Advice from Non-Toxic Experts
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Ania, Leleki: "1:1 mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. I use it for everything – cleaning the kitchen, spraying the corners at the fight sight of ants, and, of course, cleaning up the occasional dog puke."
Maia, Gimme the Good Stuff: "Less it more when it comes to personal care products! You don’t need to put lotion on a baby (unless they have a condition like eczema, perhaps). They probably don’t even need shampoo. Does every inch of your own body need lotion on it, for that matter? Or maybe just the dry parts? Using fewer personal care products—especially for kids and babies--not only saves you money, but also lowers your exposure to a range of potential toxins. As a bonus, you’ll also be saving the planet by having fewer empty plastic bottles to deal with!"
Meg, Interior Medicine: "Sleep with the windows cracked every night of the year, so carbon dioxide doesn’t build up in the bedroom. It keeps you asleep, and helps you wake up feeling refreshed, without headaches or grogginess."
Irina, I Read the Labels for You: "A non-toxic journey doesn’t have to be expensive. You can actually save money if you stop using toxic products such as air fresheners and perfume."
Yasmine, The Gentle Nursery: "I often get questions about how someone can afford non-toxic living, especially when some of these items can be more expensive mainstream products. I think the best way to hack non-toxic living is to simultaneously pursue simplicity. For example, Alton Brown recommends that any kitchen appliance or item you buy should serve more than one purpose. Go with this kind of mindset and simplify while you upgrade and make healthy swaps… buy less, but buy quality. Think: do you need that baby food steamer, or does your stainless steel steamer basket do the job? Can you use fewer beauty products? How about switching from 5 cleaning products to 2? That’s how you make non-toxic living more affordable… by cutting out the “extra” items that have been marketed to you!
Anneliese, Organic Wellness Mama: "Baking soda and castile soap for a homemade soft scrub for EVERYTHING in the home! Appliances, sinks, showers, grout, toilets, etc.!"
Sarah, Low-Toxic Rabbit: "Salt as a Pot and Pan Scrub: Coarse salt, like kosher salt, can be used as a natural scrub for pots and pans with stubborn stains. Sprinkle salt on the surface, add a bit of water, and scrub away!👌 "
Jen, non_toxicmama: "store food in glass (mason jars are an inexpensive option) to avoid the harmful chemicals/heavy metals found in plastic and aluminium. "
Aida, 3 Little Plums: "My Drinking Water Filter"
Ania, Leleki: "I love Attitude’s Laundry Detergent for babies with sensitive skin and their eco refills. I have a very sensitive skin and break out easily from various detergents and fabric softeners, even the unscented ones. This detergent has been a real savior for my family, and I use it religiously."
Ashley, Awakening Spaces: "My favorite non toxic product in my home is my new limewash painted bedroom. I’m obsessed with how we can make an existing room look like a natural built oasis using mineral paint."
Eva, Simple+Delight: "In my household, there are two indispensable non-toxic cleaning products that I absolutely cherish. The first is 'Force of Nature,' and the second is 'Pink Solution.' These two gems not only deliver exceptional cleaning results but also contribute to a healthier, toxin-free environment.
'Force of Nature' is a game-changer in the cleaning world. It provides my kitchen and bathrooms with that spotless, "bleach-clean" level of disinfection without any of the harmful chemicals. The fragrance it leaves behind is not only pleasant but also imparts a refreshing, just-cleaned aura throughout my home.
The other household hero is 'Pink Solution,' an enzyme cleaner that boasts incredible versatility. This remarkable product can be applied in both liquid and paste forms, making it suitable for cleaning and treating virtually anything. What's more, it's completely odorless and impressively long-lasting. Whether it's tackling stubborn stains on carpets, rejuvenating clothing, or revitalizing various surfaces, Pink Solution has never let me down. It doubles as a laundry detergent, stain remover, degreaser, and serves numerous other cleaning purposes."
Maia, Gimme the Good Stuff: "I’m really obsessed with my plastic-free food storage items. I haven’t had to use a plastic baggie or Saran wrap in years! My favorite brands are Food Huggers, Stasher, For Good, WeanGreen, and Dot & Army".
Meg, Interior Medicine: "Our Avocado mattress. It's very comforting knowing I’m spending 1/3 of my life on organic, natural materials without any chemicals."
Irina, I Read the Labels for You: "This is so hard to choose. I wouldn’t look young, feel energetic and be happy without a lot of the non-toxic products that fill our house, which are all listed on my website. But if I have to choose one, I’d say our water filter. Drinking healthy and tasty water is an absolute must for me."
Yasmine, The Gentle Nursery: "Hands down, my water filters! I love my air filters, cookware, beauty products, and cleaning products, but I think that the most important items in my home are my water filters. The level of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, contaminants, and metals in tap water is disturbing, and having high-quality water filters is the best line of defense. In my old house, I had a whole-home and kitchen filter, but I’m currently in the process of moving so I am using a countertop reverse osmosis water filter, a pitcher filter from @clearlyfiltered, and shower filters (linked on the blog)."
Anneliese, Organic Wellness Mama: "CASTILE SOAP. It’s so versatile! I use it for so much! Hand soap, baby wash, as a floor solution when mopping, on counter tops, cleaning solution for all things house, exterior on house (when power washing, washing dishes, in laundry, SO MUCH. And it’s affordable!"
Sheila, HealthyHOME Media: "My ionized water filtration machine filters and charges the hydrogen in the water so it reduces oxidative stress in the body. AAA+++"
Sarah, Low-Toxic Rabbit: "Castile soap - I use it for almost everything, from washing greasy dishes and cleaning the floors to making low-tox bubbles for the kids! 😆 "
Jen, non_toxicmama: "My organic mattress and organic bedding. We spend the 8 most important hours of our day in our bed (it's where we restore, and when our body (especially our brain - detoxifies). You don't want to spend that time sleeping on the harmful chemicals found in conventional mattresses (especially memory foam). "
Aida, 3 Little Plums: "Dr Philip Landrigan,previouslyDean for Global Health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (where he has held every impressive environmental health related position you could think of but I got to know his work when he was at Mt Sinai.) Today he is founding director the Global Public Health Program at Boston College, my alma mater."
Irina, I Read the Labels for You: "My mom and my husband. Even when my mom was already very ill, she helped with my baby so I could spend time developing the I Read Labels For You business. I owe a debt of gratitude to her, as she allowed me to spread my message far and wide that reducing exposure to potentially toxic chemicals products can improve your health. And my husband agreed to be the sole bread winner for our family for many years before I started making a living."
Sarah, Low-Toxic Rabbit: "Lead Aware NZ - Amanda is incredibly knowledgeable in all things low-tox. I have learned so much from her, especially regarding lead. I’m grateful, as she prompted me to test for lead before painting, which is really important as we have three young children. If exposed, it could significantly impact them, including their IQ."
Jen, non_toxicmama: "Dr. Stephanie Seneff who is a senior research scientist at MIT. Her book "A Toxic Legacy: How the Weed Killer Glyphosate is destroying our Health and the Environment" is a must-read for anyone interested in non-toxic living. "
Aida, 3 Little Plums: "Small steps = big impact Or It is not a diet. It is not a detox. It is a new way of life.”
Amanda, Healthy House on the Block: "Plan Ahead! While you don’t need to do a total overhaul all at once, you can plan out what items you’d like to eventually replace in your home to be a less toxic version. If it’s a bigger purchase, budget for it and watch for sales. You can do this for everything from soaps to new flooring. It will help you move forward without stress and overwhelm."
Andy, The Green Design Center: "What good does it do to save the environment when we're still poisoning the human occupants?"
Ania, Leleki: "Less is more. Less plastic, less additives, less chemicals."
Catherine, In On Around: "Don't overlook that baby steps are still steps."
Meg, Interior Medicine: "It sounds weird, but — you literally become your environment. You inhale, ingest, and absorb the air, light, water and materials around you. For a species that spends 90% of their time indoors, and has such a high burden of chronic disease, we should take our interiors seriously!"
Irina, I Read the Labels for You: "Small changes matter.” Change first what you can change easily and celebrate each change you make. They do matter!"
Patty, Two Sisters Eco-Textiles: "You are powerful. What you buy will be produced. Learn about how powerful your fabric choices can be."
Yasmine, The Gentle Nursery: "Funny enough, I actually dream of starting up a non-profit organization one day that would put positive messages on billboards! I think the first one I would share is that “stressing about toxins is toxic!” And the second one I’d share is “you are important” because I think everyone could use a little reminder of that these days!"
Anneliese, Organic Wellness Mama: "Read labels. Learn ingredients. No one cares more about your family than you do."
Sheila, HealthyHOME Media: "Everyone Deserves to Live in a Healthy Home - find a wellness focused realtor near you……….. check out HealthyHOME Media."
Sarah, Low-Toxic Rabbit: "Are toxic chemicals in our homes stealing our children’s future? "
Jen, non_toxicmama: "Avoid exposure to toxins by avoiding FRAGRANCE" (When you see that ingredient listed on a personal care or home cleaning product you have no idea what is actually in that product. Company's use the umbrella ingredient "fragrance" to hide a multitude of harmful ingredients linked to cancer, infertility, ADD/ADHD, asthma, migraines and more.) "
Amanda, Healthy House on the Block: "Make a habit of removing dust from your home on a regular basis. It’s a free and simple way to remove toxins that plague our house dust: flame retardants, pesticides and other toxins. Use wet dusting cloths, a HEPA filter vacuum and high quality HVAC filters to get as much house dust out of your home as possible."
Andy, The Green Design Center: "I'd encourage everyone to just make the first change. Healthier household cleaners, taking the shoes off at the door...something easy, Don't feel like it's all or nothing, baby steps add up."
Ania, Leleki: "In the spirit of “Less is More” - If you can make this choice, get fever high-quality things, and chose ethical brands."
Ashley, Awakening Spaces: "reduce exposure to EMF and blue light block your home and begin to utilize the energy of the sun for ultimate healing potential!"
Eva, Simple+Delight: "If there's a single change I would ardently advocate for, it's urging everyone to become more mindful of the cumulative chemical burden we are exposed to on a daily basis. While a single generic product may not be highly toxic in isolation, the amalgamation of these mainstream, potentially harmful substances can significantly increase our overall chemical exposure. This, in turn, may lead to a plethora of health issues, including disruptions to the endocrine system.
Being conscious of the chemicals present in the products we use daily and opting for non-toxic alternatives whenever possible can go a long way in reducing this chemical load and safeguarding our well-being. It's a small but impactful change that can make a world of difference in our lives."
Maia, Gimme the Good Stuff: "Invest in an electronic air filter! While of course we encourage our readers to bring only natural, non-emitting products into their homes, it's usually unrealistic to do a complete overhaul to detox a home all at once. There are also likely VOCs in flooring, wall paint, and other construction materials in most homes. So while a high quality electronic filter isn't cheap, it can really scrub the indoor air—and as a bonus, it traps bacteria and viruses."
Irina, I Read the Labels for You: "It depends on the person. If buying a water filter won’t induce financial stress, do that. If it is easier for you to stop using synthetic fragrance, do that. Any change can contribute to your health. "
Yasmine, The Gentle Nursery: "Non-toxic living is about so much more than just swapping out products. It’s also about living a healthy life and cultivating a healthy mind. Emotions that aren’t released are stored in the body, and this can contribute to illness and other issues. I would say that right now, one thing I’d love for everyone reading this to do is to find someone in their life that they need to forgive, and silently forgive that person. No, you don’t need to call them or even speak to them. Forgive them in your own heart and do this to free yourself of past hurts. I like to start my morning with my forgiveness list; some people take several days before they get off that list!"
Patty, Two Sisters Eco-Textiles: "Insist that all the fabric they buy and everything they buy made of fabric is made of GOTS certified fabric. GOTS = the Global Organic Textile Standard. People search for ways to (easily) lighten their eco footprint."
Anneliese, Organic Wellness Mama: "LEARN how to read labels and ingredients. Having that knowledge in your arsenal is the key to toxin free living. Learn from credible resources. Not Google."
Sheila, HealthyHOME Media: "Become aware of the toxins you are bringing in your home and make efforts to reduce your toxic load so your immune system can function better. So whether it’s to swap cleaners, improve ventilation, replace filters, add water filtration, and purchase products that you know are not toxic….. it’s all going to add up to a more comfortable and joyful home with less allergens and chemical triggers. "
Sarah, Low-Toxic Rabbit: "Choose organic or spray-free food where you can and avoid processed food! "
Aida, 3 Little Plums: "I wash my kids' hands more (because little kids touch everything including dust that settles on items and floor that contains numerous harmful chemicals) and I also make sure to protect my own body’s natural detoxifying mechanisms by dry brushing, drinking water, sweating, eating certain foods etc. because while reducing exposure to every day, toxins is super important we cannot live in a bubble. We will always be exposed to some harmful chemicals so it’s important to make sure your body can do the best job possible detoxifying too! Also - I stress less. I know I am not 100% non-toxic.. and that's o.k. I follow the 80/20 rule and don't stress too much about exposure to some toxins I can't control."
Amanda, Healthy House on the Block: "Stress less and focus on the positive steps I’m taking on a daily basis. I used to be especially frustrated that some things in my space — and especially my kids’ spaces were not completely toxin free. Now I focus on how much we do have control over and choose not to stress over anything that I don’t have the means to change."
Andy, The Green Design Center: "Back 30 years ago when I started consulting on healthy home builds, I really tried to encourage clients to build using methods like Insulated Concrete Form and straw bale to eliminate the the use of wood in the exterior framing for mold resistance. I now have tried and true methods and components to build a traditional wood stick frame home that will virtually eliminate the possibility of mold in the walls. I also spend much more time helping the design build team to eliminate moisture during and after construction."
Ashley, Awakening Spaces: "I wipe down my shower with a towel after each use. Standing water in our showers causes a host of issues and can quickly cause mold and bacteria to grow that we’re easily exposed to. Keeping it dry is the best defense."
Eva, Simple+Delight: "One significant change I've implemented in my life, armed with the knowledge I've gained, revolves around my approach to fragrances in products. I'm acutely aware of the potential hazards associated with added fragrances in various consumer goods. Consequently, I make a conscious effort to select fragrance-free products whenever available.
The reason behind this shift is that fragrance is not subject to rigorous control or disclosure regulations. Companies are not mandated to divulge the chemical composition of their fragrances, and this lack of transparency raises concerns. Fragrances have been linked to various health issues, including allergies and respiratory problems. Hence, by opting for fragrance-free alternatives, I aim to minimize my exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and prioritize the well-being of my family and myself. It's a small but meaningful step towards creating a safer and healthier living environment."
Catherine, In On Around: "Everyone can go into their kitchen cabinets or personal care products and find their most used product to swap out for something cleaner. Yes, it's just one product, but those little changes compound. You don't have to buy the most expensive protein powder or throw out all of your makeup, but over time make conscious changes."
Irina, I Read the Labels for You: "I don’t stress as much as I used to even when I’m exposed to potentially toxic chemicals."
Patty, Two Sisters Eco-Textiles: "I talk to store managers and other “decision makers” to make sure they know that I want GOTS certified products. I search them out."
Yasmine, The Gentle Nursery: "Well, I hold my breath in public A LOT — anytime I get a whiff of fragrance. For example, my gym has strong air fresheners at the entrance, and I just know that when I walk in, I need to hold my breath. FUN times!"
Anneliese, Organic Wellness Mama: "I allow our bodies to heal naturally before making any attempt to supplement anything."
Sarah, Low-Toxic Rabbit: "Never heating food in plastic. I used to do it all the time when I was younger! Once I learned that, in fact, it was leaching chemicals into my food, I stopped immediately."
Jen, non_toxicmama: "Get outside as much as possible. Indoor air is up to 200 times more polluted than outdoor air AND sunlight is a nutrient. We need to absorb sunlight through our eyes and skin in order for our body to produce the proper hormones and neurotransmitters for sleep, mood, fat burning and lower stress. Take light-breaks throughout the day even if it's to just step outside for 5-10 minutes. 6. I turn off all screens at 8pm and do not look at my phone first thing in the morning - instead I go directly outside to re-set my circadian rhythm for the day. This allows me to sleep better at night and helps to boost your mood by increasing serotonin."