If you’re trying to achieve a cleaner and healthier household, then eliminating toxic products is likely a task that’s at the top of your list. And while it might be clear that certain household cleaners should go, what else should you remove for your home? It might surprise you to learn that there are many toxic products sitting around, many of which you wouldn’t even realize were dangerous in the first place. To help you get a jump start with cleaning out everything you want to avoid, check out the 13 unsuspecting toxic products listed below.
1. Dryer Sheets
They make your clothes soft, give your linens a nice fresh scent, and are so easy to toss into the dryer. However, even with all the advantages of dryer sheets, did you know that they can also be toxic? If you think about it, these are simply polyester sheets that are coated in various scents. Unfortunately it’s those scents that are dangerous, as they are often made from a mix of chemicals that can be dangerous to your health.
2. Pet Products
Turning to flea and tick meds for your pets might sound good, but the pesticides in these can be dangerous. It’s recommended to look to natural products if you’re looking for a safer option. There are more natural products available than ever before, so you have quite a few options to consider.
3. Gas-Powered Space Heaters
If you need to warm a room, your best bet is to use an electric heater rather than gas. Gas heaters release toxins and can even cause carbon monoxide poisoning when used indoors.
4. Baby Wipes
Used by parents for their kids and everyday people for hundreds of household uses, baby wipes are found in virtually every household today. Unfortunately these can be dangerous if they contain ingredients such as Bronopol (which can release formaldehyde when breaking down) and phthalates (which are chemicals that are made for softening plastic). Synthetic perfumes can make these even more toxic, which is why it’s recommended to go for fragrance-free and organic wipes as an alternative.
5. Furniture Polish
Although it can help make your furniture look nice, polish contain chemicals such as nitrobenzene and phenol, which are linked with cancer and can be absorbed by the skin. Most furniture polish is also incredibly flammable, adding to the danger within your home. If you’re looking for a natural option, mix lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil and you’ll achieve beautiful results.
6. Antibacterial Soaps
The FDA has stated that triclosoan and triclorcarbon, which are in antibacterial soaps, are dangerous because they can create bacteria that’s resistant to antibiotics. It’s recommended to stick with traditional soap for safest results; you’ll still get a nice clean using these.
7. New Carpets
New carpets might have a “fresh” smell, but do you know what makes up that “freshness”? Surprisingly it’s the volatile organic compounds that are found in carpets, which are incredibly dangerous. These include: benzene, toluene, bromine, acetone, and styrene just to name a few. These can cause eye irritation, drowsiness, and even headaches when exposed to them. To avoid these health consequences, let carpets air out with open windows for a day before coming back home.
You might light candles to set the tone for a romantic dinner or just to make your house smell fresh and bright. Unfortunately candles aren’t as safe as you might think, as they release carbon particles as they are burning. What’s even more dangerous is that if the candle is made from paraffin wax, the dangers are even greater because it’s mixed with chemicals that can increase the risk of lung cancer. Adding more danger is the fact that fragrances and artificial dyes that are added to candles are often made from chemicals that are released into the air as the candle burns.
While paints today have been made to high safety standards, this wasn’t always the case. In the past paints were often made with lead and used to color homes both outdoors and indoors. Unfortunately lead is very dangerous and can lead to a number of health problems, which is why there’s an urgency to remove all lead-based paints from every home in the country. If you have older paint inside or outside of your home that’s flaking, have it tested for lead as soon as possible. If there is lead present, it should be removed by a professional in the safest manner possible.
10. Cans of Food
Most everyone has canned food in their pantry today without realizing that it’s made with BPA. Otherwise known as Bisphenol A, this is a chemical that has been linked to many health issues from heart disease to infertility in males. The good news is that some manufacturers have discontinued use of this, but this is not a widespread practice just yet. It’s also not known whether the replacement chemicals for BPA are safe, meaning it might be best to stick with fresh or frozen fruits and veggies instead.
Whether you use markers for dry erase boards or to help your kids with school posters, you’ve likely noticed that they have a pungent smell. Unfortunately this is due to the fact that they are made from many chemicals including a neurotoxic hydrocarbon named xylene. Exposure of this and other chemicals in markers can lead to dizziness, problems breathing, and even headaches, so keep those caps closed tight.
The dangers of perfumes have become increasingly studied recently, including by the Environmental Protection Agency. They found that there are chemicals such as camphor, acetone, benzyl Acetate, and linalool that can all cause nausea, dizziness, lung irritation, and a number of other dangerous health problems. Fortunately there are all-natural perfumes available today, so you don’t have to give up smelling great!
13. Room Sprays
Room sprays and air fresheners might make your house smell good, but at what cost? Many are surprised to learn that the toxins released by these types of household items can buildup in the body over the course of time. This can lead to health problems including reproductive issues, making them dangerous for the entire family. If you want your house to smell good naturally, try simmering a few drops of essential oils in water during the day.
Writer and globe wanderer, who's interests not only take her to distant corners of the world, but also to undiscovered regions of her inner Self. Proponent of the practice of mindfulness, self-compassion, and gratitude, the trifecta of healing and being, to transform her relationship with daily life challenges.