THE DIRTY DOZEN OF YOUR HOME
Have you ever seen the “Dirty Dozen” list for food? It’s a great list! It basically tells you what produce is the top priority to buy organic instead of conventional. Lots of the conventional fruits and veggies on the list really soak in the chemical-based pesticides sprayed on them because of their soft skin so the dirty dozen list tells you what you make sure you buy organic. Here is my list of “Dirty Dozen” for your home. Some of the items on my list might cost more to replace, but I’ve tried make sure most of the items that are toxic can be easily replaced with budget-friendly options!
1 | Teflon & non-stick cookware
This goes for pans, baking sheets, pie pans, and any other kitchen cookware. Teflon is what most non-stick cookware is made of, and it is incredibly toxic! Believe it or not, if you overheat a Teflon pan without putting food in it, the fumes it releases can actually kill a canary that is in the room. Yikes!
2 | Mattresses
Conventional mattresses are filled with chemicals including formaldehyde and flame retardants. Both of these are known to be carcinogens when exposed to over long periods of time. We spend approximately one-third of our life on our mattress. While this is a higher priced item to replace, I highly recommend saving up for a natural latex or organic mattress!
3 | Carpet
Again, this is a high dollar item to replace, but I’ve read that new carpet is the most toxic thing in your home. If possible, just have your old carpet cleaned (do not get the stain guard option!) by an eco-friendly company, if possible. If you want to replace flooring, go with wool carpet, tile, or wood flooring.
4 | Flame retardant
This is usually found on children’s pajamas and cloth toys (teepees, etc.), upholstered furniture, and mattresses. Opt for natural fibers like 100% cotton, choose organic when possible, and free of harmful chemicals. Second hand is always a great, more affordable option for many of these items as well!
5 | BPA plastic
I’m not a fan of plastic of any kind, but BPA plastic is one of the worst. Look for ways to start eliminating it from your home. Buy wood or metal toys for your children, and look for plastic alternatives for your kitchenware.
6 | Deodorant
Many deodorants on the market contain toxic fragrances and aluminum which has been linked to cancer. Instead, try making your own or find some natural alternatives you can buy in stores that don’t have aluminum or harmful fragrances.
7 | Air fresheners
Synthetic air fresheners, or anything that involves “fragrance,” is highly toxic. The good news is there are some great alternatives out there! Opt for 100% beeswax candles that smell amazing. Consider grabbing a $50-70 diffuser off of Amazon, and get a few essential oils. My favorite is orange essential oil, because it makes my house smell so fresh.
8 | Microwave
You really don’t need it. I’m serious! It’s amazing how creative you get on re-heating leftovers when you simply don’t have a microwave.
9 | Paint
There are some great low-VOC option house paints now. I also love to use Old Fashion Milk Paint for paint projects with the kids or painting a new piece of furniture.
10 | Bedding
One simple way to get rid of toxins is to change your sheets out to 100% organic cotton sheets that are ideally undyed. I like to buy the “natural” color, because it’s the least likely to be dyed with toxic dyes. You spend 6-10 hours a day on your bed. Make sure what you are breathing in and lying on is safe.
11 | Laundry detergent
We often associate “clean” with smelling clean. The problem is most of that detergent “clean” smell is actually fragrance that is highly toxic. You are rubbing it on your skin all day and walking around breathing in the fumes. Like deodorant, try making your own or check out EWG’s product guide to find a safer (and still effective!) laundry detergent.
12 | Perfume & cologne
Perfume is FULL of really terrible chemicals. I highly suggest getting rid of it altogether unless it is made of 100% essential oils (which is rare and expensive).
I completely understand this is a lot of stuff! But remember to take it one step at a time. Pick one of the dirty dozen that doesn’t feel overwhelming to change, and make that change! Then next week or next month, pick another. Within a year you will have made some drastic changes to you and your family’s health!