Where to Start

Trying to make better choices for your family can be hard. There are so many choices out there, so much information, often it’s conflicting information and who to trust has become a whole new ballgame. Often we choose a product with a literal green label or claims to be natural. Natural ingredients can be toxic! Arsenic is natural and yet is high toxic. Green coloured labels trick us into thinking they are good for the environment, but it’s literally just a colour! Advertising is truly a game.

You also cannot switch out everything at once. It’s overload and you will be overwhelmed and give up. Start with one or two things, use them until it’s a habit and then when you are ready, switch out another. It’s a process. The important part is to start!

As I see it, there are 2 major items in your house that make a big impact on your family’s health when switched out for low or non-toxic options.

  1. Your laundry detergent
  2. Your cleaning product(s)

Why these two? Well, think about the clothes you wear. I bet you are wearing some sort of clothing 24/7! You also use bedding while sleeping and your cleaners get used daily (dish detergent is included here!).

Did you know that your skin is the biggest organ you have? When you put anything on your skin, it gets absorbed into your blood stream. ANYTHING. Did you know that laundry detergents today are full of toxic ingredients that coat the fibers of your clothing and then it rubs off on your skin which in turn, is absorbed into your blood stream? So if you wear clothes 24/7, you are absorbing chemicals 24/7.

Most detergents and cleaners also contain fragrance. Companies are protected from revealing what is in their “fragrance” by copyright. It’s their “trade secret” and as such, do not have to tell you what is in it. Fragrances can be made up of hundreds to thousands of toxic ingredients. And those unscented or sensitive detergents? There is still fragrance in them, just less of it or they have additional chemicals to mask the smell of them. They use the fragrance to cover the unpleasant smell of many of the other chemicals they use. Fragrance not only rubs off on your skin but are breathed in and irritate the lungs. Do you or anyone in your family have rashes, eczema, or asthma? These conditions can be caused or exacerbated by these heavily perfumed detergents. Many people think that something is clean because of the smell. Smell does NOT equal clean but companies have made us believe that is true over the years.

What about those cleaners in your house? How many different ones do you use? One for the tub, another for the toilet, floors, and windows? Many of those contain known irritants and chemicals that are carcinogens, which means cancer causing, and endocrine disruptors, which means they affect our hormonal systems. The fumes are quite toxic and even the bottle says to use in well ventilated areas, but do we ever do that? Especially at -20C in Canada? Those cleaners that claim you can spray on and then not have to rinse off? If you don’t and then say, have a bath, all those chemicals are just in your bath water. And again, will be absorbed through the skin. The chemicals used to clean your floors? It’s absorbed by you or your family’s bare feet, any small children crawling or playing on the floors and pets. We use these chemicals daily or weekly and they have a big influence on your health, and are rarely thought about.

We want our families to be safe and we think we are doing that. The commercials said so, right? I hate to break it to you but those companies don’t actually care about your health. They care about their bottom dollar, which is why they started selling these items. They want to make some money. They make it sound like they care but if they did, why would they put chemicals in them that harm you or the environment? Why would they hide what’s in their fragrance compounds? I know as humans, we are usually quite trusting and we want to trust that if these items are sold that they are safe but it’s sadly just not true. In order to make more money they continually find cheaper and cheaper chemicals to use, regardless of their safety. Look at the labels of your current cleaners. Do they have a warning or poison symbol? Do they list eye, skin or lung irritant? Do they say to use in a well ventilated area? Do they contain fragrance? If any of these, then they have potentially toxic chemicals.

So that’s why I choose these two items to replace first. If you want to start with one, make it your detergent. Know that it may take MONTHS for the other detergents to break down and finally wash off your clothes. So if it takes months to wash out, it can take months before you see an improvement in any health issues too. Don’t use it a couple times and then give up. And your sense of smell will have to detox as well. Thankfully there are other, safer options out there.

Next time, I will go over some better products you can switch to and what to watch out for when reading labels. I will also go into greater depth about specific chemicals in another post.

Have you been wanting to make a change? Do you have unexplained sensitivities or allergies? What keeps you using your current cleaners and detergent? Have a question about products or ingredients? Let me know in the comments or send me an email! I am always happy to discuss these topics.

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