what with essential oils?
Detox your home using essential oils.
Replace these products by making your own essential oil based cleaning products.
Essential oils in the home.
Refreshing kitchen surface cleaner
Add 2-5 drops Lemon directly to a damp sponge. Use it to wipe countertops and cutting boards to help combat bacteria and germs.
Simple kitchen sink scrub
Combine 5 drops Bergamot, 5 drops Lime, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl and stir. Apply the mixture to the inside of the sink and scrub. Rinse with warm water.
Add 5-10 drops Grapefruit, Lavender or Simply Citrus to a small, slightly damp washcloth; place it in the dryer while drying towels, sheets and clothes for a clean, fresh aroma.
Trash can deodorizer
Add 1-3 drops Stress Relief or Sweet Ambiance onto a cotton ball and place it on the bottom of the trash can to help eliminate odors and germs.
Place 3-6 drops Joy or Relaxation on the inside of the cardboard tube of a roll of toilet paper. The aroma will fragrance the bathroom with every turn.
Combine 10 drops each of Lemongrass, Pine, Tea Tree, 1 cup baking soda, 3 tbsp liquid dish soap and 1 tbsp white vinegar. Mix well, then place a small handful of the scrub on an abrasive sponge and clean grout.
Simple carpet deodorizer
Combine 12 drops Lavender with 1 oz baking soda. Mix well and sprinkle the mixture over carpets. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, then vacuum. Alternatively, try Cleaning, Spring Garden or Uplift.
Cozy aromatic fireplace
Add 5 drops Pine, Frankincense or Sage to a medium-sized, dry log. Leave for at least 15 minutes and make sure the essential oil has soaked in before adding the log to a lit fire.
Remove cigarette smell
Combine 4 drops Rosemary, 4 drops Tea Tree, 4 drops Eucalyptus and 8 drops Lemon with 1 oz water in a spray bottle. Spray liberally around the affected area. Shake well before each use.
Outdoor furniture scrub spray
Combine 20 drops each of Juniper Berry, Lemon, Pine and 2 tbsp white vinegar in an 8 oz spray bottle. Top off with water. Shake well and spray patio furniture liberally, clean and scrub with a heavy rag.
Combine 5-10 drops Lime, Grapefruit, Bergamot or Lemongrass to a small bowl of water. Wipe down the fridge or freezer with the water.
Ant & pest away
Add 2-4 drops Peppermint on a cotton ball and place in locations where you have had problems with ants or mice. The strong aroma will disrupt scent trails and discourage them from coming back.
Shoo fly don’t bother me
Place 2 cups dried flowers or potpourri in a decorative bowl. Sprinkle 10-15 drops Citronella over the dried flowers. Place in an area where you want to ward off flying insects.
Sprinkle a few drops Lemon, Lavender or Blood Orange on your sponge. Place in the top rack of your dishwasher to disinfect and leave a fresh aroma.
General purpose & disinfecting cleaner
Add 20 drops each Eucalyptus, Lemon and Pine, along with 1 oz white vinegar to a 2 oz spray bottle. Fill to the shoulder of the bottle with water. Shake well before each use. Can be used on glass surfaces, windows, kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces and inside your refrigerator.
Add 1-5 drops Grapefruit, Lavender or Simply Citrus to a cotton ball and place behind toilet.
Combine 12 drops Cleaning blend, 1 oz white vinegar and 1 oz water in a spray bottle. Shake well to combine. Use to clean mirrors and windows.
Make your own laundry detergent and dryer sheets.
Essential oils for beauty
Here are just a few blends to try:
Combine 3 drops Frankincense, 3 drops Geranium, 4 drops Lavender, 2 drops Sandalwood and 2 oz of a carrier oil of your choice such as jojoba, coconut oil or almond oil.
Combine 4 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Basil, 3 drops Frankincense (Frereana), 3 drops Lavender (French) and 2 oz witch hazel in a small bottle. Shake well and apply 2-3 drops to a cotton swab and apply directly to the acne. For larger areas, add 2 tsp. of the mixture to a dampened face cloth and dab on the acne.
Soothing salt scrub
Combine 8 drops Frankincense, 4 drops Grapefruit, 2 oz. Himalayan salt and 1 oz. Jojoba in bowl and stir well. Use a small handful while in the shower or bath to scrub away dead skin and soothe muscle aches. The lingering layer of Jojoba will provide long lasting moisture. For a silkier texture, try adding a tsp. of Coconut oil.
Essential oils for health
Easy-peasy hand sanitizer
Combine 12 drops Peppermint, 22 drops Tea Tree, 14 drops Sweet Orange and 4 oz aloe vera gel in a small squeeze bottle. Shake well and apply liberally to hands and rub until the gel has evaporated.
Just a few blends for you to try...
Memory sharpener blend
In a 5 ml glass bottle, combine 30 drops Basil, 30 drops Rosemary, 18 drops Lemon and 18 drops Black Pepper. Add 15 drops to a personal inhaler or 5-10 drops to your diffuser.
Add 5-6 drops Cedarwood, Lavender, Sandalwood, Valerian or Vetiver to a 1 oz. spray bottle. Fill to the shoulder of the bottle with water. Mist your pillow lightly before going to sleep. Shake well before each use.
Himalayan salt lamps
Cleaner indoor air
What are Salt Lamps?
Salt lamps are simply large pieces of pure Himalayan Salt with a small bulb inside. They can be solid pieces of salt or decorative baskets filled with large crystals of salt.
It is important to make sure that the lamp is from a pure Himalayan Crystal source and not a cheap imitation made from rock salt.
Himalayan salt lamps are made from pure, food grade, Himalayan salt crystals and can even be powdered to use as salt in recipes if needed.
Essential oils for emotional health
Just a few examples to try....
Calming massage oil
Combine 1 drop each Bergamot, Lavender, Mandarin, Geranium, Chamomile (German), Ylang Ylang and 1/2 oz of coconut oil or jojoba oil. Mix well, massage onto the body.
To a 10 ml roller bottle add 4 drops Grapefruit or Sweet Orange. Top off with jojoba or coconut oil. Apply to pulse points and inhale 2-3 times as needed before an interview, exam or meeting.
Combine 4 drops Basil, 3 drops Ginger, 5 drops Grapefruit with 1 oz of jojoba oil or coconut oil. Apply a few drops of the blend to the palms of the hands and inhale deeply 2-3 times. Alternatively, add the essential oils to an aromatherapy diffuser.
Himalayan salt lamps
Stop using bleached products
What is the difference between sparkling white paper towels and naturally brown paper towels? The white paper is bleached using chlorine – a process that is dangerous to both humans and the environment. When products such as paper towels, toilet paper, coffee filters, tea bags, tampons, menstrual pads and diapers are bleached during manufacturing, dioxins are released into the air. Dioxins are extremely dangerous toxins that accumulate in water and are then taken up by animals and humans. The bleach used in these products may leach into the food that you eat.
Bleach is also widely used in flour and sugar. While the health effects of these products is less well known, you can ensure your health by opting for their unbleached varieties. While they should be available in your local market (whole wheat flour is a good bet, and look for “raw” or “unrefined” sugar), there are also a number of online sources.
To avoid potential health complications, which include cancer, birth defects and increased risk of diabetes, and to keep the environment clean, buy nonbleached products. If you’re unsure about making a switch, look for low-impact choices, like coffee filters and tea bags, before moving on to paper towels and other care products.
Give up antibacterial soap
1. Antibacterial soaps won’t help prevent infections caused by viruses.
The three infectious diseases now dominating the news—Ebola, the flu, and enterovirus D68 (a respiratory infection that has sent thousands of kids across the country to the ER this fall) are all viral, not bacterial. “Just like you shouldn’t take an antibiotic drug to treat a viral infection, like the cold or flu, there’s no reason you would use an antibacterial soap to kill viruses,” says Consumer Reports' Chief Medical Adviser, Marvin M. Lipman, M.D.
2. Antibacterial soaps aren’t better than soap and water at preventing even bacterial infections.
The most common antibacterial ingredient in antibacterial soaps is a chemical called triclosan. It’s now included not just in soaps, but also toothpastes and cosmetics. But the Food and Drug Administration says that there’s no evidence that people who use products with triclosan are less likely to develop bacterial infections than people who use regular soap and water.
3. Overuse of antibacterial soaps may breed resistant bacteria.
The more antibiotics are used, the more likely it is that the bacteria they are meant to fight will develop resistance to the drugs. That’s a huge problem in hospitals and doctors offices, as many bacterial infections are becoming harder and harder to treat. That has led the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to caution doctors against unnecessarily prescribing antibiotics. It’s also prompted the Food and Drug Administration to take steps to reduce the use of antibiotics in raising animals. And some research suggests that the widespread use of triclosan might also fuel the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of the Consumer Reports Center for Safety and Sustainability.
4. Triclosan may pose other health risks, too.
Animal research suggests that triclosan may interfere with the body’s regulation of thyroid hormone. If that happens in humans, too, it could contribute to infertility, early puberty, obesity, and other problems. Other research hints that children with long exposure to triclosan may be more likely to develop allergies. Triclosan is so ubiquitious these days, that in one recent study the chemical was detected in the urine of 75 percent of the people tested.
5. Antibacterial soaps may be harmful to the environment.
With triclosan in so many products, a lot makes it into the sewer system and, ultimately, into rivers and even the ocean. Some research suggests the chemical may interfere with algae’s ability to perform photosynthesis.
For all those reasons, the FDA recently told manufacturers that they have until the middle of 2015 to provide data showing that their antibacterial products are safe and effective. After that, products would have to relabeled, reformulated, or taken off the market. Some companies, including Procter & Gamble, are already removing triclosan from their products. And Minnesota has become the first state to ban the ingredient in consumer products for cleansing or sanitizing. Our experts applaud those steps—and say you should stop using them, too. “Just washing with regular soap and water alone takes care of the job and gets things clean enough,” Rangan says.
Replace your non stick cookware
Within a few minutes of being heated on a stove, a nonstick, Teflon pan begins offgassing harmful chemicals. An example of the hazards of Teflon and other nonstick chemicals is the sudden death of pet birds exposed to heating cookware made with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), used to make nonstick pans. A pet bird can die within seconds of exposure, which demonstrates how strong – and dangerous – these chemicals can be. As you cook with these pots and pans, you are breathing in the same harmful chemicals, though not in high enough concentrations to cause immediate harm.
If you have nonstick pots, pans, baking sheets, or other cookware at home, there are some specific techniques you can use to minimize toxic exposure until you are able to replace these pieces with nontoxic versions. My suggestions for nontoxic, nonstick alternatives include ceramic, glass, cast iron, and stainless steel.
I must admit that this has been a challenge to get rid of my nonstick cookware, and am now down to one piece. I have lots of stoneware and 18/10 stainless steel, in addition to my cast iron, glass and ceramic pieces pieces. If you're going to get stainless steel might as well get the good stuff.
Make your own personal care products
I vowed to make my home a safer place to live.
When I learned about the many dangerous chemicals lurking in everyday products like toothpaste, laundry detergent, and cleaners, I panicked.
I mean, when you consider the alarming doses of toxic chemicals we breathe in, slather on, or soak up on any given day – well, it’s enough to make you want to curl up in a ball and hide.
So, I did what so many determined women have done before me.
I began making everything myself.
I've already mentioned many items that you can make from essential oils. You can refer back to that list for blends/recipes to try. I've also shared some other blends here.
DIY Kitchen Cleaner
DIY Kitchen Cleaner
- 4 ounces of White Vinegar
- 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil
- 2 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 8 ounces of Water
- 1 teaspoon of Dr. Bronner Liquid Castile Soap (optional)
- Glass spray bottle
Other ways to detox your home....
Rethink artificial room deodorizers.
Ditch the dry cleaning chemicals.
Ditch the pesticides.
Ditch the chemicals!
Leave your shoes at the door!
Leave your shoes at the door.
I must admit. This is the toughest part for me.....but.....
When you put on your shoes, do you ever pause for a moment to think about where those shoes have been? Every time you walk, your shoes pick up a multitude of unwanted substances. A recent study found nine different species of bacteria on the bottom of people’s shoes. And what’s even scarier, the study found that bacteria live longer on shoes than many other hard surfaces.
Specific examples found on shoe soles included E coli, tetanus, strep, hepatitis, and C difficile. Researchers also discovered viruses, parasites, fungi, allergens and toxic substances. Eeuuw.
The substances listed above were picked up from streets, sidewalks, and the floors of office buildings. Included in this toxic mix were:
- Remnants of feces from dogs, cats, rodents, birds and other wildlife, and humans
- Urine from the same sources
- Remains from insects and rodents
- Remnants of garbage including food waste and toxic cleaning products
- Excretions such as saliva, mucus, sweat, blood or vomit
- Residue from insecticides, gasoline, oils and grease
- Urine and germs from restroom floors
- Soil contaminated with lead, pesticides, lawn chemicals and/or toxic wood preservatives from lawns and parks
The reason shoes can harbor such a motley assortment of “ick” is because most shoe soles are made from leather, rubber or other porous materials that allow for the absorption of microscopic substances. Once inside your home, contaminated shoes can become a source of disease; spreading germs to carpets and floors.
Ditch the plastic!
Ditch the plastics!
First, let’s talk about the endocrine system.
One of the more vastly complicated and important systems in your body, the endocrine system affects literally every cell and function in your body. This system includes:
- Adrenal glands
- Sex hormones and development
- Pituitary glands
- Thymus gland
- Thyroid gland
- Pineal gland
Those glands and systems control basically everything in your body.
Ever heard the phrase, “all disease begins in your gut”? The more I learn about this stuff the more I believe that phrase is VERY true! And that’s where plastic comes in.
Many plastics contain BPA, which is a known endocrine disruptor. Seriously, check out that list above again, and you’ll see why messing with our endocrine system is a precursor to many illnesses! There hasn’t been extensive human testing, but hundreds of animal studies demonstrate that BPA causes abnormal development of the brain and sex organs, feminizes male organs, causes early puberty, and leads to infertility. In fact, BPA has been banned in several countries for use in baby bottles… and I’m pretty sure if it ain’t good for babies, it ain’t good for you and me. Maybe the closest thing we have to a human study was a trial performed by Harvard researchers where 77 students drank water from stainless steel bottles one week, and then polycarbonate bottles the next. During the polycarbonate week, BPA increased 69% in the participants’ urine. That’s a drastic change over a really short time frame.
Imagine how those numbers would look after years and years of exposure. So, the solution is to purchase BPA-free products, right? Well, unfortunately it’s not that simple. Here’s an excerpt from a recent study performed by Environmental Health Perspectives: “Results: Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled—independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source—leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA (estrogenic activity), including those advertised as BPA free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products.” Whoops. Toxic Plastic Quick Fix Begin replacing your plastic containers with metal ones, especially the ones you keep your leftovers in. Get in the habit of using ½ gallon mason jars to store things like raw milk, apple cider vinegar, and granola.I don’t want plastics leaching endocrine-disrupting chemicals getting into my foods, so I've invested in several sizes of mason jars, and gradually got rid of all the plastic.
What chemicals are lurking in your make-up?
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Remember that.
1. BHA and BHT
Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number
In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively).
Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as "CI" followed by five digits. The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. "FD&C Blue No. 1" or "Blue 1"). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
3. DEA-related ingredients
Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA.
4. Dibutyl phthalate
Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as "unscented." Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.
8. PEG compounds
Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
11. Sodium laureth sulfate
Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
13. Talc is used to absorb moisture and provide a hint of sparkle. It is found in eye shadow, blush, baby powder, deodorant and soap.
Talc is known to act as a human carcinogen and has been directly linked to ovarian cancer. Talc can act similarly to asbestos when inhaled and may lead to the formation of lung tumors.
14. Mercury The FDA permits the use of mercury compounds in eye makeup at concentrations up to 65 parts per million. The preservative thimerosol, found in some mascaras, is a mercury-containing product.
Health Hazards: Mercury is associated with a host of health concerns including allergic reactions, skin irritation, toxicity, neurological damage, bioacculumation, and environmental damage. Mercury readily passes into the body through the skin, so normal use of the product results in exposure.
15. Lead typically occurs as a contaminant, such as in hydrated silica, an ingredient in toothpaste. Lead acetate is added as an ingredient in some lipsticks and men's hair dye.
Health Hazards: Lead is a neurotoxin. It can cause brain damage and developmental delays even at extremely low concentrations.
The average woman wears 515 chemicals every day!
What toxic chemicals is your skin absorbing?
For some other great tips on detoxing your home, check this out!
I know this information was probably overwhelming. Please feel free to ask questions by posting them in the comments section. I would love to hear your comments, also. Let me know if this information was helpful.
Are you actively detoxing your home?
Are you actively detoxing your home?
© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse