Our home is meant to be a safe haven. Unknowingly we bring in products which are harmful or can be harmful to our families; especially our kids and pets who can unknowingly come in harm’s way.
I have put together a small list of such harmful home products and suggested viable alternatives which you can adopt to make your homes safer and healthier.
- Non-stick Cookware – Ease of use should not take precedence over safety and health. The coating which makes utensils non-stick is feared to be toxic and carcinogenic when heated to high temperatures.
Alternative – Cast-iron skillets, ceramic and stainless steel skillets are safer alternatives.
- Mothballs – Remove any mothball from your home today. They release vapors’ which are extremely toxic which can cause nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and eye and nasal irritation. Naphthalene – a major ingredient in mothballs can damage your red blood cells and is feared to be carcinogenic.
Alternative – Use airtight garment bags or natural alternatives like lavender sachets and cedar chips.
- Window and Glass Cleaners – That blue liquid that promises to leave your glass a mirror surfaces sparkling often does. What they don’t tell you is that it contains harmful chemicals like ammonia and methanol which are allergens and irritants.
Alternative – Natural, plant-based glass cleaners or a mild castile soap and water solution.
- Air Fresheners – Wow, they smell so nice – only if they were not full of Formaldehyde and Phenol; carcinogenic and skin irritants. They inhibit your natural ability to smell with a nerve-deadening agent or lacing your nasal passages with a thin layer of oil.
Alternative – Fresh flowers or essential oil based room fresheners. Even diffusers can do the job without harming you.
- Plastic Food Containers – Not only are they damaging to the environment as they don’t biodegrade, but they also release harmful chemicals into the food stored in them harming you. Even the so-called BPA-free containers are not completely safe.
Alternative – Glass or stainless steel containers are healthier and safer.
- Mosquito Repellents – Most mosquito, insect, flea and tick repellents contain DEET or other harmful chemicals exposure to which may cause cancer and nerve damage in the long term and skin allergies and asthma, etc. in the short run. So make sure never to use these unsafe repellants.
Alternative – Essential oil based repellants are a good alternative. They may not smell the best but are effective. DIY – Use Citronella and Lemongrass essential oils in your diffusers.
- Antibacterial Soaps and Shampoos – Commercial interests took the forefront as we used these products containing triclosan and triclocarban. But more than the bacteria these supposedly drove away, including the good bacteria which we needed, these chemicals themselves are toxic – keep away. They are also damaging to the environment.
Alternative – Castile soaps and SLS & Paraben free shampoos made with natural and organic ingredients.
- Floor Cleaners and Laundry Detergents – These contain enzymes and grease-cutting agents like ammonia, ethylene glycol monobutyl acetate, sodium hypochlorite and/or trisodium phosphate. Too technical? Well, all you need to know is that these can cause skin, eye and nasal irritation and are even more dangerous if ingested, especially by kids and pets. How will you control this if your floors are getting mopped with them? So stop using these at once.
Alternative – Plant and coconut oil surfactant-based cleaners, scented with essential oils. These are slightly pricier but are equally effective and totally safe.
- Scented Lotions, Hair Oils, and Baby Products – Yes we all love to smell good, but at what cost? Artificial fragrances are made using phthalates and BHA, that disrupt our endocrine system making us susceptible to health issues.
Alternative – Essential and natural oil-based products which are great for your skin and smell exceptional too.
- Bathroom Cleaners – Harsh environments require harsh cleaning for toilet bowls and drains, that is totally understandable. But to use this excuse to bring acids and corrosive alkalis that can cause breathing problems, skin and eye irritations and stomach pain, etc. is not acceptable. Get rid of these today.
Alternative – Baking Soda and Vinegar are great to clean toilets. Alternative products based on these and other natural ingredients are also becoming readily available now.
It will take an effort, an extraordinary effort, but once we start saying no to these ingredients in our daily use products, big companies will be forced to offer us healthier and safer alternatives. Till then there are responsible products which are slightly more expensive and you need to look for them as they are not backed by false advertising, but they offer viable alternatives which are safe. Also, traditional home remedies and natural ingredients are also quite effective and inexpensive.
So make your home a safe zone starting today. Get rid of all toxic and chemical laden products and adopt a safe alternative.
Share all your great safe and healthy home product ideas with me in the comments below and I will update this blow time to time to offer more and better advice.