How to Start a Non Toxic Cleaning Routine
These days, most of us are careful about the foods we eat.
We know consuming pesticides, additives, and preservatives can have negative consequences for bodies, so we swap out old favorites (blue box blues, anyone?) for healthier substitutes (#AnniesWhiteCheddarFORLIFE).
We’re making smarter choices about our skincare routines, too.
Alcohols, formaldehyde, phthalates, and fragrances do our skin more harm than good, so we click the “Clean” filter and shop for safer skincare products.
But, for whatever reason, most of us aren’t making smarter choices about the cleaning products we buy.
According to an EWG study of over 2,000 commonly available household cleaners, most had dangerous chemicals that could lead to asthma, various cancers, reproductive and developmental issues, and allergies.
We use detergent on the clothes we wear, dish soap on utensils and plates we eat off, and bathroom cleaner on showers and tubs we stand in. It’s time we start caring about the products we put on those surfaces.
The good news is, there are LOADS on non toxic swaps you can make for every type of cleaning product.
But it can be overwhelming (and costly) to throw away your entire cleaning closet and start from scratch. Instead, follow this three step guide to start transitioning to the best non-toxic cleaning products for your home.
Step 1: Do an Audit of Your Cleaning Cupboard and Replace “High Use” Items
Go through your cleaning closet or cupboard and write down every single product you use.
Figure out which products you run through the quickest (like dish soap) and the slowest (like car wax). Reorder your list from most used to least.
Start by replacing your top three most often used cleaners.
As a general rule of thumb, the products you use the most should be replaced first because the more often you use a cleaner, the bigger the impact it has on your health.
Step 2: Replace “High Contact” Cleaners
A couple of weeks after you swap out the “high use” items, it’s time to replace the following “high contact” cleaners (if you haven’t already):
Your skin comes into contact with these six products on an almost daily basis, so swapping them out for safer, greener cleaners is essential.
Most supermarket available laundry detergents contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (AKA Sodium Laureth Sulfate). SLS is a surfactant designed to remove dirt and oil, but it can also inflame our skin, eyes, and lungs.
Commercially available dish soap is typically made with Triclosan, which is used for its antibacterial capabilities. However, consistent contact with Triclosan can interrupt our natural endocrine and thyroid systems.
2-Butoxyethanol is a key ingredient in most all-purpose and multi-surface cleaners. It’s used for its characteristic sweet smell and high solvency powers. According to the EPA, 2-Butoxyethanol can cause narcosis, pulmonary edema, and kidney and liver damage.
Dish detergent is typically formulated with formaldehyde (sometimes labeled ‘methanol’, ‘methyl aldehyde’, or ‘methylene oxide’). It’s added to detergents as a preservative to prevent bacterial contamination. But even small concentrations of formaldehyde in the human body are toxic and can lead to a number of diseases.
Not only are single-use disinfecting wipes bad for the planet, but they’re also dangerous for our bodies. The chlorine found in most disinfecting wipes can be harmful to health, especially that of babies and small children. Chlorine can increase the risk of asthma, respiratory problems, skin problems, and heart disease in young children.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (AKA “Quats”) are found in most bathroom cleaners. Similar to triclosan, they’re used for their antibacterial properties. But Quats can also irritate skin and lead to antibiotic medicine resistance.
Step 3: Non-Toxic Cleaning Swaps You Can Make Later
If you aren’t using or coming into contact with a product daily, there’s no need to switch it out right away. Instead, swap out these products the next time you use them.