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5 Nontoxic Cleaning Swaps for Spring Cleaning

6 min read

Spring cleaning increases our exposure to cleaners that we may not remember or make time to use throughout the rest of the year. This is why it is so vital to invest in cleaners that are made with safe, clean ingredients that do not have ill-effects on our health.

One of my biggest revelations as a homeopathic practitioner and wellness coach was how significant of an impact toxic household products have on our health. While some people have immediate and obvious reactions to them, others might not experience the effects until days, weeks or years have passed. In my practice, I have seen everything from seasonal allergies to hair loss to chronic migraines to insomnia to cancer be associated to toxic cleaning products.

Part of the issue is that we create indoor air pollution in our homes when we use toxic cleaners. Products that are heated or put in a machine, like a dishwasher, washing machine or dryer, can exacerbate the problem.

Greenwashing in Household Cleaning Products

It is also important to be aware of products claiming to be “natural” all while they contain the same toxic ingredients as their conventional counterparts. Marketers are allowed to put labels like “natural” and “green” on their products because these terms aren’t regulated.

You can combat the greenwashing phenomenon by being aware of ingredient lists, and instead choosing products with safer ingredients (check out the EWG’s Healthy Living app or their Healthy Cleaning Database). It’s amazing how powerful and effective safe ingredients can be! This is always the biggest surprise for our new customers who are transitioning from conventional products: They can’t believe that something so good for you can work as well as the toxic junk they’ve been using for years!

Five of the Most Important Spring Cleaning Swaps

1. Laundry Detergent (Swap: Molly’s Suds Powder Detergent)

Why and how is it toxic? This is always number one on my list of the first toxic product that people should swap out. Almost all conventional laundry detergents contain synthetic fragrance, SLS/SLES and 1,4-dioxane. Not only does it contain multiple ingredients of concern, but our exposure rate to it is incredibly high. It is with us all day long from our bed sheets as we sleep, to the clothes that we wear out into the world, to the air that we breathe as we do our loads of wash.

Why should it be avoided? With prolonged exposure, the combination of chemicals can cause organ damage, cancer, reproductive issues, miscarriage, birth defects and skin irritation like rashes.

Who should avoid it? Everyone, but particularly those susceptible to skin irritation, pregnant or nursing mothers, and anyone trying to conceive.

What should be used in its place? Our favorite clean alternative is Molly’s Suds. They offer liquid and powder options that work as well as the conventional detergents but contain only safe ingredients.

2. Air Deodorizer/Freshener (Swap: Back to Basics Cleaner Than Clean)

Why and how is the conventional version toxic? They are packed full of toxic chemicals hiding behind the ingredient name “fragrance.” Oftentimes, hundreds of chemicals are listed simply as “fragrance,” “natural fragrance,” “parfum” or “fragrance oils.” Phthalates, polyethylene glycol (PEG) compounds and formaldehyde are some of the chemicals that may be in the formulation, but not explicitly listed under the ingredients.

Why should it be avoided? Many of these unlisted ingredients have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormonal imbalances and allergies. Without knowing exactly what type of chemical cocktail you’re being exposed to when you encounter fragrance, it is best to minimize your exposure.

Who should avoid it? Anyone with respiratory issues, susceptibility to headaches or migraines, sleep disorders or allergies should eliminate air fresheners, deodorizers, room sprays, plug-ins and candles from their space.

What should be used in its place? Back to Basics Cleaner Than Clean is the most powerful deodorizer we’ve ever seen out of both conventional and natural cleaning products! It doubles as an all-purpose cleaner and uses safe, nature-made ingredients that as good for you as they are at doing their jobs.

3. All-Purpose Cleaner (Swap: Truce All-Purpose Cleaner)

Why and how is the conventional version toxic? Cleaners whose purpose is to cut through sticky, stuck-on messes and grease usually contain glycol ethers. These are a type of petrochemicals that can enter our bloodstream by penetrating our skin (even through cleaning gloves) or through inhalation.

Why should it be avoided? Glycol ethers have been known to cause fatigue, lethargy, nausea and possible liver and kidney damage. Other chemicals in cleaners have been known to cause immediate acute symptoms like headaches, sneezing, eye redness, stomach pain or nausea, and skin irritation.

Who should avoid it? Anyone with babies or young children living in or visiting their home, as well as anyone who has experienced the symptoms listed.

What should be used in its place? An effective and safe cleaning solution is Truce All-Purpose Cleaner. It is free of glycol ethers, works well as a surfactant to get rid of any stubborn messes, and does not leave any film or residue.

4. Dryer Sheets (Swap: Molly’s Suds Wool Dryer Balls)

Why and how is the conventional version toxic? Dryer sheets are designed to coat your laundry with a layer of chemicals that help them to not cling and to feel softer. These chemicals are not water-soluble and stick to the fabric for a long time. Benzyl acetate, synthetic fragrance and 1,4 dioxane are some of the more harmful chemicals in the mix.

Why should it be avoided? Benzyl acetate is a highly combustible chemical and exposure to it can cause dizziness and drowsiness. So many of the chemicals in our laundry products contribute to sleep disorders and a feeling of tiredness or fatigue. This is one of them and should be avoided.

Who should avoid it? Dryer sheets should not be used on anything that could catch fire like blankets or clothes for children or babies. Anyone experiencing sleep issues should also make the switch to a safer option.

What should be used in its place? Molly’s Suds Dryer Balls provide all of the benefits of dryer sheets without any of the drawbacks. They also help your dryer load dry faster!

5. Dishwasher Detergent (Swap: Better Life Dishwasher Gel)

Why and how is the conventional version toxic? Dishwasher detergents can contain chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrance, artificial dyes and biocides used as preservatives. When you run the dishwasher, the hot water heats up all of these chemicals and it emits toxic fumes.

Why should it be avoided? This cleaning product actually coats your dishware with toxic chemicals that are then ingested from contact with food and drinks.

Who should avoid it? Those with conditions that affect any vital organs. Also, anyone with digestive issues could benefit from switching to a clean dishwasher detergent since we do end up consuming some of the soap debris left on our dishware.

What should be used in its place? Better Life Dishwasher Detergent cuts through grease and stuck on food messes as well as reduces hard water spots without the toxic chemicals.

Interested in other ingredients? Read about what ingredients to avoid in your personal care products or why you should switch to natural deodorant, stat.

About The Author

Ashleigh Frager

Ashleigh Frager

Ashleigh discovered a deep-seated passion for wellness after experiencing critical health conditions caused by environmental toxin exposure. With her life in jeopardy, her perspective on how we approach health and wellness radically shifted. In addition to looking at how inputs like food, supplements and medications impact our health, Ashleigh began aggressively researching and testing the products we use.After receiving a doctorate-level education in homeopathy and running a successful homeopathic practice for eight years, she discovered the toxic chemicals in commonplace consumer products were the root cause of the very conditions and diseases that her clients were experiencing. It was surprising but so simple: Solving complex health crises could be as simple as swapping laundry detergents. She coached her clients to remove the most toxic offenders and successfully helped relieve issues like infertility, rashes, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, allergies, vaccine injury, chronic pain, depression, headaches and migraines.With her clients hungry for safe product options, she dedicated herself to curating an arsenal of highly vetted alternatives to everyday products across all categories— beauty, skincare, baby, men’s grooming, aromatherapy, cleaning, home and more. Back to Basics was born.

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