Safe, Healthy Alternatives to Toxic Cleaning Products

April 09, 2019

"Whether chemicals are delivered through food or from contact with your skin, or from the air you breathe, exposure to toxic materials will cause internal disruption to your endocrines and your immune system."

Seemingly ordinary, everyday cleaning products like laundry detergent or household cleaners could be making you sick, adding to your daily inflammatory load.

The products you choose to use to wash your hair, clean your clothes, and more can be as important to your health as the foods you eat. Find out today, with Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD, what products in your house you don't realize might be making or keeping you unhealthy and increasing your inflammation. Plus, learn which alternatives Dr. Nancy recommends!

Video Highlights

  • 00:44: This year's EPW "Dirty Dozen"
  • 03:36: Dr. Nancy's health equation
  • 06:41: Shocking statistics about the toxins you're exposed to every day
  • 13:05: One of the most common chemicals is 1,4-Dioxane
  • 19:19: Alternative home products
  • 20:02: Natural supplies to always keep on-hand
  • 22:53: Scented Vinegar solution
  • 29:00: Fabric softener
  • 29:14: All-purpose cleaner
  • 29:33: Washing machine freshener
  • 29:44: Pet odor remover
  • 30:14: Hard water spot remover
  • 31:00: Hard to clean floors
  • 31:29: Natural weed killer
  • 31:53: Natural scented body spray

Inflammatory Things You Use Daily

We spend a lot of time talking about the things we put in our bodies, but we don't spend enough time talking about the things we put on and around our bodies. 

You may have heard of the Dirty Dozen, which is an annual list released by the Environmental Working Group listing the top twelve products containing the highest amounts of pesticides and chemicals. This year's list included things like strawberries, spinach, celery, apples, grapes, peaches, nectarines, and for the first time, kale! This means its best to avoid these items if they're not organic. Click here for the complete list.

If you follow our videos and blogs, you also know our health equation that you should live by for optimal wellness, which is:

Less Inflammation In + More Inflammation Out = A Healthier You

So not only do we need to be careful about what we put into our bodies in terms of food, we have to make sure we supplement with the right supplements that will help fight inflammation in the body, like Smarter Curcumin. Curcumin is one of nature's best inflammatory fighters, so it's a key element for the "more inflammation out" part of the equation. 

But high quality foods and supplements are still only part of the equation. We also need to really be aware of what we are putting on and around our bodies! This includes how we clean our dishes, and what we fill our homes with. Most home environments in the U.S. contain toxins and chemical products that could be triggering inflammation in our bodies, and the bodies of our family members! 

Many of these dangerous toxins can be found in products most of us use on a daily basis. Keep reading to learn what types of household items contain the highest levels of carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane... plus, learn how to make homemade, all natural, toxin-free cleaners and body sprays!

Shocking Statistics

One out of every 3 chemical cleaning products contains ingredients known to be extremely harmful to human and environmental health. Popular products like laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, dryer sheets, Lysol, and more contain these dangerous toxins. This is alarming, as Lysol is used by hospitals, schools, and more for disinfecting the environment! But these have been shown in study after study to be harmful to your health.

Commercial cleaning companies are under no legal obligation to research how their products might impact human health. A study comparing women who work outside of the home to those who worked at home found a 54% higher risk of developing cancer in women who worked at home! The study concluded that this was directly correlated to chemicals found in household products.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that levels of air pollution inside the home can be 2-5x higher, and sometimes 100x higher, than outdoor levels. 

If you've ever used a soap or shampoo, or put on a freshly washed shirt, and noticed a skin irritation immediately after use, that's inflammation. That's your body telling you that something you're using is triggering inflammation in your body.

If you've had a reaction to cologne, or body lotion, or experienced a breakout after using them, this can also be an immune response triggered by the product. Any type of skin irritation can lead to a body response full of inflammation, and most of it can be traced back to the chemicals in modern products you come into contact with. In fact, household cleaning products account for almost 10% of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. poison control centers.

Watch out for what is causing physical discomfort in and outside of your body. Making simple changes can be a game-changer!

1,4-Dioxane

One of the most commonly used chemicals in cosmetics, detergents, soaps, and shampoos, which contributes to inflammation in the body, is something called 1,4-Dioxane. This chemical often hides in your favorite products, disguised under a variety of pseudonyms, including PEG, Oxynol, Polyethylene, Polyethylene glycol, Polyoxyethylene, and ETH. 

If the labels of your products contain any of the ingredients listed above, they actually contain 1,4-Dioxane. This dangerous chemical is in over 1,000 products on the market today. It's an inflammatory, cancer-causing, endocrine-disrupting carcinogen that should be avoided whenever possible. A 2016 report by the Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program (NTP) found that this chemical is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals in carcinogens, studies in experimental animals." The EPA has also classified 1,4-Dioxane as "likely to be carcinogenic to humans." Yet somehow, the chemical industry and lobbyists have kept it legal to use in products. So until that changes, here's what you need to look out for. 

According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC), many consumer products used in most American homes and manufactured by giant U.S. corporations contain a wide range of carcinogenic and other toxic ingredients and contaminants, to which most of us are exposed on a daily basis. Products that contain high concentrations of dangerous toxins even include baby products, such as diaper powder! Some of them even sport misleading labels like "natural" and "clean" which can lead you to believe they are safe and nontoxic. 

Whether chemicals are delivered through food or from contact with your skin, or from the air you breathe, exposure to toxic materials will cause internal disruption to your endocrines and your immune system. Of course it's impossible to control 100% of your surroundings! But you can be more aware of the items you choose to buy and use, to minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals. So let's focus on what we can control!

Natural, Alternative Home Products

Try some of these alternatives to commercial products. These are effective, inexpensive, they smell fantastic, and best of all they contain zero harmful chemicals or toxins.

But first, here's a list of general of natural supplies always on hand:

  • glass spray bottles or mason jars
  • microfiber or bamboo cleaning wipes
  • essential oils in your favorite smells
  • natural sponges
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lemon juice
  • Wool dryer balls (tip: put some essential oils on these and use in place of dryer sheets for great-smelling, static free clothes)
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda

Now check out these wonderful natural recipes!

Scented Vinegar Solution

Using a glass measuring cup, measure 2 cups of white vinegar, and heat it up. You can heat in a microwave for 2 minutes, or bring it to a boil on the stove, but do not heat it in aluminum pan.

Next, add 10-20 drops of essential oils to a mason jar. You can use any essential oils you want, or a blend. Lemon is a super antiseptic oil that is often used for cleaning. As an alternative, you can also use lemon peels or orange peels shaved into the jar. Then pour the boiling vinegar into the jar with the oils. Feel free to tweak this recipe by adding basil, cloves, sliced up oranges or limes, or anything that you like the smell of. Allow it to sit for 24 hours, or a little longer if you prefer a stronger smell.

After 24 hours, put it through a strainer to remove peels, herbs, or anything else you added, leaving only the scented vinegar. Put it back in the mason jar or into a glass spray bottle, and store in a dark, cool place. 

Combine 1 cup of the scented vinegar with 1 cup of water for a powerful, non-toxic cleaner to cut through grease and grime with ease, and naturally deodorize. You can use this amazing solution for nearly any surface, including windows! For additional help with areas that need scrubbing, pour a little baking soda onto the surface.

Bonus tip: Change up your scents throughout the year for a pleasant smell that fits the season: mint and lavender in the spring, lemon in the summer, cloves and orange peels during the holidays. Here are some of the amazing ways you can use your vinegar solution:

  • Fabric Softener. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to help remove detergent build-up, soften your fabrics, and deodorize the laundry.
  • All-Purpose Cleaner. Fill a glass spray bottle with 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water and use it to clean household surfaces
  • Washing Machine Freshener. Fill all the compartments with vinegar and run your washing machine on the clean cycle.
  • Pet Odor Remover. Clean your pet stains, and then spray the area with a mixture of 1/3 vinegar, and 2/3 water to deodorize the area where they sleep and play.
  • Hard Water Spot Remover. Spray shower doors, faucets, shower doors, and bathtubs with vinegar to remove hard water spots and mineral build-up. Add 1 cup of vinegar to your sink and fill it with water, then soak cloudy glasses in the sink to remove mineral build-up.
  • Hard to clean floors. Use a mixture of 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water to mop the floors. Even refer your Swiffer bottles with this solution.
  • Kill Weeds Naturally. Spray weeds and areas you don't want plants to grow with vinegar! 

Natural Body Spray

This can be used on both your body and face. A great combination for this spray is the essential oils, lavender, sandalwood, and lemon. Lemon is energizing, and lavender and sandalwood are both calming and soothing.

Measure 1/2 cup of water in a glass measuring cup. Add just a little rubbing alcohol, which will aid in cleansing the skin of mineral buildup and oils, and restoring pH balance. Add 5-20 drops of lavender essential oil, lemon essential oil, and sandalwood essential oil (feel free to adjust these amounts to your preference). Pour into a mason jar or glass spray bottle. Make sure to label it! You can spray this all over your body for a healthy, great smelling refresh. Use this instead of perfumes and colognes, which are very toxic to your body. 

You can also change up the essential oils if you like. Jasmine and magnolia oil is another great combination, or some men may prefer a combination like orange, sandalwood, fir, or pine. 

Stay tuned for future videos where you'll learn how to make body scrubs and other natural products!

We know it's next to impossible to make all your cleaning products at home. In the cases where you can't do this, look for the best all-natural products on the market including shampoos, detergents, and cleaning products produced by The Honest Company, Seventh Generation, or Method. All of these companies put a lot of money and research into creating healthy, quality products that are free from harmful chemicals and toxins.

So remember, where you can, avoid the harmful chemicals and toxins used in cosmetics, cleaning products, and detergents, which will cause irritations, rashes, and breakouts, and contribute to an increase in your body's inflammatory levels.

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