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Reduce Toxins in Your Daily Life - Use Natural Personal Care and Household Products

Updated on June 26, 2018
rmcrayne profile image

In health care since 1977, but keenly aware of Western medicine's shortcomings, Rose Mary began exploring natural health in the late 1990s.

Natural Products for Personal Care and Household Use
Natural Products for Personal Care and Household Use | Source

We Ingest and Absorb Too Many Chemicals

Most people are aware that our foods and beverages are loaded with preservatives and other chemical additives that are not good for the body. But ingestion is not the only way we expose our bodies to harmful chemicals. We seem to ignore the toxic potential of shampoos, soaps, lotions, and other personal care products, as well as household cleaners. Can the body absorb harmful chemicals through the skin? Of course it can!

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible on our planet for our bodies to be completely free of added chemicals. A friend told me scientists have found traces of DDT (an insecticide) in artic foxes. A college professor once told me of a study that found higher concentrations of DDT in human breast milk than in milk from the grocery store. More recently, I heard a public health official speak, noting pesticide residue in the pulp of baby teeth, in a child who had been exposed prenatally.

This all sounds pretty grim, but there are things within our control that we can do to try to minimize chemicals in our daily lives, and decrease the toxic load on our bodies. All-natural soaps, shampoos, and skin care products are available, and relatively affordable. Likewise, there are laundry detergents and other household cleaning products with natural ingredients.

Personal Care Products

Deodorant

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My Current Go-To Deodorants- Young Living and Thai CrystalVariety of Natural Deodorants
My Current Go-To Deodorants- Young Living and Thai Crystal
My Current Go-To Deodorants- Young Living and Thai Crystal | Source
Variety of Natural Deodorants
Variety of Natural Deodorants | Source

Eliminate Aluminum Chlorohydrate! I haven’t used antiperspirant since about 2008, maybe longer. The active ingredient of antiperspirants is aluminum chlorohydrate, which is suspected of playing a role in several health problems. Some scientists think there may be a link between breast cancer and aluminum chlorohydrate. Others fear the ingredient may be linked to Alzheimer’s. Still other scientists suggest aluminum chlorohydrate is safe because a link has not been proven.

I say ‘not proven’ means simply that. We have not yet strongly proven a link. That is a far cry from ‘safe’. Since I have a strong family history of Alzheimer’s, I’m not taking the chance. I use Young Living stick deodorants, and Thai Crystal deodorant stick. Himalayan salt crystal is very similar to the Thai. I run the crystal under a thin stream of water, then apply like a roll-on. Thai Crystal lasts a really long time. I have had the same one for over a year, and there is still plenty left.

Thai Crystal

THAI 100% Natural Crystal Deodorant Stick, Mini Travel Size (2.125 Ounces)
THAI 100% Natural Crystal Deodorant Stick, Mini Travel Size (2.125 Ounces)

I have been using Thai Crystal since around 2012. It works really well for me. One crystal lasts me well over a year.

 

Everyone’s body chemistry is different. You may find your favorite is different. Generally speaking, you are going to be looking for deodorant, not antiperspirant. I had tried several stick deodorants from Wilderness Family Naturals made with coconut oil. It seems they discontinued all their deodorants, but you can get coconut oil deodorants from Tropical Traditions. They have classic, frankincense, and lavender scent, with other natural oils. I trust them. I have been buying my coconut oil for cooking from them for about 10 years. Tom’s of Maine also makes a line of natural deodorants. Tom’s comes in a variety of scents, like tea tree and mountain spring. Other makers include Weleda and Jāsön. I have tried many natural deodorant products, but Thai Crystal and Young Living have worked best for me.

Body Soaps

Bronner's Castile liquid soap, Young Living bar soaps, and Wildernss Family coconut oil-based oatmeal soap
Bronner's Castile liquid soap, Young Living bar soaps, and Wildernss Family coconut oil-based oatmeal soap | Source

A great, versatile natural soap is Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap. At our house we usually buy the 32 oz bottles, and sometimes even 64 oz, because you can use it for so many different things. I like the almond scent best, and my brother likes the peppermint, but we’ve also bought eucalyptus, tea tree, citrus, lavender, and unscented.

I used castile in the shower for my body wash, as well as for shampooing my hair for a couple years. I have also used coconut oil bar soaps from Wilderness Family Naturals. Unfortunately, they seem to have dropped most of their personal care line. Tropical Traditions however carries coconut oil-based bar soaps in lavender, tea tree, lemongrass, and unscented.

My current favorite bath and body soap is from Young Living. I like the bar soaps, like Valor and Thieves. My brother likes the liquid body washes. The bars and liquids come in a variety of scents, featuring essential oils of exceptional purity.

Liquid Hand Soaps

Young Living Foaming Hand Soap, Bronner's Castile unscented liquid soap, Young Living essential oils
Young Living Foaming Hand Soap, Bronner's Castile unscented liquid soap, Young Living essential oils | Source

I like foaming hand soap, because especially with softened water, I think the foams rinse more easily than the regular liquid soaps. You can use Bronner’s Castile soaps as liquid soap. To use in your foaming soap dispenser for handwashing, dilute it one part castile soap and nine to ten parts water.

I use Thieves foaming hand soap from Young Living at home. I started using it during cold and flu season, because of contact with my community college students. Now I use it year-round. According to the ‘legend of the thieves’, grave robbers in Europe soaked cloths in special oils, then wore them around their face to rob graves. In so doing, they did not succumb to the contagious illnesses that the deceased passed from.

You can use the unscented castile liquid, or the Young Living bath & shower gel base to make your own hand soap or shower gel. Just put 5-15 drops of your favorite natural oil in 8 oz of unscented base. You could use oils like cedarwood, patchouli, tangerine, or scores of others.

Don’t want to hassle with mixing? Tropical Traditions carries seven options for scent in their coconut oil-based foaming soap, as well as unscented. Also, you could use any of the bar soaps discussed above.

Legend of the Thieves Oils

Hand Sanitizer and Wet Wipes

Thieves hand sanitizer and Water Wipeswith fruit oil
Thieves hand sanitizer and Water Wipeswith fruit oil | Source

Hand sanitizer is not meant to replace handwashing. It is always better to wash your hands with soap and water. Many sanitizers specify to wash hands first, then use sanitizer. Many people however use sanitizer because it is not possible to wash hands. I am a pediatric home health therapist, so I regularly need to sanitize. When I use sanitizer, I use Thieves sanitizer from Young Living. I prefer wet wipes however, and use Water Wipes, which is 99.9% water, with “a drop of fruit extract”. I have also used the Amazon Elements unscented baby wipes, which are free of added fragrances, parabens, dyes, alcohol, phthalates, bronopol, and methylisothiazolinone. Thieves wipes are also available from Young Living.

Shampoo

Young Living lavender shampoo and conditioner, Bronner's Castile soap, soap nuts shampoo, Dr. Mercola shampoo
Young Living lavender shampoo and conditioner, Bronner's Castile soap, soap nuts shampoo, Dr. Mercola shampoo | Source

As I said above, I used Dr. Bonner’s Castile soap for washing my hair for couple years. It left my hair relatively tangle-free. I liked the almond scent the best. I have also used Dr. Mercola shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo does not lather like typical shampoo, but it still gets the job done. Mercola products made my hair incredibly soft.

I’m currently using Young Living lavender shampoo and conditioner. It’s a little pricy but lasts me a long time. I start out with about a nickel-sized amount, which doesn’t lather much. After a rinse and repeat, I get plenty of lather off a dime-sized amount of shampoo for the second wash.

Lotion

Young Living lotions, shea butter, coconut oil
Young Living lotions, shea butter, coconut oil | Source

Obviously, I have chosen to use natural soaps and shampoos. You could argue that the impact of chemicals in these products is minimized because the products are rinsed off. You could not make such an argument for skin cream, so the use of an all-natural product is even more important.

I like Dr. Merola’s Organic Body Lotion. I like that it is unscented. Actually, it seems to have a faint citrus scent until it is absorbed and dries. It is non-greasy, which is hugely important to me. I especially hate it when my hands are greasy. It is very thick however, and can be challenging to get out of the bottle. It helps to shelve it cap-side down.

I also use Young Living lotions, which don’t feel greasy. They come in a variety of scents, which are all quite pungent. I like unscented, and mildly scented products better.

I have used coconut oil, and shea natural body butter. These do not have a greaseless feel, at least not to the hands. It soaks into the skin pretty well, but I usually wash it off my hands when I’m done applying it. Can’t help myself. Mercola also carries body butters in unscented, as well as sweet orange and vanilla almond.

Toothpaste, Mouthwash & Lip Balm

Tom's fluoride-free toothpaste, Young Living Thieves toothpaste, Thieves mouthwash
Tom's fluoride-free toothpaste, Young Living Thieves toothpaste, Thieves mouthwash | Source

I subscribe to the notion that fluoride is a hormone disruptor, and do not use fluoride toothpaste. I alternate Tom’s of Maine fluoride-free toothpaste with Young Living Thieves toothpaste. I have recently started using Young Living Thieves mouthwash.

I use lip balm fairly regularly. I like Burt’s Bees and Tropical Traditions unscented. Overall, I prefer unscented, but I like Young Living grapefruit oil lip balm very much.

First Aid/Un-Medicine Cabinet

Queen Helene Mint Julip Masque, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, and Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
Queen Helene Mint Julip Masque, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, and Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar | Source

Baking Soda

There are a few simple items I like to keep on hand for natural remedies. My number one is probably baking soda for my “GI cocktail”. There are a lot of natural strategies that I use for reflux management. If I am having heartburn at bedtime, my go-to remedy is ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 4 ounces of water. This is a remedy for heartburn, indigestion or sour stomach. Visit the Arm and Hammer website to review the many uses for baking soda.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar “with the mother” is another product that is relatively inexpensive, and has scores of uses. You can make a health tonic for daily consumption with 1-2 teaspoons of ACV in 8 ounces of water, with 1-2 teaspoons honey, or a little stevia to sweeten. I have used ACV if I have heartburn immediately after eating a heavy protein meal. ACV is also good for skin and hair. Learn more on the Bragg’s website.

Mint Julip Masque

I learned about Queen Helen Mint Julip Masque in 2009 when my dog was down in the back and bit me. It is pretty amazing for reducing redness and swelling, and preventing infection from small wounds.

Household Products

Household products, such as laundry detergent and household cleaners, are another primary means by which we introduce a plethora of chemicals into our body. There are now many companies and products that offer options with reduced chemicals and additives, and natural scents instead of petroleum-based perfumes.

Laundry

Mrs. Meyer's dryer sheets, liquid fabric softener, laundry detergent, Young Living Thieves laundry detergent, and Seventh Generation dryer sheets
Mrs. Meyer's dryer sheets, liquid fabric softener, laundry detergent, Young Living Thieves laundry detergent, and Seventh Generation dryer sheets | Source

My current favorite laundry detergents are by Mrs. Meyer’s and Young Living. I love Meyer’s honeysuckle and baby blossom scents for everyday. I also use their dryer sheets. I keep Young Living Thieves detergent on hand for sanitizing, like when my elderly spaniel had bowel accidents on the washable pee pads.

I have previously used a liquid detergent by Tropical Traditions. It was very economical, because the gallon lasted a very, very long time. Unfortunately, they are no longer marketing the liquid, but you can get a powered detergent. I have also used liquid soap nuts detergent. Bronner’s Castile soap can be adapted for laundry detergent.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Laundry Detergent

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Laundry Detergent, Baby Blossom, 64 fl oz
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Laundry Detergent, Baby Blossom, 64 fl oz

There are many scents for Meyer's, but my two favorites are Baby Blossom and Honeysuckle. I use Meyer's for everyday laundry needs.

 

Dishwashing

Seventh Generation dishwasher packs, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher gel, and Young Living Thieves dishwashing liquid.
Seventh Generation dishwasher packs, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher gel, and Young Living Thieves dishwashing liquid. | Source

A key tip for liquid dish detergent is to beware of “anti-microbial” detergent, or any anti-microbial product, as it may contain triclosan. Triclosan has been linked to health problems related to the liver, heart and thyroid. FDA banned triclosan in hand soaps effective September 2017, but triclosan is still used in some products such as dishwashing liquid.

I like Seventh Generation dish detergent and dishwasher detergent. I also keep Thieves dish detergent on hand, which I would use in place of an anti-microbial. Thieves dish washer detergent is available. Dish and dishwasher detergents are available from Meyer’s. You can find recipes online for making dish detergent with Bronner’s Castile soap.

Household Cleaning

Thieves Cleaner and Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap
Thieves Cleaner and Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap | Source

Meyer’s, Seventh Generation, and Young Living Thieves make general purpose cleaners, such as surface cleaners, glass cleaners, tub & tile cleaner, and toilet bowl cleaner. Bronner’s Castile soap can be formulated for use as a cleaner. Vinegar has many uses as a cleaner, as does baking soda.

Produce Wash

Young Living Thieves wash for fruits and vegetables, and Arm & Hammer baking soda
Young Living Thieves wash for fruits and vegetables, and Arm & Hammer baking soda | Source

I do a couple generous shakes of baking soda into water for washing vegetables. I also have Thieves vegetable cleaner.

Insecticide

Unscented gel soaps and peppermint essential oil
Unscented gel soaps and peppermint essential oil | Source

We keep a spray bottle with water, a few drops of unscented liquid hand soap, and a few drops of peppermint oil for bug spray. You can also use Bronner’s Castile peppermint soap diluted with water. I use peppermint spray in the kitchen for the occasional ants. My sister and I took a bottle to a family-reunion cookout at the lake. The mosquitos were bad enough, but there were some very aggressive biting flies. We sprayed our exposed arms and legs with the peppermint mixture. It worked pretty well but had to be applied frequently.

I have Orkin pest control services at my house, but they spray the outside of the house. Also, in Texas, such pest services must use botanical-based products. That’s not to say they are harmless, but as I said, they do not spray inside my house. We sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth around the porch and back door to deter fleas. You can get nematodes from your local plant nursery to treat your yard to get rid of fleas, but it requires a certain amount of diligence that I do not possess. You can also give your dogs garlic & yeast tablets to deter fleas.

Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap

Dr. Bronner's Dr. bronner's pure liquid castile soap - peppermint 32oz
Dr. Bronner's Dr. bronner's pure liquid castile soap - peppermint 32oz

Although my favorite scent from Bronner for the shower is almond, Peppermint has the added bonus being effective for making a bug spray.

 

Resources

There are many companies that specialize in natural products, or at least products with reduced chemicals, for personal care and household products.

Personal care products include things like shampoo, bath soap, hand soap, toothpaste, and deodorant.

Household products include things like laundry detergent, liquid fabric softener, dryer sheets, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, general purpose cleaner, surface cleaner, glass cleaner.

I get most of my Meyer’s and Seventh Generation products from Amazon, but I have included the direct websites for products below.

Helpful Products by Brand

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile liquid soap peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea treeDr. Mercola body lotion, shampoo, and conditionerMrs. Meyer's Clean Day dryer sheets, laundry detergent, fabric softner, and air freshenerSeventh Generation dishwasher packs, dishwasher gel detergent, dishwashing liquidYoung Living lotion, shampoo, deodorant, conditioner, peppermint oil, and Deep Relief pain relieverThieves hand sanitizer, household cleaner, spray, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, bar soap, foaming hand soap, toothpaaste, and mouthwash
Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile liquid soap peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree
Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile liquid soap peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree | Source
Dr. Mercola body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner
Dr. Mercola body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner | Source
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day dryer sheets, laundry detergent, fabric softner, and air freshener
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day dryer sheets, laundry detergent, fabric softner, and air freshener | Source
Seventh Generation dishwasher packs, dishwasher gel detergent, dishwashing liquid
Seventh Generation dishwasher packs, dishwasher gel detergent, dishwashing liquid | Source
Young Living lotion, shampoo, deodorant, conditioner, peppermint oil, and Deep Relief pain reliever
Young Living lotion, shampoo, deodorant, conditioner, peppermint oil, and Deep Relief pain reliever | Source
Thieves hand sanitizer, household cleaner, spray, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, bar soap, foaming hand soap, toothpaaste, and mouthwash
Thieves hand sanitizer, household cleaner, spray, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, bar soap, foaming hand soap, toothpaaste, and mouthwash | Source

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile

In addition to Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap, a full array of organic personal care and household products are now available. Products include bar soap, sugar soap, body lotion, toothpaste, shaving soap, hair rinse and hair crème, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and multi-purpose cleaner.

Young Living

Personal care and household items such as shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, shower gel, hand soap, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, body lotion, facial care products, toothpaste, mouthwash, household cleaner, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher powder, produce soak and spray, and pet products.

Dr. Mercola

Personal care items like shampoo, lotion, deodorant, soap, bath gel, lip balm, sunscreen, and facial care. Household items include laundry detergent and dish detergent.

Tom’s of Maine

Personal care items like toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, soap, body wash, lip balm, and baby products.

Tropical Traditions

Personal care items like toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, soap, hand sanitizer, lip moisturizer, insect repellant, and facial care. Household items include household cleaner, glass cleaner, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher powder, disinfectant, and carpet cleaner.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

Personal care items like hand lotion, liquid hand soap, foam hand soap, bar soap, hand sanitizer, body lotion, and body wash. Household items include household surface cleaner, glass cleaner, vinegar gel cleaner, baking soda cream cleaner, tub & tile cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener, air freshener, dishwashing liquid, and dishwasher packs.

Seventh Generation

Personal care items like liquid hand soap, baby products, and feminine products. Household items include household all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, tub & tile cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, wood cleaner, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener, stain remover, disinfectant, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher gel detergent, and dishwasher packs.

EWG

Look up specific products for information on safety vs toxic ingredients on the Environmental Working Group website.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson announced in 2012 they were removing harmful ingredients from their products, starting with their baby products. For more information on product safety by J&J, click here.

Helpful Websites for Evaluating Products

EWG

Look up specific products for information on safety vs toxic ingredients on the Environmental Working Group website.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson announced in 2012 they were removing harmful ingredients from their products, starting with their baby products. For more information on product safety by J&J, click here.

© 2018 rmcrayne

Comments

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      This is an important article to read and share. I use some natural products but need to check out and start using more. Since people are generally living longer than in the past, the buildup of toxins in our bodies has more time to do cumulative harm. Thanks for telling us about the products you prefer using Rose Mary. I pinned this to my health board.

    • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR

      rmcrayne 

      12 months ago from San Antonio Texas

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting Pamela, Elle, and Elayne.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 

      12 months ago from Rocky Mountains

      I have been using more and more natural products lately and feel great about it. I use vinegar in the laundry and for many other things. Also love to use baking soda in the bath and for getting rid of odors. I hope to try ore of what you have suggested. Thanks for a great hub.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 

      12 months ago from Canada

      Vinegar and baking powder are awesome cleaners. We use vinegar as the final rinse in the dishwasher- it does a great on on residue and hard water scum. And the best product ever to reduce tea stains from your china is plain old salt. Granny would sprinkle it on, give a few rubs and Presto! No more stain.

      Thanks fro all the research. I will definitely look up some of the Thieves products (nice commercial, too).

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      13 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I feel like I need to check out every product I now use. I am familar with a few of the items you mentioned, but you really gave us so many great resources to check out. This is an excellent article on the dangers of chemicals most of use on a daily basis.

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