Welcome to the Detox series! If you missed our introduction to the multi-part series, you can find that here!
In this post, we’ll be doing a deeper dive into mainstream household cleaning products (spoiler – most of them are FAR from clean), why it matters to know the ingredients, and some healthier alternatives! Let’s start with an activity:
1. Grab a notebook and a pen
2. Pull out ALL of your cleaning products into one place – the stuff under your sink, the stuff in the bathroom, the stuff you keep in the closet, the laundry room – all of it.
3. Go through the ingredients for each product and in your notebook, write down only the ingredients you recognize and know.
4. How many ingredients are on your list at the end? Do you know if these ingredients can cause any harm? What about all of the ingredients you aren’t familiar with? How many are on THIS LIST?
If you actually did that activity, you are a hero and a scholar! If you didn’t, you might be more inclined to do it after you continue reading…
Here’s why it matters:
- The ingredients have the potential to do a lot of harm. Many chemicals in mainstream household cleaning products have been linked to allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory issues, damage to brain health and gut health, damage to reproductive and nervous systems, developmental toxicity, birth defects, and cancer. Read more about this HERE.
- Your skin absorbs what you touch. Though the actual percentage of what gets absorbed into your bloodstream (and organs) through your skin is debated, some research says it could be as much as 60-70%.
- You are inhaling more than you think. In addition to absorption, chemicals can very quickly and easily get into your system by inhalation and as they are invisible, it’s hard to know just how much exposure you may be getting.
- There is inadequate testing done on the exposure to these toxins. Many of the chemicals found in cleaning products have not had adequate evaluation done in terms of their long-term affects on health; and while other countries have been successful in banning some harmful chemicals in product manufacturing, the U.S. has banned very few toxins so it is often up to the consumer (you!) to know what they are being exposed to.
Ready to make some switches?
- Money talks. The first place to start is educate yourself on the dangers of cleaning product toxins and to stop buying these products.
- Know what you’re buying. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource to check the safety of products before you buy them: check it out HERE.
- Make it yourself! Maybe you’re not so much into the DIY cleaning products, and that’s okay – there are ways to purchase non-harmful products. But if you ARE into the idea of making your own products, try starting with a simple 1/2 vinegar+ 1/2 water combination and adding some essential oils to make a surface spray!
Are you inspired to do some detoxing of your cleaning supplies? Tell us about it on Facebook and Instagram! (@_GetUpAndDoSomething)
Written by GUADS staff member Kate with contributions from EWG.org