Ahh spring is in the air! With the changing of the seasons, you’re probably having the urge to do a little organizing and deep cleaning! But, have you ever considered the impact the toxic ingredients in the cleaners you use may have on your health?
Common Toxic Ingredients to Look Out For:
Unfortunately, many of our products today are filled with toxic ingredients. Whether it’s what we clean our home with or the beauty products we use daily. Because these toxic ingredients can negatively affect your health and the health of your family, you may want to look out for and avoid them. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- Fragrance: When you see an ingredient labeled “Fragrance” with no footnote, beware. Legally there can be a combination of nearly 3,000 ingredients under the one name “fragrance”. Fragrance mixtures are associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, potential harm to the reproductive system, a known endocrine disruptor, and a possible carcinogen.
- Methylisothiazolinone was named allergen of the year a few years back. Linked to skin issues, high concern for acute aquatic toxicity, and neurotoxicity. Methylisothiazolinone has heavy restrictions/is banned in Europe, Canada, and Japan.
- 2-Butoxyethanol is a common ingredient in multi-purpose cleaners and window sprays. Extended exposure to 2-butoxyethanol can cause high-grade liver and kidney damage, narcosis, and pulmonary edema.
- Ammonia works great as a polisher and glass cleaner, however it also irritates human tissue. If you have lung/breathing problems, you’ll likely notice pain and discomfort quickly. If you don’t, prolonged exposure will still affect you and can cause permanent damage to your mucous membranes and cardiovascular system
- Phthalates a reproductive and developmental toxin found in perfumes, nail polishes, haircare products, eat
- Parabens are used as a preservative in beauty products, research has shown that they cause an increased production of estrogen. When applied on the skin parabens mimic estrogen that triggers excessive cell division int he breast eventually leading to breast cancer.
- PEG a thickening agent found in skincare products can cause cancer and respirate disorder.
- Hydroquinone is a known carcinogen but still used in skincare products to lighten the skin.
These are just a few common, toxic ingredients in cleaning and beauty products. I suggest with all products you use, ie. candles, cleaning products, hair products, skincare, makeup, etc., it is important to be aware of the toxic ingredients in them!
Watch out for Greenwashing!
Whether this is new news to you, or you have been on the clean product journey for a while now, your may be trying to purchase more natural and less toxic products for your home. But, watch out for greenwashing! Greenwashing is when companies make unsubstantiated or misleading claims about the environmental or health benefits of a product. Examples of these brands include: Mrs. Meyers, Method, Honest Company, and Everspring.
I know that this can feel a bit overwhelming, so what should you do now?
My advice it to go through your home and clean out your products. Take a close look at the ingredients. If you are uncertain about one, look it up on a trusted website like the EWG. Then look to replace your toxic products with more natural, clean products. You can even make some of your own very easily!
Here’s non-toxic alternative to household cleaners
Here are some of my go-to simple cleaning product recipes…
Simple, non-toxic Cleaning Product Recipes
When it comes to cleaning products, it isn’t complicated – hello vinegar and baking soda! Another benefit to making your own cleaning supplies is that its significantly cheaper than purchasing ready made products!
1. All-Purpose Spray
- 1 Cup White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Distilled or Filtered Water
- Optional 10-15 Drops Essential Oils (Tea tree,
2. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 1 Cup Distilled or Filtered Water
- 1/2 Cup Baking Soda
- 1/2 Cup Castile Soap
- Optional 15-20 Drops Essential Oil (Lemon Tea Tree, Orange, ect.)
3. Window Cleaner
- 2 Cups Distilled or Filtered Water
- 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
Not into the DIY’s? No worries, I’ve got you! The cleanest brand I have found, used, and liked is Branch Basics. They sell one concentrate that can be used for all your cleaning needs just use different ratios of cleaner and water. Bon Ami cleaning powder is another one – it’s great for cleaning toilets and sinks. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is a great option for DIY recipes or on it’s own.
What About Beauty Products?
When it comes to beauty products, it can feel a bit harder to toss the toxic and embrace the clean. Just because you want to use safer products, doesn’t mean you want to omit makeup altogether or go full blown “crunchy”. When I first started switching over to more natural makeup, I could not find a mascara I liked. I still used a drugstore one until I found the one I now love which is by Beautycounter. Start by simply replacing products as you run out. This can help alleviate some of the overwhelming feelings as well as aiding in less waste.
Some very good non-toxic, clean beauty brands are:
Talking about clean products is one of my favorite things to discuss so if you want in on more conversations like this go check out my Instagram @littleurbanlife join me there for clean swaps and support on your journey as well as yummy recipes and general wellness tips!